How to Create Pillar Pages and Rank for High Volume Keywords

Posted by on Feb 16, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Create Pillar Pages and Rank for High Volume Keywords

create pillar pages

One of the ways to increase your chances of ranking for high volume keywords on Google is to create pillar pages and topic clusters.

Although this is not a new concept, with the latest changes to the Google ranking algorithm and the introduction of AI, it has become more important.

One of the characteristics of pillar pages (also referred to as long-form articles, content pillars or cornerstone content), that differentiates them from normal articles or blogs is that they are comprehensive, usually bigger in word length and they cover a particular topic (not a single keyword) in detail.

In this guide, you’ll learn what are pillar pages, why they are important for modern SEO and the 10 steps to follow to create pillar pages for your website.

What are pillar pages?

A pillar page is a long-form content page that covers a specific topic in detail. It provides users with everything they need to know about the particular topic and links to related resources for further exploitation.

A pillar page can stand on its own or be part of a topic cluster. Pillar pages are used to target high volume topics and head keywords.

The main characteristics of pillar pages are:

  • They are usually longer than normal blog posts.
  • Content is around a specific topic
  • The content is broken down into sections
  • Each section covers a specific sub-topic

Look at the diagram below to understand this better.

Pillar Page
What is a Pillar Page

On the left, you can see how the structure of a pillar page looks like and on the right an example of how a pillar page about ‘content marketing’ would look like.

We’ll see below, in the ‘how to create a pillar page’ section, the process of choosing the right topics, headings, page title, URL and links for a pillar page.

Here is a real example of a pillar page published on this site on how to start an online business.

Pillar page example
Example of a Pillar Page

Why are pillar pages important for SEO?

There are many reasons why pillar pages are important for your SEO and content marketing efforts. The most important are:

They provide both users and search engines with the content they want – For some topics it’s more convenient for users to have all the information they need on one page instead of browsing through different articles.

This is more convenient for search engines as well because it helps them serve users with results that keep them happy.

They can help you win featured snippets – The way pillar pages are structured makes it easier for search engines to crawl and meet all requirements for appearing at the top of the search results in the featured snippet box.

It’s a great way to prove your expertise about a topicGoogle search ranking factors are heavily influenced by E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) and high-quality pillar pages are a great way to show to users and search engines that you are a trustworthy source for a topic.

Combined with a few quality backlinks, you can establish your website as an authority for a specific topic as well.

They can help you rank high for competitive keywords – Pillar pages are usually long-form content pages and this allows you to naturally include related keywords in the content which increases topic relevancy that (under conditions) leads to higher rankings.

Also, pillar pages are more likely to attract natural links from other websites and mentions on social media networks that in-turn leads to increasing Google trust which results in higher rankings.

How to create pillar pages

These are the 10 steps to follow to create a pillar page:

  1. Decide what topics to target using pillar pages
  2. Decide what format to use (Pillar page or topic clusters)
  3. Perform keyword research
  4. Create a content outline and write the content
  5. Name your sections
  6. Add Internal links to the different sections
  7. Format the page
  8. Promote your page (internally and externally)
  9. Write content for the supporting pages
  10. Add internal links back to the pillar page

1. Decide what topics to target using pillar pages

google trends topics
Find content topic ideas for pillar pages using Google Trends.

Obviously the first step is to decide what topic your pillar page should target.

This depends on the niche you are in and the topics/keywords already targeted by your existing content.

Some guidelines to follow:

Choose topics that are not too narrow – if a topic doesn’t have a lot of sub-topics then it might not be ideal for a pillar page. A blog post for those topics might be enough.

Choose topics that have a high search volume – Creating pillar pages take a lot of time and effort and it’s not worth going after low volume keywords.

Choose topics that are relevant to your audience and business  – Choose topics that are relevant to what your audience might way to read and can potentially generate more conversions for your business.

Research your competitors – A great starting point is to analyze your main competitors and find out for which topics they have pillar pages and which topics they could have pillar pages but they don’t.

These are great candidates to start with because they will generate a competitive advantage for you.

Avoid content duplication – Before choosing a topic make sure that you don’t already have articles about the exact same topic published on your site.

The last thing you want to do create is to confuse search engines and run into duplicate content issues.

If you do have pages targeting identical topics then you can consider improving your existing articles and turning them into pillar pages, creating new content and redirecting the old pages to the new pillar pages (using 301 redirects) or choosing to go with topic clusters (more on this below).

HINT: You can read “How to find new content topic ideas” for a step-by-step guide on how to go through the process of finding topics for your pillar pages.

2. Decide what format to use (Pillar page or topic clusters)

Topic Clusters
Topic Clusters

The next step is to decide what format to use for your pillar pages. There are two ways you can approach pillar pages.

Single Pillar Page

The first way is to have all content on one page, broken down into sections.

This is similar to the example demonstrated above. The main characteristics of this approach are:

  • You have a single page targeting one high volume topic.
  • The title of the page is general and contains the main keyword i.e. “The Complete Content Marketing Guide’.
  • The URL of the page is an exact match of the main topic keyword. For example “/content-marketing”.
  • The page URL comes directly after the domain name i.e. com/content-marketing
  • At the top of the page, you have a table of contents. Each item points to a section on the same page.
  • Each section is marked as an H2 or H3 header tag.
  • The page includes everything there is to know about the particular topic.
  • It has sections with related links (or ‘Resources to learn more’) that point to other pages within the same site or external sites, that cover a specific sub-topic in more detail.
  • Sub-topic pages link back to the main page using the main head keyword in the anchor text.
  • The page might have a structure and formatting that is different from your ‘normal’ articles. This is optional and not a requirement.
  • The page is regularly updated to remain relevant.

Topic Clusters

The second way is to go with the topic cluster approach. With this approach you have:

  • The main page that serves as an introduction to the topic.
  • The main page has a list of sections (sub-topics) that point to other pages within the same site.
  • Each sub-page covers a topic in detail.
  • The URL of each sub-page includes the URL of the main page (see diagram above)
  • Sub-pages have breadcrumb menus enabled that allow the users to easily go back to the main page.
  • Sub-pages link to the main page and vice versa.
  • Each sub-page has the structure and other characteristics of a pillar page as described above.

Which approach to use, single pillar pages or topic clusters?

Both methods work great but I personally like to go with the single pillar page approach. It’s not as complex as topic clusters and it’s easier to maintain and update.

If you choose topic clusters and later you realize that you have chosen the ‘wrong sub-topics’ it might be more difficult to update than having all the content on one page.

I also believe the single pages (that are well organized) are more useful to users too. They can stay on a page for longer, print it (if they want), bookmark it and share it more easily.

Here are a few examples of single pillar pages that I have on my website that perform great on organic search.

A good way to find out which approach to use is to search your topic ideas on Google and examine what type of content they rank on the top positions.

3. Perform keyword research

Once you know which topics to target with a pillar page and what format to use, the next step is to do your keyword research.

The purpose of keyword research at this stage is to find out which exact keywords to target in your pillar pages or topic clusters (whichever approach you choose, the keyword research process is the same).

Your keyword bucket should include both head keywords, long-tail keywords, and LSI keywords.

You can read ‘How to perform keyword research’ for step-by-step instructions on how to find the best keywords.

For the purpose of creating pillar pages, you need to have the following ready:

Your main head keyword – For example, ‘content marketing’, ‘email marketing’, ‘paleo diet’, ‘make money online’. ‘Start an online business’. Etc.

As explained above, this will be used in your URL and page title.

Related Keywords to use as sections – Each head keyword has a number of keywords (usually have volume keywords too) that are strongly related to the main topic.

These will be used as the section headings (for single pillar pages) or as individual page titles for topic clusters.

HINT: Great candidates for the sections are keywords that Google displays in the ‘People also ask’ and ‘Related Queries’ sections.

Long-tail keywords – Long-tail keywords are keywords related to the main keywords that have a lower search volume but higher intent.

These keywords can be used to make your content SEO friendly and are also great candidates for creating supporting articles.

In other words, you can use long-tail keywords in your content and create stand-alone articles that you can use to link back to the main pillar page.

4. Create a content outline and write the content

The next step is to create a content outline and write the content.

Create a Content Outline

Creating a content outline is optional but highly recommended. I personally always follow this process before writing a new pillar page or blog post.

