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Best Google Analytics Reports for Beginners

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Best Google Analytics Reports for Beginners

Best Google Analytics Reports for Beginners

Google analytics can give you a lot of information about your web site and if you are a beginner you can easily get lost in the reports. My goal with this post is to explain and demonstrate the 7 best reports to help beginners understand some basic information about their web site.

These are the absolute essentials for any webmaster looking to answer the 4 w’s (‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘who’).

How many visits do I get per day and from where?
How many users are visiting from Desktop / Mobile / Tablet?
Which are the most popular pages of my site?
Which pages do people see first (landing pages) when they visit my site?
How many people are viewing my web site right now?
What buttons do users click as they browse my web site?
What time of the day I receive the most visits?

1. How many visits do I get per day and from where?

This is a report I run on a daily basis. You can view this report by selecting ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Source / Medium

What this report shows is the number of visits and their origin for the selected period. You can see how many visits are coming from search (i.e. organic), how many visits are direct etc.

Traffic by Source / Medium Report

On the top bar (below the graph) you can also see, among other things:

Pages / Session: the pages per visit, i.e. how many pages on average your readers are viewing before they leave your web site – the greater the number the better
Avg. Session Duration: How long (on average) your visitors stay on the site – the greater the number the better
New Users: The number of first time visits (for the selected date range)
Bounce rate:  Bounce rate is the percentage of people who left your web site without viewing other pages within your site. – the lower the number the better.

2. How many users are visiting from Desktop / Mobile / Tablet?

A very useful report is the Mobile Overview. It shows you how many users are visiting your website from a desktop computer, a mobile phone or a tablet.

You can access this report by selecting AUDIENCE > Mobile > Overview.

Mobile Overview Report
3. Which are the most popular pages of my site?

To find out which are the most popular pages of your site navigate to BEHAVIOR > Site Content > All Pages.

You may find out a number of surprises like that your most popular page is not your home page or which of your site’s categories are more visited etc.

Popular Pages Report
4. Which pages do people see first (landing pages) when they visit my site?

The landing pages report shows which pages are first seen when people visit the web site. You can combine this report with Source / Medium (select Source / Medium from secondary dimension dropdown) and get an accurate picture on which pages are first visited from each traffic source.

To view this report select BEHAVIOR > Site Content > Landing Pages

Remember that you can always use different combinations using the secondary dimension feature and see a whole new set of reports.

5. How many people are viewing my web site right now?

This is a very useful report that shows in real-time the number of visits. You can find this report by selecting REAL TIME > Overview.

Real Time Overview Report
6. What buttons do users click as they browse my web site?

Besides the different reports, another very nice feature of Google Analytics is In-Page Analytics. With In-Page Analytics you can see which buttons / links / areas of a page get clicked.

This is good to know for many obvious reasons and can really help you analyse and optimize your web site. Maybe you should move some content above the fold or see what your readers prefer more (text or images) and many other useful information.

To view your in-page analytics data you first need to install the official Page Analytics Chrome Extension.

Page Analytics Chrome Extension

Once installed, navigate to a page you want to view in-page analytics and click the Analytics icon in your chrome browser. You should see a screen similar to the one shown below. Move your mouse over the different metrics to get more information.

Note: In order to view Google Analytics data in your browser you have to be logged in to Google with an account that has manager role for that website in Google Analytics.

In-Page Analytics Report
7. What time of the day I receive the most visits?

By default, Google Analytics shows you statistics by Day and on the main panel you have the option to select by Week or Month.

A useful report, especially if you are selling products or services on your website is to analyze the data by time of day.

Knowing what time of the day you receive the most traffic, it can help you make better decisions as to what time to publish your new posts or even adjust your Adwords campaigns and increase the bids during those hours.

Create a Custom Report

There are two ways to do this. First, you can create a new custom report. It’s sounds difficult but it’s not, just follow the simple steps below.

From the left menu, select CUSTOMIZATION > Custom Reports > New Custom Report.

Hour of Day – Google Analytics Report

To view this report again once it’s saved, go to CUSTOMIZATION > Custom Reports and click on the Hour of Day report.

To make this report easier to read, click on the PERFORMANCE icon from the top bar and sort the report by hour (by clicking on the word hour, twice).