I found that spending some time thinking about your content and page structure before you start writing, saves you a lot of time in the end and makes writing easier and faster.

You can use the content outline to:

  • Define your headings
  • Select which existing pages on your site to link to as additional resources.
  • Decide what each section will cover and which keywords it will target
  • Your findings from doing analyzing your competitor’s pages
  • Other ideas you may have about the design on the page
  • Images/studies you will use to make your content more interesting

Write the content

Now it’s time to write the content for your pillar page or sub-pages.

Content length – Although content length is NOT a google ranking factor, a pillar page is expected to have a lot of content because it covers a range of topics in detail.

There is no definite guideline on how long (in terms of words) to make your content. It largely depends on the topic.

A few tips to consider:

  • Search Google for related topics and examine the content length of the pages that appear on the top positions.
  • Don’t forget that users don’t like to spend hours reading about a topic. If that’s the case then you better write a book or an online course to give them all the details and use pillar pages to offer them the most important points.
  • Don’t write more content than you need for the sake of SEO. I repeat that word count is not a ranking factor. Write enough to answer a user’s question or give them what they really need to know about a topic.

Optimize your content – Follow basic on-page SEO and content SEO best practices to optimize your content so that search engines can understand it better.

HINT: You can read and replicate my 10 step process for writing SEO friendly blog posts

Showcase your expertise – I mentioned above that one of the benefits of pillar pages is that they allow demonstrating your authority and expertise about a topic.

This is to be shown through the quality of your content. If you are an expert on the topic, make sure that you tell users about your experience and showcase any credentials that can prove your expertise.

These simple factors make the content better and create trust between you and your users.

Research studies and original data – One way to create content that will attract links from other websites is to back up your claims with research studies or better include original data.

For example, a pillar page about ‘content marketing’ that includes content marketing statistics from recent research studies is more likely to get the attention of other users than a pillar page which doesn’t include data evidence.

10X better than your competitors – I’ve mentioned many times so far that looking at your competitors’ content is a good way to understand what type of content to create.

Something that is more important is to make sure that your content is 10X better than what is already published. If you create something that is similar to existing content then there is no incentive for users or search engines to prefer your content.

When we say, make your content 10X better we mean:

  • More thorough and informative
  • Less biased
  • Takes a different angle on the topic than existing content
  • Better design
  • Faster
  • With better visual elements

5. Add visual elements

The next step is to add visual elements to your pillar page to make the page more interesting and easier to read.

Visual elements can include:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Graphs

To take advantage of the visual elements for SEO purposes, make sure that you include the relevant ALT text for images and schema markup for videos and podcasts.

Also, don’t forget that a lot of images and videos will slow the page loading speed (especially on mobile.

It is highly recommended to use an image compression plugin to optimize the size of the images and also a lazy loading plugin or wp-rocket to make sure that visual elements will not negatively impact speed.

6. Optimize for the Google featured snippet and sitelinks

Now that you have your content ready, there are two more tasks to complete before publishing.

The first is to optimize your page to be eligible for a Google featured snippet and site links and second to work on the page formatting (step 7 below).

Optimizing for the Google featured snippet is an advanced SEO technique but yet, it’s easy to implement.

What is a Google Featured Snippet?

The top position of the Google search results is sometimes occupied by one or more featured snippets instead of a normal listing.

A featured snippet is more dominant and occupies more real estate in the search results making it attractive to users.

For example, if you search Google “How to become an SEO expert”, you’ll most probably get a listing like this which shows you a list of steps to follow.

Lists Posts in Google Featured Snippet
Lists in Google Featured Snippet

If you search for technical SEO, you’ll get a featured snippet that looks like this.

Google featured snippet example
Example of a Google Featured Snippet

To make your pillar page eligible for a featured snippet, use the following tips:

  • Add lists in your content using <ul> and <li> HTML tags
  • Keep the list formatting simple (no custom bullets, arrows or another styling)
  • Add a relevant title for each list
  • Format the list title to be an H2 or H3
  • Add the list(s) at the beginning of the page when possible

Optimize your pillar pages for sitelinks

Besides optimizing your pillar pages for featured snippets, you should also optimize them for page sitelinks.

Page sitelinks appear below in the search snippet below the meta description. They look like this:

Post sitelinks in Google Search Results
Post sitelinks in Google Search Results

Follow these tips:

  • Each sub-section of your page should have a heading wrapped with an H2 or H3 tags
  • For each heading add an “id” attribute
  • Add a table of contents on top of the page (like in this article)
  • Add internal links to the different section from your table of contents

Look again at the first diagram for a visual illustration.

7. Page formating

The last thing to do before hitting the publish button is to revisit your page formating.

This step is optional, it’s up to you to decide if you want your pillar pages to have a different format than the rest of your site pages. I prefer to use the same format across all my pages because it’s easier to manage but you can follow a different path.

One example of a pillar page that has a unique format is this from Typeform

Pillar page Formatting Example
Pillar page Formatting Example

Regardless of what design format you choose to follow, you need to make sure that:

  • The page loads fast and looks good on all devices (especially mobile)
  • It’s easy for people who like to do skim reading
  • Your headings for the different sections are formatted differently from the rest of the content
  • Any images or videos are properly optimized (alt text, schema, image compression)
  • The page has a default featured image and it looks good when shared on social media networks.

8. Promote your page (internally and externally)

Once you get into this point, congratulations! You’re ready to hit the PUBLISH button and provide your users with a remarkable piece of content.

Publishing your pillar page is not the end of your work. You now need to promote your page both internally and externally. Let’s see what this means.

Promote your page Internally

As soon as you publish the page, search engines will get notified through your sitemap and in a matter of hours, they will index your new page.

To help them understand the importance of your page, and at the same make it easier for your users to find the page, you need:

  • Add a link pointing to your pillar page from your homepage.
  • Add a link pointing to your pillar page from your blog main page
  • Add your pillar page to your sidebar (if you have sidebars)
  • Add your pillar page to your main menu and footer
  • Find related articles on your website and add internal links to your pillar page

Don’t omit this step, it’s important to give the right signals to search engine crawlers to let them know that this page is important for your site.

Promote your page Externally

You also need to promote your page on the Internet and try to get the attention of other bloggers with the ultimate goal of getting links and mentions.

This is part of what is known as off-page SEO and can positively influence your rankings in the short term but also long term.

Follow these tips:

  • Send out a newsletter and inform your subscribers
  • Publish your page on Facebook and use Facebook ads to promote the page to your existing audience (retargeting) and to new audiences
  • Promote your page on Twitter (multiple times) and through twitter paid ads
  • Promote your page on other social networks related to your niche (LinkedIn, Pinterest)

If your pillar page includes case studies, research or original data that can get the attention of the press, you can also write a press release and distribute it to all major networks.

If you added external links on your page, make sure that you contact the website owners and let them know about it. They will most probably share the page on their networks and some may even link back to it.

9. Write content for the supporting pages

While waiting for Google to rank your pillar page (it may take from two to six months), you can use the time to publish content that is related and supporting your pillar page.

For example, if your pillar page is about ‘content marketing’, you can write articles on topics that are not part of your pillar page like ‘SEO Copywriting’, ‘Content marketing tips’, ‘Content Promotion’ and link back to your pillar page.

This will help you a lot with SEO because not only you’ll get a chance to rank for the additional keywords but you can also strengthen your pillar page by pointing more internal links to it from highly related pages.

Great candidates for supporting articles are the long-tail keywords identified while doing keyword research (step 3) above.

10. Monitor the performance of your pillar pages

Last but not least, you need to monitor the performance of your pillar page. You have already dedicated a lot of time (and possibly money) creating the page, now its time to find out if it was worth the effort.

The most important KPIs to monitor are:

  • Pageviews – How many times your pillar page was viewed
  • Bounce rate – The percentage of people that landed on the page and exited without visiting a second page from your site. The lower the number the better.
  • Email signups – How many people registered to your email list because of the pillar page
  • Leads / Conversions – How many leads were generated from the pillar page
  • Organic Traffic – How many people visited the page from search engines
  • Rankings – for which keywords your page is ranking on Google and other search engines
  • Visits from Social networks – Analyzed per network
  • Social network interactions – how many people liked, shared or commented on your page

You can use Google analytics reports and Google search console to gather this data and add them to a spreadsheet or better yet to a Google Data Studio report.

Don’t rush into making conclusions, as mentioned above it may take a number of months for your page to reach its optimum rankings so you need to be patient.

Key Learnings

Ranking for high volume keywords is easier with pillar pages and topic clusters. The main purpose of creating a pillar page is to serve the user better and if this done correctly, search engines will follow.

There are two ways to approach this process. The first is by making a comprehensive page that includes all the information about a topic and the second is to have the main page (to be used as an introduction) and separate pages for the sub-topics.

Of course, you can always combine the two methods and have a pillar page with in-depth information and separate sub-pages for the additional topics.

The process to create a pillar page is similar to the process of creating an article.

First, you find the topic to target, decide on the format to use and then you do your keyword research. Based on the results of your research you design the structure of your pillar page or topic cluster and write the content.

Before publishing, you SEO optimize your text and after publication, you promote it as good as possible.

Should you create pillar pages for all the keywords you want to target? If you can afford it (in terms of money and time) then go for it but if time and money are an issue (in most cases this is the case) then use pillar pages for topics that really matter for your business.

What I always do before making a decision is to run a few searches on Google and examine the results. If for a topic I don’t need to create a pillar page then I write a normal article, it’s faster and cost-effective.

The post How to Create Pillar Pages and Rank for High Volume Keywords appeared first on

Say Hello To The CRaP SERP

Posted by on Feb 15, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Say Hello To The CRaP SERP

Hey ecommerce sites – worried you are getting too many clicks on head term SERPs?

If so, fear not, as yours truly stumbled into a Google test guaranteed to cure you of those annoying up-and-to-the-right trend lines.

I invite you to feast your eyes on this “Content Results Page” aka the CRaP SERP:

Or how about some mattresses?

Remember how the SEO team kept asking for a content budget? Yeah, you might want to take another look at that deck.

The post Say Hello To The CRaP SERP appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Avoid These 3 Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

Posted by on Feb 13, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Avoid These 3 Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

Do Not Do These Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

There are some very common and simple mistakes that you can make when working with WordPress that can cause your site to be vulnerable or cause the hosting environment in which your website resides to be vulnerable. We want to highlight the three main things that many people do that we see often and we want to educate those that read this. Simply staying away from these very common actions that people incorporate into their WordPress experience will ensure that you are protecting your site from many vulnerabilities that exist out there and this will allow you to stay away from your WordPress site getting infected.

Before we start diving in to these three common things to avoid let’s talk about the myth out there that WordPress is not a secure platform. This statement is completely false. WordPress at its very core is a very safe and stable platform to use in making all of your web dreams come true. What makes it unsafe is all of the extra plugins and third party themes that we use on our site. Many of these plugins and themes can contain vulnerabilities that will allow infectious codes to be injected into our website files and database.

But where would we all be without plugins and these fancy pre-designed themes that exist? Many of us would just be pulling our hair out trying to design a website and make it function the way that we want if we were not able to use plugins and custom themes. The good news is as long as we take certain security measures we can go on using any plugins and themes that we desire without the fear of getting infected.

So let us dive in now and provide you with the three most common things that WordPress users do that will almost surely guarantee to make your website vulnerable and lead you into an infected situation where you now have malicious activity on your website.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

#1 Run An Out Dated Version of PHP & Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

WordPress is one of the broadly utilized stages over the globe. One reason behind its ubiquity is open-source nature. Be that as it may, what makes WordPress an open-source stage? Indeed, the response to that would be PHP. WordPress runs on PHP which is a scripting language adding to around 83% of the considerable number of sites!

WordPress Site Will Get Infected
The above diagram shows the consequence of the bench-marking test. The pattern shows steady improvement in dealing with demands every seconds from PHP variant 5.6 to 7.3. As indicated by this outcome, PHP 7.3 is a conspicuous champ while 7.2 was somewhat behind.

This consequence of this WordPress execution test likewise shows the similarity among PHP and WordPress and the steady improvement it brings to your WordPress site. By taking a gander at the outcomes, WordPressers can undoubtedly comprehend the significance of refreshed PHP variant. For example, if a site is as of now introduced on PHP 5.6 or 7.0, I enthusiastically prescribe redesigning it to the most recent PHP rendition.

Take a look at a very detailed article below that will break down the difference is between the most recent versions of PHP and how they affect the performance of your WordPress site.

Is PHP Version 5 going to be EOL soon?

For those of you that are not familiar with what EOL means it is an acronym for end of life.

Truly. PHP form 5 will be announced End-Of-Life on January first, 2019. That is, in roughly two months at the hour of composing.

The PHP improvement group’s approach with respect to end-of-life is as per the following: each arrival of PHP is completely bolstered for a long time from the date of discharge. At that point it is upheld for an extra year for basic security gives as it were. When three years has slipped by from the date of discharge, the adaptation of PHP is never again upheld.

PHP 7.0, the absolute first PHP 7 discharge, was discharged on 3 December, 2015, right around three years back. PHP form 5 is quickly moving toward end-of-life and will never again be upheld beginning on 1 January, 2019.

The last part of PHP adaptation 5 that is as yet upheld is PHP 5.6. Since this is the last PHP 5 branch, the PHP group decided to expand the security fix period from the standard one years, to two years. That all-inclusive security bolster will end on 1 January 2019.

The accompanying table incorporates the significant dates for PHP 5 and PHP 7 branches.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

Does PHP 5 have any vulnerabilities?

Security vulnerabilities are constantly detailed in PHP. A portion of these are not kidding. Survey this page on will give you a thought of the volume and seriousness of PHP vulnerabilities that have as of late been accounted for.

A significant number of the vulnerabilities revealed in PHP were found for the current year. A lot more will be found in PHP form 5 one year from now, after security support for all renditions of PHP 5 have finished. That is the reason it is basically significant that you move up to a variant of PHP 7 that is upheld and is accepting security refreshes.

How can I find out my PHP version?
There are a few different ways that you can find out this information. A very simple way would be to Simply contact your hosting company and ask them directly. If you do not want to go through the trouble of contacting them you can use the plugin at the link below to display the PHP version that you are using on your website.

So what is the top and bottom of this PHP upgrade topic?
So just to summarize here, you need to ensure that your WordPress site is running the most recent version of PHP. Doing this will limit your vulnerabilities two attacks. It also will make sure that your site is functioning at Optimal Performance when it comes to PHP.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

#2 Ignore Your Software Updates & YOur WordPress Site Will Get Infected

One of the worst things that you can do in the management of your WordPress site is to ignore your software updates. Your software updates are the updates that are pending for any plugins that are installed on your website, any themes (best practice here is to only have you’re active theme installed) that are installed on your website and your WordPress core installation.

These updates are extremely important. Many of these updates contain bug fixes to security vulnerabilities. Also the majority of these updates also help to improve the functionality of your website. It is a really bad practice to ignore these updates. Just imagine if you will the engine light in your car. When this light is on it is notifying you that there is something wrong with your engine that needs to be addressed. You need to start thinking about your WordPress updates the same way that you would with the engine light in your car. When you see that bubble with pending updates inside of your WordPress administrative area, you need to take action. Not doing so could result in creating vulnerabilities in your website.

How every now and again are WordPress module refreshes discharged?

It is anything but a simple inquiry to answer in light of the fact that there’s no freely accessible memorable data-set to break down. Does it mean we can’t get any knowledge on this subject? I state: “Heck, no!”

There’s an official site from which we can gather discharge dates data: the (all-powerful) WordPress Repository. In my exploration for a normal time range for module refreshes, I took a gander at the most recent discharge dates for the entirety of the 1386 WordPress modules marked as “Mainstream” on the WordPress vault:

WordPress Site Will Get Infected
This bar outline shows what number of mainstream WordPress modules and the time they’ve been formally last refreshed (as of the hour of this composition).

Fascinating, uh? That is to say, it sure is uncovering seeing that there are 300+ modules assembled under the “well known” classification which haven’t been refreshed in over a year. Be that as it may, that is another story, one that may see a fix in the near future-ish.