Visits Per hour (Percentages)

Please note that the report is using the 24hour format.

Add Hour as a secondary dimension

Hour as a Secondary Dimension

Another option is to use the secondary dimension and select hour from the drop down menu. You can add hour as a secondary dimension to almost any report you create.

Key Learnings

Google Analytics has a number of reports that cover everything that is happening on your website. If you are starting out now the best approach is to familiarize yourself with the basic reports outlined above. These reports will give you enough data to analyze to understand how much traffic you get to your website and from where.

As you become more experienced, you can start using segments and advanced filters to drill down and learn how to use Google analytics to boost your SEO.

The post Best Google Analytics Reports for Beginners appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

Consistency Is Key in Getting Ranked on SERP

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Consistency Is Key in Getting Ranked on SERP

Consistency Is Key in Getting Ranked on SERP

When people talk about SEO, they talk about meta description, they talk about building backlink volume, they talk about canonicalization. All these are ranking factors. But they won’t work unless they’re used consistently.

Consistency is key

SEO is not a set up once and leave it thing. Nor is your website. As your business grows, you will be adding more content and more web pages to your website. All these need to be optimized from time to time to ensure your SERP rank.

When setting up a website it’s not only for the users. It’s also for crawlers. T

hat’s why it’s important to give the crawler all the correct and clear signs on what your webpage is. Crawler takes in a lot to consider as SEO ranking factors.

This includes keywords, fresh links, passing page rank, and for local SEO; uniformed information across multiple portals.

When all the little signs are pointing towards one, and one thing only. That’s when SEO shines and your page appears high on the SERP. Making all the pointer pointing at one thing requires patience, effort, and consistency.

Be consistent with your keyword usage

The consistent use of keywords remains one of the most important parts of SEO. Scattering keywords consistently across a webpage tell crawlers what this webpage is about. Which in turn helps it to rank higher in the SERP of a certain keyword.

Choose a keyword and stick to it.

Although Google IS getting smarter and smarter in understanding the content of each website. Still, the power of keywords should not be ignored.

Keywords give crawlers a sign about what the page is talking about. It acts as a pointer to the keyword that you want to rank.

Put keywords in your title, meta tags, meta description, in your article itself, in image ALT etc.

Consistently insert the keyword into where it matters. Combined, they’re screaming out signals to the crawler that this is what the web page is about.

In SEOPressor plugin, there exists a feature where it will detect your SQ Density automatically according to your word count and keyword position. All you need to do is input up to 3 keywords that you’re targeting.

SEOPressor automatically gives you an indication on SQ Density

However, we are also aware that a website is not only made up of one blog post or one webpage. That’s where consistency comes in. You gotta make sure that all your web pages are pointing towards one same thing.

Let’s say you’re a yoga instructor who runs a yoga academy. You will want your website to rank on the keyword “yoga instructor”. The page that ranks for this main keyword should preferably be your homepage. Where users can have an overall of what you can offer. Therefore, you would want to optimize your homepage for the keyword “yoga instructor”.

Get a list of LSI keywords of yoga instructor, utilize them if you can. LSIGraph in this occasion can help you immensely. That way you are clearly telling the crawler that “Hey, my website is about Yoga Instructor, you should show my website to anyone who made a related query.”

Be consistent with your content
SEO goes hand in hand with quality content

Quality contents that answer to what users want are those that rank.

Dishing out one after another quality content consistently is important. That tells Google that your website is relevant to queries. Not only that, you are always relevant because you are always updating.

That’s why you see so many SEO websites featuring a blog where they share knowledge and all things SEO with users for free.

You may get a sudden surge of backlinks and visit when you posted a piece of high-quality content. But you don’t want that to be a one-time thing. You want those fresh links that can keep your blog post ranked high at the SERP.

Once again, consistency is key.

There are two ways to do this. When Google updates their algorithm you gotta update your SEO accordingly. Other than that, constantly check for broken or bad links. A link can change over time, making sure that they are not affecting your web page needs a lot of consistent patience and work.

You can update your website monthly, weekly or even daily if you want. What we need is consistency.

Revamp your website maybe once a year. Get rid of all those bad links or bad code that is not contributing to your SERP.

Google likes fresh content. They like to see frequent activity on a website being signaled to their crawlers. It’s like telling them that your website is active and in use. It’s relevant, and relevant web pages rank higher.

However, don’t update your page for the sake of updating.

The main purpose of creating a website in the first place is to communicate. You want to tell the community something, whether it be telling them to take yoga classes with you or sharing tips on SEO.

That’s why you gotta feed them quality content. Good content that matches to users search intent.

So one point to remember is to not just be consistent with your updates or publishes, you also want to be consistent with the quality.

Everyone loves a quality content, optimizing it is just putting the jewel on the crown while consistency is king. Be consistent with your quality first, then comes frequency and optimization.

Be consistent with your website structure

One of the most common problems that give out a mixed signal to crawlers and affecting ranking is duplicated content.

Why is it confusing to crawler? Because it’s inconsistent!

You have one page displaying the same thing but with 3 different URLs. Why not make it consistent and only having one URL? We know the problem is not as simple as that.

Duplicate content IS a problem on the internet.

It’s such a big problem that Google made a whole help page for it. As you can see, Google asked you to be consistent.

You may not have created duplicated intentionally, but that doesn’t mean that crawlers won’t treat them as unique sites with duplicated content. That will confuse the crawlers as to which one should be preferred and ranked.

Example of duplicated URLs that may affect SERP

All these web pages will be showing the same thing to the users. But to the crawlers, they are three different unique sites. However, they’re showcasing the same contents! So which one is the real, original one that has more authority?

Which one should be ranked?

There are many ways to solve this problem as listed out by Google.

But in my humble opinion, a rel=”canonical or 301 redirects are one of the more direct solutions to a problem like this.

Utilize these commands to consistently refer crawlers to put the priority on the page that YOU WANT. Put these command in ALL the relevant web page. Not just one. You want to go through all the duplicates and make sure they’re all consistently pointing to the same thing.

To put it lightly, if you want users to stay on the page, but pass page rank to another page, then use rel=”canonical. If you don’t want users on that page AT ALL and also want to pass page rank, use 301 redirects.

Of course, this the very surface of how these things work. They are obviously much more complicated but we are not going to talk about that. What I want to talk about is consistency.

You are communicating and sending signals to the crawlers on which page is the one you think should be ranked. Instead of letting them decide. If you want to have full authority over your web pages, you gotta bark out clear directions.

Crawlers will be confused when given mixed signals thus affecting your page ranking

Be firm and sure on which webpage you want to pass page rank to. Don’t give out mixed signals like pass it from A to C then B to C and C back to B. You want everything to be pointing back to A and A only.

Choose one copy of the duplicates as genuine and original. Pass it page ranks. Be consistent throughout. You can see that your SERP started favoring the page that you’re pointing towards. That’s what being consistent can do.

You’re telling the crawlers to scoop up all that are scattered, and put it all on ONE webpage only. There are many SEO ranking factors, by uniforming them one by one you can gain great strength.

Be consistent with your NAP

Now we’re gonna touch a little on local SEO.

Every business wants to rank on the near me SERP. Every business wants to be discovered online by potential customers. You ask for reviews, you communicate with customers and tend to their needs. All of those are good for your business.

But the most basic of putting your business out there on the internet is the NAP. Make a quick search for your business on Google. Are there duplicates? Are there different listings with different details?

Again, consistency is key.

Be consistent with your NAP is one of the easily overlooked fine print.

Your premise might have a name change, so you updated your Facebook page. But have you also updated your Google listing, Yelp listing, Foursquare listing and so on and so forth?

If your Facebook page has a different name with your Yelp listing, that’s telling Google that they are two different businesses. That will not only confuse Google, it will also confuse potential customers.

Providing the exact information across multiple portals in important for both ranking and securing customers

Make sure that the information you have on the internet is uniform and consistent is important. However, that can be a tricky thing to do.

With so many review sites out there making sure you have claimed your listing is enough work already. Updating all of them accordingly is gonna take up a lot of time and requires a lot of patience.

There is a couple software out there that can help you manage all your listings from NAP down to verification.