For the purpose for this conversation, how about we concur that modules which have been refreshed over a year back and not exactly seven days prior have either reasons hard to distinguish or have to do with coincidental realities (like the time and day I checked the plugin repo). Consequently, we should expel this information from the condition for a minute, and let center around modules which have been refreshed in under 1 year and not in the most recent week.

So how important is it really to complete your updates?
It isn’t extremely important to make sure that all of the software that your website is using is up-to-date. Now just saying that may not be enough because we haven’t explained in detail how to complete each update. Take a look at the link below for a extensive explanation of how to complete all of the updates on your site safely and properly.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

#3 Using Weak Login Information & Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

We really hope that the username and password to login to your WordPress administrative area is not “admin”! Now those of you that do not have your login information set up like this are probably laughing and thinking that no one would be so silly to have their username be “admin” and their password be “admin” as well.  Then there are others that are reading this that have exactly that and are cringing a bit because they were unaware that this is a bad idea. We see it all the time here. Very weak login information can be an easy way for hackers to attack and inject your website.

For each record you set up you should utilize a novel and troublesome secret phrase. That is guaranteed, however you’d be astonished at what number of individuals don’t give a second however to secret word security.

This implies, as a rule, the most secure methodology is to not surrender secret word wellbeing over to your clients. Rather, you can authorize the utilization of solid passwords over all your WordPress site clients. This is a basic method to improve the security of your WordPress site.

Right now going to discuss the basics of secret key security and WordPress secret word security . At that point we’ll examine why it is anything but a smart thought to confide in your clients to concoct solid passwords all alone, and disclose how to authorize your own secret phrase strategies utilizing a WordPress module. We should find a workable pace!

What Makes for a Secure Password?

You’ve most likely heard a lot of guidance about how to make solid passwords. Previously, the normal shrewdness concentrated on utilizing complex blends of characters, for example, “sd8f!¿$”?”.

That is not an awful secret word, yet nowadays we realize that length is the principle donor with regards to secret key security. Long passwords are more earnestly to figure and to break. The issue, obviously, is that they’re additionally harder to recall.

Luckily, there are a lot of brilliant secret phrase directors out there. You can utilize them to create, store, and naturally enter your login data anyplace on the web. All things considered, investigate gives us that the vast majority don’t pay attention to secret word security (more on this quickly).

That represents an issue in case you’re running a WordPress site that has visitor creators, editors, clients or clients. All things considered, it’s your obligation to give a sheltered situation to your clients, regardless of whether they don’t use sound judgment when left to their own gadgets.

1. The vast majority Use Terribly Weak Passwords

In case you’re understanding this, you presumably put probably some idea into your passwords. That as of now places you in the top percentile among web clients. To give you a thought of how terrible things despite everything are, here are the main five most basic passwords on the web as indicated by Wikipedia:

  • 123456
  • secret key
  • 123456789
  • 12345678
  • 12345

On the off chance that you find that rundown difficult to accept, you’re not the only one. Those passwords are on the whole excessively short, exceptionally simple to figure, and out and out senseless. With such poor decisions being a great many people’s default, it’s no big surprise there are such huge numbers of online record breaks each day. On the off chance that a supervisor or manager on your WordPress business site utilizes a comparable secret key, it will just take a couple of moments to break their secret phrase during an animal power assault.

3. Individuals Tend to Reuse Passwords for Multiple Accounts

One regular issue in web security is that even individuals who do utilize solid passwords frequently reuse them for some records. That represents an issue, in light of the fact that regardless of how solid a secret word may be, in the event that one of the sites you use it on is hacked and aggressors gain admittance to it, they can likewise pick up passage to all your different records.

As we brought up before, recalling many long novel passwords can be very troublesome. That is the place secret key directors indeed act the hero. Regardless of whether it takes somewhat more, it’s indispensable to make a one of a kind secret key for each online record you have.

The most effective method to Enforce Strong Password Use in WordPress

Now, we’ve ideally clarified how horrendous individuals are with passwords when all is said in done. The genuine inquiry is: what can be done?

For one, you ought to teach your clients about savvy secret key decisions. Make them mindful about social building assaults, and the negative effect on the business frail passwords can have. A ton of locales attempt to do this during the sign-up process. Be that as it may, it likewise pays to be reasonable. This implies understanding that many individuals won’t follow great practices except if you constrain them to.

As a matter of course, WordPress cautions you in case you’re setting a powerless secret key. In any case, clients can generally overlook the admonition and still utilize a feeble secret phrase. So as a WordPress site administrator you need to go above and beyond. Utilizing the privilege module, you can drive your WordPress clients to utilize solid passwords with our own Password Policy Manager for WordPress module:

  • set a minimum length for all passwords
  • enforce rules about what types of characters, numbers and case should be used
  • set passwords to  expire (always a good move, otherwise people will use the same password for years)
  • configure password policies per WordPress user role
  • and much more!

Solid Passwords as an Essential Part of Website Security

Probably the most effortless approaches to verify your records and online information is to utilize solid, novel passwords (and empowering two-factor validation whenever the situation allows). Recollecting different long passwords is never again a reason. Nowadays there are a lot of apparatuses, a.k.a secret phrase chiefs that you should use to store qualifications safely.

In case you’re an executive of a WordPress site yourself, instruct the clients about keen secret phrase decisions. Be that as it may, it’s far more secure to authorize the utilization of secure passwords. In WordPress, you can do this effectively utilizing the Password Policy Manager module. All things considered, clients should be prepared and guided to utilize secure passwords.

In Conclusion

If you take notice to the three things that we talked about in this article and make sure that you stay far away from ever falling into a trap of having one of these exist in your WordPress environment. If you have any questions about anything that we’ve talked about here please comment below and happy WordPress-ing.

The post Avoid These 3 Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected appeared first on WP Fix It.

February 2020 SEO News Updates – Google says URL Length is Not a Ranking Factor

Posted by on Feb 12, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on February 2020 SEO News Updates – Google says URL Length is Not a Ranking Factor

SEO Weekly Updates - February 2020

Google said URL length is not a ranking factor and there’s a claim my business option despite having already claimed the Google My Business listing? The start of February sees some pretty confusing news, so let’s get into it.

Google Announcements

5/2/2020 – URL Length is not a Ranking Factor?

Google’s John Mueller has said on Twitter that URL length is not a ranking fraction. This is his exact tweet and it was a response to a user’s concern about CMS autogenerate URL often being longer than what is recommended for SEO.

Yes, Google can handle URLs as long as 2000 characters or so, but it’s pretty obvious that Google prefers short URLs when it comes to ranking. Besides, keeping your URL short and sweet can only create positive impact as fewer words will make it more specifically relevant. Seems we are not on the same boat with John this time.

SERP Updates

6/2/2020 – Is Google Testing a New Open Design?

Since Google reported that it will be doing some tests to the search results page in the upcoming weeks, some people have spotted what seems like Google’s new test of a more open-style search results page design. In fact, the new SERP listing follows a design similar to AMP articles. Here’s a screenshot

The new SERP listing follows a design similar to AMP articles. Here’s a screenshot
Google tests new AMP SERP

Local SEO Updates

6/2/2020 – New Google My Business Feature: Own This Business? Claim It Now

Users have spotted Google launched a new feature (or it could still be in its testing phase) a new feature to help business owners reclaim and login to their Google My Business listing.

The confusing thing about this is that it shows up even if the listing has already been claimed ?! Krystal Taing went to Twitter to explain that this function is intended to be an easier path to begin claiming process for users that have mislocated their account info.

How to Deliver a RockStar WordCamp Presentation

Posted by on Feb 11, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Deliver a RockStar WordCamp Presentation

How To Deliver A Rockstar Wordcamp Presentation
#agent-pic-light {
border: solid 2px
padding: 7px;
border-radius: 38px 0 38px 0;

Owner of WP Fix ItHello Jarrett Gucci here, owner and founder of WP Fix It and very excited presenter at many many WordCamps over the past 10+ years. I wanted to put together a post on the five things that I focus on most to deliver an amazing WordCamp presentation in hopes of helping others to be very successful in the way that they present their information during their WordCamp presentation.

It is a fact that many people are more prettified of public speaking than death itself. Standing in front of a room full of people that have their total attention on you can shake up the nerves of most people regardless of their confidence level.

Speaking at a WordCamp is a wonderful way to give back to the WordPress community and give yourself some visibility with your peers.  In the past 10 years, I have had the honor of speaking at over 15 different WordCamps throughout the United States.  Now even looking back on my first WordCamp, I had a bit of an advantage.  For many years I was part of a business networking group and would help train members how to do their keynote presentations and did over 50 presentations myself as a member.  This past experience equipped me to deliver a well polished and engaging presentation.

Now, I have spoke at many WordCamps but I have been also been an audience participant as well for tons of presentations.  My overall impression is that the majority of presenters have room for improvement to allow them to get the most out of their talk and improve the actual WordCamp experience for attendees.  I have wanted to for awhile now put together an article to outline some things that with help those that have been selected to speak at WordCamp to deliver their presentation like a RockStar!  Please allow me to say that what I am about to share is complied from a lot of experience and audience feedback.  So let’s get into it.

Let me start with a very simple list of items that YOU MUST do if you want to get the most out of your presentation and then I will dive in deeper to each one.  Sounds good?

  1. Have Energy Like BIG TIME
  2. Stop Talking About Yourself
  3. Know The Audience’s Skill Set
  4. Keep Control of Audience
  5. Be Prepared and Polished

Simple enough right?  Pretty confident that you can do these things?  How about I explain a bit further the details of each in an effort for you to see how important they are?  I am going to anyways, so no need to answer…;)

Our Company History Since 2009

WordCamp Presentation

1. Have Energy Like BIG TIME

Have you ever attended a live sports event and fell asleep in your seat?  I am guessing not, because any live sport is packed with excitement, action and most importantly ENERGY.  This alone makes you pay attention.  Now you may not like what you are watching depending on who is wining but even so you will not lose attention.  Think of your WordCamp presentation along the same lines.  An audience wants to see that you are excited about the content in your talk or they will not be excited either.  Something simple you can do to project excitement is highs and lows in your volume as you speak.  Raise the volume of your voice on certain points that you want your audience to take notice to.  An even better technique for energizing your audience is to look excited yourself.  Start with simply smiling and project exciting body language.  I am not a fan of standing behind podiums because it makes me feel disconnected with the audience.  I like to be in front of them and allow them to connect with how I am moving and speaking in full form.  The animated actions of a speaker will project ENERGY.  Don’t expect your audience to have ENERGY unless you have it first.

WordCamp Presentation2. Stop Talking About Yourself

Your talk content is precious and the time to deliver it is limited.  Do not spend that time talking about yourself or your company.  The people in your audience are there to listen to the details of the talk description.  They are not there to learn about you, your services or your products.  I have seen many talks where the presenter uses the first 5-10 minutes talking about themselves and I can tell you this is where I shut off and jump on my phone or laptop doing other things and not engaged anymore.  Audience members can read about you online and approach you for more info about yourself.  You can also display subtle self-branding items in your presentation slides.  Some of these might include company logo, company website and twitter handle or other social media profiles.  I’m one that believes it is best when others boast about you but when you do this yourself in a presentation, it is self indulgent.  Another good way to talk about yourself in the right forum would be during open networking between WordCamp talks and before or after the event.

WordCamp Presentation3. Know The Audience’s Skill Set

If you are giving a WordCamp talk to beginners, be very careful not to use WordPress jargon that is very likely the audience will not understand because they are not as advanced as you.  A very good rule of thumb here is that if you are not giving a developer talk, make sure that no matter what you are saying, even someone who has never heard of or worked with WordPress would be able to understand and be interested.  When preparing your slides, think about dating someone new for the first time.  How will you act on that first date?  You will not know who they are and what they like or dislike.  You will hopefully have a few insights to this person from a pre-date conversation and will use that info to have a pleasant date.  Your audience is new to you as well and it’s important you cater your presentation to the the skill set of that audience for the greatest impact.  The majority of WordCamp attendees that I have talked to over the years have been using WordPress for less than 12 months.

WordCamp Presentation4. Keep Control of Audience

I have 5 daughters and when our family sits down to dinner each night, it can be really hard for each of them to say what they want and interact in the conversation.  My wife and I have to referee most nights or dinner gets sidetracked and dragged on longer then needed.  The same thing can happen with your WordCamp presentation.  If you are delivering a presentation that involves audience participation, you may not know what they will say or ask.  It’s hard to stay on track without know the exact reactions of your audience when you call on them for something.  At one WordCamp, I witnessed an audience member ask the presenter to explain how to install WordPress manually on a Windows server.  Not to mention that the talk itself was about SEO techniques but the presenter spent about 5-10 minutes back and forth with this audience member and during this time, it felt like the rest of us were not even there.  We were somewhere else waiting for the talk to resume.  This also goes for questions time at the end.  I am split 50/50 with a presenter polling the audience for questions because when you do this, there is a potential for loss of presentation control.  Audience members love to tack on to your talk and in most cases a positive way, but I have seen audience members try to one up the presenter or discredit info that was presented.  It is OK to ask for audience participation and audience questions, just be certain you can rein them in if they get your presentation off track.

WordCamp Presentation5. Be Prepared and Polished

This one seems like it would be common sense right?  Well common sense is not so common!  Being prepared is so important if you want to execute your presentation like a ninja.  The first part of this is not completed at WordCamp.  That part is your slides.  Your presentation slides can play a pivotal role in not only how your presentation is received but your confidence as well.  Imagine showing up to a job interview wearing sweat pants.  How confident would you feel with the person interviewing you?  Now imagine showing up with a brand new professional outfit that you were really proud of.  You will have a much higher confidence level and your chances of new employment just increased big time because of it.  Create slides that you are proud of.  Not slides that you made at the last moment in a hurry.  The second part of being prepared is also completed before you step foot in front of your audience.  PRACTICE!!!!  You must practice your presentation before you deliver it.  Sounds silly right.  NO!!!!!  It is a very smart thing to do.   Practicing also builds confidence and allows you to live it out before you deliver it.  Doing this might show you areas of your presentation you can either improve on or remove all together.  It’s also so important to practice it because you must know if you can finish in the alotted time.  I have seen it way more times than I like to remember that the room monitor tells the speaker they have 5 minutes left and the speaker has another 15 slides so they try to rush through them and it just shuts people off.  You must time your presentation and make sure that you can complete it without going over the time given or disrupt it by rushing through slides or even never getting to them.

In Summary

There are even more things you can do to make sure you deliver a RockStar WordCamp presentation but I just wanted to highlight the ones I strongly believe will give you the most impact.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have about this article or a presentation you may have coming up.  Please comment below and I am here to help. Take a look at another article we wrote at the link below which tells you the things that you should never do in a WordCamp presentation.

If you would like to see more articles about how to be successful with a WordCamp Presentation comment below with the topic and the hurdles that you are experiencing and I will gladly wrap an article around those.

Some examples for you below of a few presentations that I’ve done following the guidelines above.

See Me Speaking About WordPress

The post How to Deliver a RockStar WordCamp Presentation appeared first on WP Fix It.

Favicon SEO

Posted by on Feb 7, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Favicon SEO

Google recently copied their mobile result layout over to desktop search results. The three big pieces which changed as part of that update were

  • URLs: In many cases Google will now show breadcrumbs in the search results rather than showing the full URL. The layout no longer differentiates between HTTP and HTTPS. And the URLs shifted from an easily visible green color to a much easier to miss black.
  • Favicons: All listings now show a favicon next to them.
  • Ad labeling: ad labeling is in the same spot as favicons are for organic search results, but the ad labels are a black which sort of blends in to the URL line. Over time expect the black ad label to become a lighter color in a way that parallels how Google made ad background colors lighter over time.

One could expect this change to boost the CTR on ads while lowering the CTR on organic search results, at least up until users get used to seeing favicons and not thinking of them as being ads.

The Verge panned the SERP layout update. Some folks on Reddit hate this new layout as it is visually distracting, the contrast on the URLs is worse, and many people think the organic results are ads.

I suspect a lot of phishing sites will use subdomains patterned off the brand they are arbitraging coupled with bogus favicons to try to look authentic. I wouldn’t reconstruct an existing site’s structure based on the current search result layout, but if I were building a brand new site I might prefer to put it at the root instead of on www so the words were that much closer to the logo.