Like this one from MOZ or this one from bright local.

A little effort can pay off in the long run. Making sure the information you’re putting out is uninformed can do wonders to your rank on SERP which in turn brings in more business.

TL;DR

At the end of the day, consistency is key in being ranked on SERP. Dishing out consistently high-quality contents is only one among the many SEO ranking factors. Revamp your website consistently to follow updated Googe algorithm and clearing out bad links. In the case of duplicated content, signals to crawlers should be clear and consistent. Be it 301 redirects or rel=”canonical. You need to make sure they’re all pointing to the same page to pass page rank. NAP is the most basic yet crucial part of a local business listing. Keep it consistent throughout every review sites as to not confuse both crawlers and potential customers.

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SEO Guide: Perfecting On-Page SEO Optimization

An ultimate guide for every marketer to optimize your on-page SEO perfectly.
Identify all the SEO elements to optimize it the right way
Improve your traffic and ranking with this actionable step-by-step guide
20 on-page SEO tips are included to help you get on the road to your SEO success

Mobile-Friendly: 6 Test Tools You Need to Know

Posted by on Jul 22, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Mobile-Friendly: 6 Test Tools You Need to Know

Mobile-Friendly: 6 Test Tools You Need to Know

Look around you, are there people currently looking at their phone screen? There sure are some around me.

The society as a whole is utilizing internet on the go more and more frequently. As a matter of fact, more than half of Google queries come from a mobile device.

Google itself has released a mobile-friendly algorithm back in 2015. Which is designed to favor mobile-friendly sites in ranking which triggered a whole mobilegeddon terror.

What’s more, just last February at PubCon a webmaster conference, Google announced that they’ll be switching more sites to mobile-first index. Even though Google said it won’t affect any SERP ranking at the moment. But as all things Google, be wary and be ready.

You can read more about the mobile-first indexing on Google itself, or this FAQ compiled on SearchEngineLand. Be aware though those two articles are kinda dated but still relevant due to the experimental nature of the indexing.

Although the mobile-first index is still being rolled out in a snail pace for the sake of experimenting. There is no doubt that being mobile friendly is a must for every website out there and it will only be increasingly relevant.

Google wants you to put out mobile friendly and responsive websites.

Maybe not now, but definitely sometime soon.

What’s more, I’m pretty sure everyone would lose less hair if every website they tap into using their smartphone fits nicely and functions perfectly.

So now that you, me and Google are all on the same page that says we want mobile-friendly websites. Here are some tools on the internet that can help you do just that.

So here is a list of 6 mobile-friendly test tools from yours truly – Google.
1. Google Mobile Site Test

Just Google “mobile friendly” to access the tool.

Now if you Google “mobile friendly”, the first column on your result page will be an input bar for you to run a test. That is Google’s very own mobile-friendly test tool a.k.a THE Google mobile site test.

The first column is Google’s very own mobile-friendly test

In fact, if you’ve been following the Google Webmaster Blog. You’ll notice that there is an illustration on the site that urges you to run a mobile-friendly test. Yes, they are both the same thing.

Do you notice on the right site that Google is asking you to check whether your website is mobile-friendly?

Thumbs up at the effort that Google is putting in. They REALLY want you to go mobile friendly.

The site is straightforward and simple to use. All you need to do is type in the URL of your website, and run the test. In less than a minute, you’ll either get a green “page is mobile-friendly” or a red “page is not mobile-friendly”.

Hey the SEOPressor website IS mobile-friendly, hooray!

This news portal, unfortunately, is not.

Straight to the point and simple.

Whether your page is deemed green or red, you can view details on page loading issues. Because let’s face it, no web page is perfect, even if we want it to be. That gives you a simple overview of what you can fix to make it better.

2. Chrome DevTools’ Device Mode

Click here to access the tool.

If you’re a Chrome user, you can utilize their DevTools’ Device Mode to help you build your own mobile-friendly site.

How it looks like when device mode is on.

Utilizing the device mode, you can simulate the environment of a list of portable device and gauge how your site performs.

I won’t go over all the functions of the Device Mode. In a nutshell, by utilizing Device Mode you can gauge the responsiveness of your webpage via a list of portable device emulators. However, there also exist some downsides. For an example, they can’t emulate GPU and CPU behavior.