Google provides the following guidelines for favicons

  • Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).
  • Your favicon should be a visual representation of your website’s brand, in order to help users quickly identify your site when they scan through search results.
  • Your favicon should be a multiple of 48px square, for example: 48x48px, 96x96px, 144x144px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16x16px for use in search results, so make sure that it looks good at that resolution. Note: do not provide a 16x16px favicon.
  • The favicon URL should be stable (don’t change the URL frequently).
  • Google will not show any favicon that it deems inappropriate, including pornography or hate symbols (for example, swastikas). If this type of imagery is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.

In addition to the above, I thought it would make sense to provide a few other tips for optimizing favicons.

  • Keep your favicons consistent across sections of your site if you are trying to offer a consistent brand perception.
  • In general, less is more. 16×16 is a tiny space, so if you try to convey a lot of information inside of it, you’ll likely end up creating a blob that almost nobody but you recognizes.
  • It can make sense to include the first letter from a site’s name or a simplified logo widget as the favicon, but it is hard to include both in a single favicon without it looking overdone & cluttered.
  • A colored favicon on a white background generally looks better than a white icon on a colored background, as having a colored background means you are eating into some of the scarce pixel space for a border.
  • Using a square shape versus a circle gives you more surface area to work with.
  • Even if your logo has italics on it, it might make sense to avoid using italics in the favicon to make the letter look cleaner.

Here are a few favicons I like & why I like them:

  • Citigroup – manages to get the word Citi in there while looking memorable & distinctive without looking overly cluttered
  • Nerdwallet – the N makes a great use of space, the colors are sharp, and it almost feels like an arrow that is pointing right
  • Inc – the bold I with a period is strong.
  • LinkedIn – very memorable using a small part of the word from their logo & good color usage.

Some of the other memorable ones that I like include: Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Google Play & CNBC.

Here are a few favicons I dislike & why

  • Wikipedia – the W is hard to read.
  • USAA – they included both the logo widget and the 4 letters in a tiny space.
  • Yahoo! – they used inconsistent favicons across their sites & use italics on them. Some of the favicons have the whole word Yahoo in them while the others are the Y! in italics.

If you do not have a favicon Google will show a dull globe next to your listing. Real Favicon Generator is a good tool for creating favicons in various sizes.

What favicons do you really like? Which big sites do you see that are doing it wrong?


Using the Apriori algorithm and BERT embeddings to visualize change in search console rankings

Posted by on Feb 5, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Using the Apriori algorithm and BERT embeddings to visualize change in search console rankings

One of the biggest challenges an SEO faces is one of focus. We live in a world of data with disparate tools that do various things well, and others, not so well. We have data coming out of our eyeballs, but how to refine large data to something meaningful. In this post, I mix new with old to create a tool that has value for something, we as SEOs, do all the time. Keyword grouping and change review. We will leverage a little known algorithm, called the Apriori Algorithm, along with BERT, to produce a useful workflow for understanding your organic visibility at thirty thousand feet.

What is the Apriori algorithm

The Apriori algorithm was proposed by RakeshAgrawal and RamakrishnanSrikant in 2004. It was essentially designed as a fast algorithm used on large databases, to find association/commonalities between component parts of rows of data, called transactions. A large e-commerce shop, for example, may use this algorithm to find products that are often purchased together, so that they can show associated products when another product in the set is purchased.

I discovered this algorithm a few years ago, from this article, and immediately saw a connection to helping find unique pattern sets in large groups of keywords. We have since moved to more semantically-driven matching technologies, as opposed to term-driven, but this is still an algorithm that I often come back to as a first pass through large sets of query data.

1 technical seo
2 technical seo agency
3 seo agency
4 technical agency
5 locomotive seo agency
6 locomotive agency

Below, I used the article by Annalyn Ng, as inspiration to rewrite the definitions for the parameters that the Apriori algorithm supports, because I thought it was originally done in an intuitive way. I pivoted the definitions to relate to queries, instead of supermarket transactions.


Support is a measurement of how popular a term or term set is.  In the table above, we have six separate tokenized queries. The support for  “technical” is 3 out of 6 of the queries, or 50%. Similarly, “technical, seo” has a support of 33%, being in 2 out of 6 of the queries.


Confidence shows how likely terms are to appear together in a query. It is written as {X->Y}. It is simply calculated by dividing the support for {term 1 and term 2} by the support for {term 1}. In the above example, the confidence of {technical->seo} is 33%/50% or 66%.


Lift is similar to confidence but solves a problem in that really common terms may artificially inflate confidence scores when calculated based on the likelihood that they appear with other terms simply based on their frequency of usage. Lift is calculated, for example, by dividing the support for {term 1 and term 2} by ( the support for {term 1} times the support for {term 2} ). A value of 1 means no association. A value greater than 1 says the terms are likely to appear together, while a value less than 1 means they are unlikely to appear together.

Using Apriori for categorization

For the rest of the article, we will follow along with a Colab notebook and companion Github repo, that contains additional code supporting the notebook. The Colab notebook is found here. The Github repo is called QueryCat.

We start off with a standard CSV from Google Search Console (GSC), of comparative, 28-day queries, period-over-period. Within the notebook, we load the Github repo, and install some dependencies. Then we import querycat and load a CSV containing the outputted data from GSC. 

Click to enlarge

Now that we have the data, we can use the Categorize class in querycat, to pass a few parameters and easily find relevant categories. The most meaningful parameters to look at are the “alg” parameter, which specifies the algorithm to use. We included both Apriori and FP-growth, which both take the same inputs and have similar outputs. The FP-Growth algorithm is supposed to be a more efficient algorithm. In our usage, we preferred the Apriori algorithm.

The other parameter to consider is “min-support.” This essentially says how often a term has to appear in the dataset, to be considered. The lower this value is, the more categories you will have. Higher numbers, have less categories, and generally more queries with no categories. In our code, we designate queries with no calculated category, with a category “##other##”

The remaining parameters “min_lift” and “min_probability” deal with the quality of the query groupings and impart a probability of the terms appearing together. They are already set to the best general settings we have found, but can be tweaked to personal preference on larger data sets.

Click to enlarge

You can see that in our dataset of 1,364 total quereis, the algorithm was able to place the queries in 101 categories. Also notice that the algorithm is able to pick multi-word phrases as categories, which is the output we want.

After this runs, you can run the next cell, which will output the original data with the categories appended to each row. It is worth noting, that this is enough to be able to save the data to a CSV, to be able to pivot by the category in Excel and aggregate the column data by category. We provide a comment in the notebook which describes how to do this. In our example, we distilled matched meaningful categories, in only a few seconds of processing. Also, we only had 63 unmatched queries.

Click to enlarge

Now with the new (BERT)

One of the frequent questions asked by clients and other stakeholders is “what happened last <insert time period here>?” With a bit of Pandas magic and the data we have already processed, to this point, we can easily compare the clicks for the two periods in our dataset, by category, and provide a column that shows the difference (or you could do % change if you like) between the two periods.

Click to enlarge

Since we just launched a new domain at the end of 2019,, it is no wonder that most of the categories show click growth comparing the two periods. It is also good to see that our new brand, “Locomotive”, shows the most growth.  We also see that an article that we did on Google Analytics Exports, has 42 queries, and a growth of 36 monthly clicks.

This is helpful, but it would be cool to see if there are semantic relationships between query categories that we did better, or worse. Do we need to build more topical relevance around certain categories of topics?

In the shared code, we made for easy access to BERT, via the excellent Huggingface Transformers library, simply by including the querycat.BERTSim class in your code. We won’t cover BERT in detail, because Dawn Anderson, has done an excellent job here.

Click to enlarge

This class allows you to input any Pandas DataFrame with a terms (queries) column, and it will load DistilBERT, and process the terms into their corresponding summed embeddings. The embeddings, essentially are vectors of numbers that hold the meanings the model as “learned” about the various terms. After running the read_df method of querycat.BERTSim, the terms and embeddings are stored in the terms (bsim.terms) and embeddings(bsim.embeddings) properties, respectively.


Since we are operating in vector space with the embeddings, this means we can use Cosine Similarity to calculate the cosine of the angles between the vectors to measure the similarity.  We provided a simple function here, that would be helpful for sites that may have hundreds to thousands of categories. “get_similar_df” takes a string as the only parameter, and returns the categories that are most similar to that term, with a similarity score from 0 to 1. You can see below, that for the given term “train,” locomotive, our brand, was the closest category, with a similarity of 85%.

Click to enlarge

Plotting Change

Going back to our original dataset, to this point, we now have a dataset with queries and PoP change. We have run the queries through our BERTSim class, so that class knows the terms and embeddings from our dataset.  Now we can use the wonderful matplotlib, to bring the data to life in an interesting way.

Calling a class method, called diff_plot, we can plot a view of our categories in two-dimensional, semantic space, with click change information included in the color (green is growth) and size (magnitude of change) of the bubbles.

Click to enlarge

We included three separate dimension reduction strategies (algorithms), that take the 768 dimensions of BERT embeddings down to two dimensions. The algorithms are “tsne,” “pca” and “umap.” We will leave it to the reader to investigate these algorithms, but “umap” has a good mixture of quality and efficiency.

It is difficult to see (because ours is a relatively new site) much information from the plot, other than an opportunity to cover the Google Analytics API in more depth. Also, this would be a more informative plot had we removed zero change, but we wanted to show how this plot semantically clusters topic categories in a meaningful way.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we:

  • Introduced the Apriori algorithm.
  • Showed how you could use Apriori to quickly categorize a thousand queries from GSC.
  • Showed how to use the categories to aggregate PoP click data by category.
  • Provided a method for using BERT embeddings to find semantically related categories.
  • Finally, displayed a plot of the final data showing growth and decline by semantic category positioning.

We have provided all code as open source with the hopes that others will play and extend the capabilities as well as write more articles showing other ways various algorithms, new and old, can be helpful for making sense of the data all around us.

The post Using the Apriori algorithm and BERT embeddings to visualize change in search console rankings appeared first on Search Engine Land.

5 takeaways for marketers from Google’s Q4 2019 earnings

Posted by on Feb 5, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 takeaways for marketers from Google’s Q4 2019 earnings

Google reported revenues of $45.8 billion, up 17% year-over-year for the fourth quarter of 2019 on Monday. Including “other bets,” Google’s parent Alphabet reported total revenues grew 23% to $46.1 billion for the quarter. For the first time, the company disclosed YouTube advertising (and Cloud) revenues. It was also Sundar Pichai’s first earnings release since becoming Alphabet CEO.

Google Q4 advertising highlights:

  • Google search and other advertising revenues were $27.2 billion for the quarter, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  • YouTube generated $4.7 billion in advertising revenue in the fourth quarter, up 31%.
  • Network advertising revenues were $6.0 billion, up 8%. The company said shifted its ad mix to favor Google properties and that growth in this segment was led by Google Ad Manager.

YouTube growing fastest, but still smallest share. Google has long been saying YouTube advertising has been growing, but we haven’t had an insights into just how much it contributes, until now.

Google reported annual YouTube advertising revenues of $15.1 billion, or 11% of total ad revenues in 2019. That compares to a whopping 72% share for Google Search and Other (includes Maps, Gmail, Play and Shopping) at $98.1 billion and 16% share from Google Network Members’ properties (third-party publisher sites), which generated $21.6 billion in 2019.

Google search & Other revenues grew by 15% year-over-year in 2019, while YouTube ad revenues increased by 36% for the year. Network revenues grew by just 8% compared to the previous year.

Expect more commerce advertising on YouTube. Brand advertising continues to account for the majority of ad spend on YouTube, but direct response is growing faster, executives said. In early November, Google opened up YouTube inventory on the home feed and in search results to Shopping ads.

“I think direct response is a huge growth area for us,” said Pichai on the earnings call. “And increasingly, I think when you look at the fact that people are consuming a lot of goods and services as part of their experience in YouTube, how can we create better commerce experiences also is a big opportunity for us.”

In January, Google brought in former PayPal COO Bill Ready to head up Commerce products, and Ready will be working closing with advertising teams.

In addition, YouTube “now has over 20 million Music and Premium paid subscribers, and over 2 million YouTube TV paid subscribers — ending 2019 at a $3 billion annual run rate in YouTube subscriptions and other non-advertising revenues,” Pichai said.

Shopping Actions participation grew. The ability for users to “Buy on Google” — indicated by shopping cart logos on Shopping ads — is a major focus on the revamped Google Shopping experience in the U.S. It’s powered by Google Shopping Actions, and the company said the number of U.S. merchants participating in that program has increased four-fold.

“Throughout the entire holiday shopping season, we also expanded the selection of products on Google due to a 4x uptick in the number of US merchants participating in our Shopping Actions program.”

Record shopping search touted. “Over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday weekend, we had the largest number of daily shoppers on ever in our history,” Pichai noted. Google has been facing pressure from the rapid growth of Amazon’s advertising business (even if still relatively small) as well as from social commerce offerings from the likes of Instagram and other platforms.

CPC declines slowing on Google properties. The company said growing engagement with YouTube ads “where cost-per-click remains lower than on our other advertising platforms” continued to contribute to overall lower cost-per click down across Google properties. However, the declines have lessened significantly this year. For 2019, CPCs on Google properties were off by just 7 percent compared to 25% drop year-over-year in 2018.

The post 5 takeaways for marketers from Google’s Q4 2019 earnings appeared first on Search Engine Land.

How to Start Getting Organic Traffic to Your Blog

Posted by on Feb 4, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Start Getting Organic Traffic to Your Blog

Writing a blog that no one ever reads is the internet equivalent of throwing a party, where half the people who’ve marked themselves as attending on Facebook don’t turn up. 

That moment when you log into Google Analytics and see that your posts have had three visitors in the past month, and two of them were you, is exactly like watching the hummus you decided to make from scratch (that’s a thing) remain untouched by the four guests that come to your house; two of whom are already claiming they’ve got another birthday party to go to and are making for the door.

There are two questions here. The first is whether Facebook RSVPs can ever be an accurate way of knowing how many people are actually coming to your event (absolutely not). And the second: what’s stopping people turning up? 

Let’s now transfer this clunky metaphor to the marketing world and get to the point of this post: why is no one turning up to read the content on your blog?

We’ve all seen brand and company blogs that lean too far towards being salesy, unrelatable and self-serving. They answer the company’s needs (here’s why you should buy hummus!) rather than those of potential readers (how do I make hummus from scratch?) – and the amount of organic traffic they get suffers as a result.

Which is why getting people to arrive on your blog requires planning, research, and having a bit of a clear out. And a lot of this needs to happen before anything even goes live. 

So if you’re wondering how to get organic traffic to your blog, here are some steps to follow. Done right, it’ll increase visits over time, build your company’s reputation as an authority on topics within your niche, and help your site’s SEO as a result. 

(Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee it’ll also make people come to your party).

1. Audit your existing content

This is the necessary bit of cleaning before you invite people over.

Except in this scenario, you’re using a big spreadsheet to work out what needs to stay, and what needs to go. My colleague Ben has helpfully created a content audit template which makes life a lot easier, so take a look at that before you get started. But I’ll go through some basics below.

Hopefully, you’ll already have Google Analytics running on your blog, so head to 

Behaviour > Site content > All pages 

…and change the date range to at least the last year. This should bring up a list of all your blog posts, and the traffic they’ve received over that time. Export it. You’re going to use this list to find out what blog posts are already getting traffic, and which ones aren’t. 

You might also want to check other metrics on these posts, like whether they’ve got any backlinks – because that might also inform what content you want to keep. To do this, you could combine backlinks detected in Google Search Console with data from either Ahrefs or Majestic.  

Then, starting with the highest to lowest traffic, one by one, go through each of the posts in terms of content and note/look out for the following:

  • What posts are getting consistent traffic? 
  • Which posts have seasonal spikes in traffic
  • Which posts get no traffic at all
  • Are there any popular topics/themes/categories

Make a note to fix:

  • Outdated content 
  • Broken images
  • Strange formatting
  • Broken links

And ultimately against each one, mark whether to:

  • Keep it 
  • Keep it, but update/repurpose it
  • Delete it completely
  • Delete it + redirect to a more useful post

By the end of this stage, you’ll have a list of actions to go through to help your existing content work harder. 

2. Keyword research

Next, you need to find out which topics it makes sense for your brand to be writing about in the future. And within that, the specific terms people are actually actively searching for. 