The point is, the tool will be sufficient for most mobile-friendly testing tasks. So go ahead and make use of this free tool to tweak your website. Up the game on mobile-friendly and responsiveness.

Now that you get an overview on the mobile-friendly-ness of your website. Let’s talk about speed.

When users load a page on mobile, they are on the go, they want to reach a page and they want to reach it fast.

So here’s where speed comes into the big picture. 53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Being a mobile-friendly website is important, being a blazing fast mobile-friendly website is even more important. Google helped you built a mobile-friendly website. They also want to help you to tweak it to perform at its best.

3. Test My Site

Click here to access the tool.

Taking only a minute time tells you the time required to load your webpage using a 3G connection. You can also download a free copy of the report on how to improve your performance.

4. PageSpeed Insights

Click here to access the tool.

This web performance tool also gives you some insights on how optimized your website is.

It gives you stats on your website speed, optimization level and etc. It is excellent because in one click it also provides you with a solution on how to fix any problems. Follow the appropriate guides and you can have your website updated in no time.

5. Chorme User Experience Report

Click here to access the tool.

You can pair the web performance tool up with the Chrome User Experience Report to get a clearer view of how your website performs as a whole.

The data is a part of Google Cloud Platform, free to explore via Google BigQuery

As a whole, tools 4 and 5 together give you heads up on how to perform better. A website with better performance gains more edge in the mobile-friendly race.

Now that you have optimized your website performance, you can access it on your mobile device to see it for yourself how it performs, mobile-friendly wise. What’s better than testing out how mobile-friendly a website is, by viewing it in mobile!

6. Chrome Devtools’ Remote Debugging

Click here to access the tool.

While developing your website, you can make use of the remote debugging tool to inspect your page in real time.

This gives you the advantage of examining your website under the mobile condition that you want. While still maintaining the same control over the development.

Update your website builder software

In the case where your website is hosted, it is most probable that the software homepage has already created a how-to guide for you to haul your website into being mobile-friendly. If you want to know more about how to make a website mobile-friendly.

Click here to access the guide to customize your website software.

At the end of the day, the users want more mobile-friendly websites that work. Therefore, Google tries to deliver by emphasizing on mobile-friendly optimizations.

With the mobile-first index being rolled out, the age of internet on the palm is no longer a future event.

Making use and taking advantage of all the guides and tools that have been lying in the Google dungeon will definitely benefit you. Bracing the dark, cold corridor of the dungeons may be intimidating. That’s why we did it for you and compiled these 6 tools to help shape your mobile-friendly website!

Now, brave warrior, storm your way through the optimization and you may be rewarded with a high SERP rank by Google.

The list of mobile friendly test tools

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Best Strategy To Rank Your Content On Google

3 In-Depth Research On Ways To Get Ranked On Google
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Rank Your Content With Not Just One, But Multiple Keywords
Best Practice To Bring Back Your Lost Traffic

How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

My very first blog post here on Yoast.com was about why you should focus on SEO as a blogger. That post was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written, as I was not focussing on SEO at all back then. I honestly didn’t want to spend time doing keyword research and research my audience. Now, almost four months later, I’m having fun with optimizing my blog posts and am creating a routine in this. And with success, my average position in Google is rising, along with the total impressions and total clicks. Today, I will share why and how I’m optimizing my blog posts. 

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SEO for bloggers

In the beginning of June I was at a conference for Dutch speaking bloggers. I gave a talk about SEO for bloggers and attended several talks myself. One of the talks I saw was by the owner of a big mom blog in the Netherlands. When the audience asked her how she managed to grow, she explained it was a combination of writing a lot, using Google Search Console and using Yoast SEO Premium.

“Anyone could do it,” she told the audience.

Challenge accepted.

The day after the conference, I started optimizing my blog posts. And with success. Where my average organic growth was around 10 percent per month from the start of this year, it was a whopping 86% in June compared to May. Turns out that the SEO tips we give at Yoast, even work for bloggers! Who knew?

Well, probably everyone knew. At least at Yoast. But I’m stubborn and always used the ‘that won’t work for me’ card. But really, as I wrote before, I didn’t want to focus on SEO. I’m a blogger. Who needs SEO?

How to rise in Google

The process of rising to the first page or even the top three result is a long one. You need the right tools and you need the right plan. You need patience and you need to be able to analyze your current data.

To rise in Google, I use two tools:
Google Search Console and Yoast SEO Premium.

Google Search Console is a great tool to see what keywords people use, what the click through rate to your website is and what position you are. You can compare your data as well. The newest data unfortunately is 3 days old, so you need patience with growing.

While you can do this all without our SEO plugin, I can’t live without our premium plugin anymore. I use the premium plugin to check my internal linking structure and use the link suggestions to make sure I am linking to all relevant posts on my website.

It’s hard to decide which blog posts to optimize. I found out my blog post about a lipstick review I did last year, still generates a lot of traffic. I’m not a beauty blogger, but apparently the post hit home. But posts I wanted to rank, weren’t ranking at all. I picked one of those blog posts and started to optimize it. You can do this by completely rereading the text, checking the bullets of our content analysis and adding relevant links to other blog posts – the internal linking tool helps with that, and to link from other relevant posts to this post. Orphaned content – content that’s not linked to – is horrible and it’s something you need to fix as soon as possible if you want to rank. 

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How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

I want to write. I want to blog. The last thing I want to do, is work on optimizing my blog posts for Google, Pinterest  or Facebook.

As I won’t go viral after I hit that publish button and I won’t get millions of hits after I shouted out that I blogged, I need to optimize the posts. I do this right after I finished a blog post. I reread it, go through all the bullets of the plugin and determine if I want to change its suggestions, or just ignore those stupid red and orange bullets that are out there to make my life miserable. The one thing I do check for every time, are internal links and a proper meta description. While writing meta descriptions are my nightmare, they are important in getting people to actually click that link.

Checklist

I’ve created my own checklist before I publish a post. While I sometimes go back to a blog post to create new links if I published new blogs, I make sure all my new posts at least check off the following:

There are at least 3 links to other blog posts I’ve written that are relevant to the topic. If there are no relevant links, I need to either create more content or perhaps remove the blog post altogether.
There is at least one relevant high quality image and it has the focus keyword in its alt description.
I’ve written a compelling meta description.
My readability is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
My SEO analysis is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
I’ve checked old blog posts to see if I can link to this new blog post.

Routine

It’s important to create your own routine in this. While in the beginning it might feel as if you’re messing around and it won’t have any use, if you continue to do the steps above, you will see improved results in Google and Google Search Console.

I’m curious how and if you are incorporating SEO tactics in your blogging. Please let me know, because I’m eager to learn from you too!

Read on: Site structure: the ultimate guide »

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WordPress Security – 8 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Site

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress Security – 8 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Site

Whether you use a WordPress website to promote your Company products and services or as a blog to share your thoughts and opinion, the security of your site is very important. WordPress has become a popular blogging platform in the recent years because it is easy to develop, design, and manage. In fact, you almost do not need any special knowledge to use a WordPress website.

WordPress is preferred by most individuals and business owners for many reasons. It has a simple, DIY and user-friendly interface, called dashboard. More so, WordPress allows you to install your custom theme and Plug-Ins and edit them to taste. SEO optimization is another benefit of WordPress that cannot be overemphasized.

Excellent features of WordPress

1.     WordPress Plug-Ins

A plug-In refers to additional software that’s added to a WordPress site in order to give it a desired feature or function. There are several kinds of WordPress plug-ins for different functions. For instance, there are Plug-ins for SEO, security, display and performance, cache, image properties, comments management, social media integration, video embed, e-commerce, and lots more. Your choice will depend on what you are looking for.

2.     WordPress themes

WordPress also allows you to decide how you want your website to look. Do you want a static homepage or the one that displays all your pages? There are thousands of themes out there that you can choose from. There are free and premium themes recommended by WordPress developers and those designed by third-party professional web designers.

3.     Easy Customization

After you might have chosen your theme and plug-ins, you can still modify and customize them to your taste. Depending on the character of your installed theme/plug-in, you can choose from a wide array of customization options available.