Spoiler alert: it might not directly relate to whatever you sell. 

There are a number of tools you can use to do this (free and paid) – and we’ll go into those in a future post. But essentially, it’ll involve using tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush and Keyword Planner to identify:

  • Relevant search terms within your niche
  • Their monthly search volumes
  • What your competitors are writing about 
  • Seasonal trends where traffic might spike

And once you’ve got a list of search terms to write content around, it’s time to start turning these into long tail ideas for evergreen blog posts. It’s these that, little by little, will build up traffic to your blog over time. 

3. Brainstorm topic ideas 

Your keyword research will leave you with a list of questions or informational non-branded terms and their search volumes, and an idea of when they peak. 

But the tricky bit is turning those terms into useful, relevant blog post ideas that fit neatly into a content calendar and align with your brand’s demographic. Remember, your aim here is to answer queries, become an authority on a particular topic, and provide relevant information. 

No one wants to come to a party and have the host do a hard sell. 

To rank in the SERPs, the posts will need to be detailed and well researched – so keep your business’ expertise in mind when you’re coming up with ideas. Don’t be afraid to go niche. 

Again, you might want to use some tools here to help you. Sites like Answer the Public can give you suggestions, or ‘People also ask’ on the Google SERPs. 

Let’s take an example: you’re a hotel brand, and your keyword research says that “things to do in London” is a good, high volume keyword to target. 

But it’s also a highly competitive term. So perhaps there’s a better way to narrow things down even more:

What other things dictate someone’s need for a hotel in London?

  • Time of year / seasonality
  • Specific interests, activities or events
  • Location: particular areas/boroughs

Your list of potential blog post ideas could a bit like this:

  • Things to do in London when it’s raining 
  • Baby-friendly museums in London
  • Where to take mum for her birthday in London

Do this until you’ve built out a big list of blog post ideas covering all the different topic areas you identified in your keyword research. Next step: plan it out. 

4. Plan out the content

Once you’ve got a huge list of blog post ideas and an idea of when their search volumes peak, use a content calendar to plan out what you’re publishing month by month. Here’s a useful guide to creating a content calendar which you can feed these organic traffic posts into.

When you’re planning out your content, consider:

  • Resource and time: to stand a chance of ranking, these posts will be comprehensive, well researched, and detailed (more on that next)
  • Posts will need to be written and published before the search volume peaks
  • Aim to publish at least 4 weeks beforehand, e.g. a post about Halloween outfit ideas would need to be published around mid September to catch the upward tick

5. Research the competition

Ok, let’s see what’s happening at that party. Not yours; no one’s at yours. The other, better one your guests are off to instead. You do some digging, and find out that party’s got a proper DJ and a decent sound system, while you’re putting your iPhone speaker in a wine glass. Where would you rather be?

Basically, before you start writing: know what you’re up against.

Take the blog post title you want to rank for (e.g. “things to do in London when it’s raining”), Google it, and see who and what is already ranking.

  • Format: are they numbered listicles (if so, how many ideas do they list?), long form pieces, or step-by-step guides? 
  • How recent is the article? 
  • Who currently has the featured snippet and what could increase your chances of getting the top spot? 
  • What’s the word count? How many items are they listing?

Remember: depending on your niche, your blog content competitors might not be your direct business competitors. 

So, might be your competition when you’re selling hotels in London, but when you’re informing people about things to do in London, you could be up against established authorities like Time Out, travel magazines, or tourist boards. This gives you an idea of how detailed and well researched your post needs to be to compete.

Once you’ve got an idea of what your blog post needs to include, write a strong brief. 

5. Training for copywriters

Unless you’re working for one of the media outlets above, the chances are you don’t have a team of journalists working in-house.

And as I said, depending on your niche and industry, your competition might be lifestyle publications staffed by journalists.

The shift to writing more editorial-style content can be tricky if you’re working with in-house copywriters who are used to writing quite short, salesy product-focused copy. 

Depending on the competition, these evergreen, organic traffic driving posts are going to need to be more than 500 words of generic fluff. It’ll require research, sometimes resulting in upwards of 1,000 words, to be able to compete with whatever’s ranking on page 1. 

So if you don’t have the expertise in-house, consider where you might be able to get it. 

  • Who in your company can add expertise? 
  • Can you interview them and shape their answers into a post? 
  • Do you have the budget to source external freelance resource? 
  • Can you invest in basic SEO training for your copywriting team to help them along?

If you’re stuck, here’s a post on how to write high quality content to get you started.

7. Optimise, optimise, optimise

Before you publish, there’s a last bit of admin. Here are some things to check:

  • Whether you’re linking to other relevant blog posts (internally or externally)
  • If you’ve included a call to action at the end of the post
  • Whether your titles and meta descriptions are optimised for search (if you’re using WordPress, a plugin like Yoast allows you to specify different titles and descriptions for search and social)
  • Avoid putting dates in the URL (i.e. best-things-to-do-London-winter-2019) so you can update the same post next year without it looking out of date
  • Images are consistently named, spaced and formatted, the file sizes are low 

8. And last but not least, keep it updated

Kind of like getting people to turn up to your party, having an organic content strategy requires planning and work along the way.

It’s not a short term plan. It can take a good few months for a blog post to start getting organic traffic, and you might find you need to revisit the posts every so often to keep them updated and relevant.

So once you’ve written a post, keep a calendar note for seasonal posts that can be updated each year / as appropriate instead of creating new ones. 

That’s just an overview of the steps you need to take, and we’ll be going into more details in future guides. 

If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, or are wondering why your blog isn’t getting the organic traffic you think it should, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. 

Aggregate & Automate Performance Reporting With Lighthouse & Google Data Studio

Posted by on Jan 31, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Aggregate & Automate Performance Reporting With Lighthouse & Google Data Studio

WTF Dan? I can’t even say that title, it’s a mouthful!

Sorry, random internet stranger but it sounds smart!

Anyways, performance reporting is good for SEO right? Speed is a critical ranking factor, it’s good for users, and we all just want to feel the need for it. But enterprise-class performance reporting dashboards are tough. Especially ones that are easy to spin up automatically, low resource and actionable.

Do these look like something you would want to have?

Would surfacing performance opportunities automatically and at scale like this be helpful?

Well, have no fear, because that’s what I’m here to walk you through!

So first, check out the end product. Here is a performance dashboard we created for Target (sorry for outing you Target SEO, but hey free report!):

This dashboard was created by taking a simple two-column spreadsheet (one column with a URL and another with the label), passing it via-.CSV through our Slackbot Jarvis running it through our process, and then outputting it as a Google Data Studio Report. Yes, we have a bot named Jarvis. Don’t you?

It took me about 15 minutes to classify the URLs and about 10 for the report to be run/created. Isn’t living in the future cool? I guess a human could compile all this, but this seems like a real time-saver to allow the human brain to do what it’s best at – analyzing!

Just to get into some of the features, most of the charts can be drilled down into, diagnostic and performance metrics can be looked at holistically or with any subset of templates, and you can track over time to see improvements.

IMHO this is a much better way of doing performance reporting as you can look at not just snapshots of resources on a page, but how they perform across a whole template or even a site. It makes the real costs of particular performance issues much more clear.

Anyway, enough talking.

We are also open sourcing this!

If you want to spin it up for yourself

check out the documentation and get some!

Dan, why did you build this?

Pretty simple it saves us a ton of time on performance reporting in our audits and is a spiffy deliverable for clients that shows them how badass we are at technical SEO. Plus we can iterate on it super easy. Just as an example, adding in competitors to benchmark templates against is gonna be in our next iteration. If you do cool stuff, please share it with me @danleibson on Twitter!

Remember kids technical SEO = local SEO when your queries are local and your web stack is complicated and Google is rapidly localizing search more then they are rolling out any other feature. Don’t put yourself in a box. I don’t let my teammates!

Like most things, this isn’t done in a vacuum so I just want to shout out people like Jamie Alberico for talking me through a bunch of her elvish wizardry around the topic and Hamlet Batista for being willing to just throw stuff out there into public so others can learn.

The post Aggregate & Automate Performance Reporting With Lighthouse & Google Data Studio appeared first on Local SEO Guide.