WordPress Security

With the constant increase in the number of cyber crimes and online attacks on many websites, it is very important to keep your WordPress site as secure as possible. As earlier identified, WordPress allows you to easily and effortlessly adjust your settings to suit your needs. This makes it easy for you to avoid all forms of attacks on your WordPress website.

Why Is WordPress Security So Important?

A hacked or compromised WordPress website can be a big blow to you and/or your business. Cyber attackers can steal your login details, personal information, and caches and gain an access to your dashboard. The case can be fatal if you use your website for business transactions.

Hackers can alter your payment gateway and divert your funds. More so, they can access your database and steal your customers’ information and vital documents. Depending on the type of attack and aim of the attacker, it may take forever to retrieve your website and you know the damage and loss this can cost you.

How can you protect your WordPress site?

The fact that WordPress is an Open Source platform and everybody has access to the source codes makes it a favorite target of most cyber hackers. Most attacks come from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Germany, and Poland. Popular WordPress attacks include

  • SQL Injections
  • Clickjacking
  • Cloaking
  • Blackhole Exploit Kit attacks
  • Password and Login brake efforts

The truth, however, is that there is really no way to prevent an intrusion of a script master if he targets your site. Still, there are ways to protect your site from possible attacks. If your site is well protected, a hacker would prefer to pick another easier victim.

8 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Site

1.     Forget about using “admin” as your username.

Many attackers focus on the default WordPress username using brute force. Bruteforce is a password cracking robot that has the ability to guess the password to a username. Bruteforce can guess over a thousand passwords in few seconds. If you are unlucky, your password may be among the guesses and the attacker will access your account.

To avoid this, you should change your username from the default “admin” or “administrator” from your WordPress control panel.

Steps:

  • Go to MySQL tool (phpmyadmin)
  • Find your database
  • Go to wp_users and browse for “admin”
  • Under the user_login column, change it to something else.

2.     Choose a strong password

After you have changed your username, the next thing is to change your password. Usually, the best practice is to use a combination of Upper and Lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

Steps

  • Go to Users
  • Profile
  • Password

Furthermore, make sure you change the password to your cpanel as well because a hacker can seize your site through the cpanel. More so, make sure both passwords are unique and that you don’t use them on any other platform.

To save you the headache of having to think of new passwords to use, you can auto-generate a password using the options available on your dashboard. Auto-generated passwords are strong and unique.

3.     Use a Custom login URL

Now that you have a new Username and Password, the next is to have a custom login URL. This will guarantee you a maximum protection against brute force. Typically, a brute force attack needs your login URL and username.

There are many WordPress plug-ins that allow you to customize your login URL. The default WordPress login URL is “yoursite.com/wp-admin/”. You can change this to “yoursite.com/logmein”. This will make it hard for an attacker to locate your login URL even if he has your Username and Password.

4.     Use emails for logging in instead of usernames

Instead of adopting the native and common practice of using a username to login to your WordPress, you can make use of an email instead. Remember to input your full name at the User settings on your dashboard so that the Full name will be the one to be displayed on public posts.

5.     Use CAPTCHA for registration and login

CAPTCHA provides an extra layer of security for your data. It protects you against robots and brute force attacks. CAPTCHA is an acronym for Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA). It is a challenge test that forces the web browser to prove that he or she is not a bot. It is a bot trap that helps to prevent automated bots or scripts from accessing your website.

There are various types of CAPTCHA. We have the Image and text type of CAPTCHA. The Image form of CAPTCHA is to test if the user trying to access your website can see an image correctly or not. The number type of CAPTCHA is used to test common logical reasoning, such as rewriting what is displayed, perform simple arithmetic or identify the words printed.

If you have an unprotected registration form, hackers can simply access your page and create thousands of accounts in few seconds using automated bot system. These accounts are meant to do three things; alter your database, steal your information or spam your website.

Again, there are some useful CAPTCHA plugins available for you. Go to your WordPress dashboard, click on the plugin, add new, and search for the keyword “CAPTCHA”. Choose the one with good reviews and configure it.

6.     Enable the 2-factor authentication

Make your login page ask for additional information, such as date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and so on. This will add another layer of security. It even protects you from physical attacks or possible password leaks through phishing or keylogger. Again, check the WordPress plugin directory for a suitable 2-factor authentication plugin that suits you.

7.     Utilize SSL certificate

An SSL Certificate is highly recommended if you perform financial transactions on your WordPress website. Likewise, if you store personal or sensitive information on your site, you should consider adding an SSL certificate. The SSL Certificate is just a Proof of Identification which groups the domain name with the server name or hostname. SSL certificate usually put the mind of your customers/readers at rest that they site is verified by a trusted hostname/authority. Advent Digital offers an easy and one-time SSL certificate setup for WordPress websites. Check it out now!

8.     Always Update your WordPress

There is no gain in staying in the past when the world has already advanced to the next level. WordPress developers typically identify some major flaws and shortcomings before you and make moves to fix them. Therefore, each new version of WordPress comes with its own improved security measures.

Updating your WordPress version is easy, free, and without any downtime. Upgrade and updates are not only limited to your WordPress platform. It also comprises of your plugins and themes. The developers of each plugin work every day to ensure that their products are healthy and safe from any form of attack.

Most attacks are due to the use of outdated WordPress features. You should not be caught offside simply because you didn’t update your features as soon as new versions are released. Luckily, WordPress offers an easy and effective way to update these features. You can turn on auto-upgrade during installation or install a plugin that sends a notification to your email once a new version of any of your plugin or theme is released.

Conclusion

WordPress is an easy and convenient way to blog about your hobby or sell your business to the world. Because it is an open-source platform, cyber hackers usually use this advantage to compromise many websites and take control of vital data. Highlighted above are 8 concrete ways of protecting your website from various cyber attacks.

Ask Yoast: Nofollow tags for Amazon affiliate links

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Ask Yoast: Nofollow tags for Amazon affiliate links

Ask Yoast: Nofollow tags for Amazon affiliate links

When you add a nofollow tag to a link on your site, you’re basically telling search engines that they shouldn’t count your backlink when ranking that page. Doing this helps you avoid leaking link value to pages that may not be trustworthy, or, in case of affiliate marketing, to your advertiser’s website.

But what if you include several affiliate links in every blog post you publish? While you probably link to relevant products, all these links should still have a nofollow tag. This can easily become a large amount of nofollowed links. Does this have any consequences for the link value of your pages?

Nikola was worried about this and emailed us his question:

I have a nofollow tag on my Amazon affiliate links because in Google’s Webmaster guidelines it’s said that ad links should have this tag. But I’m worried that this will cause a drop in link value of my pages as I add these links to almost all of my posts. What should I do? Do Amazon affiliate links hurt blog SEO?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Adding a nofollow tag to Amazon affiliate links

“No, they don’t hurt blog SEO. Nofollow doesn’t hurt anything. If it’s an ad it deserves a nofollow and you’re doing it perfectly right and you shouldn’t change anything. Good luck.”

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Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO conundrum you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to [email protected], and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: How to cloak your affiliate links »

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Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

“Intelligent machines are very quickly going to start taking over human functions, and this process is already in place with customer service… In the future, I see service people working hand-in-hand with machines.” – Nancy A. Shenker, Founder and CEO, theONswitch

The future is coming and it might be coming even faster than you thought. 5% of companies worldwide are using chatbots regularly in 2016. While 80% of businesses in the US want chatbots by 2020.

The number will only rise with the availability of technology gets wider while the price gets lower.

In the customer service sector where a lot of human resources are needed to answer mostly repetitive questions, AI chatbot is especially valuable.

So what exactly is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a program that is personified to conversationally assist in performing certain tasks usually in the environment of a messaging application.

To put it simply, Siri is a chatbot, Google Assistant is a chatbot, and when you tell Lyft to pick you up at home on Facebook Messenger, yes you’re talking to a chatbot.

Siri, the artificial intelligence personal assistant, can also be viewed as a chatbot.

With emerging online shopping platforms, websites and applications alike. The whole shopping experience is having a major makeover. Customers don’t visit the brick and mortar to browse through items nor they seek out salesperson for inquiries as much as they did anymore.

With a tap, a click, a zoom and reading through reviews left by other customers, they decide whether to make a transaction or not. All virtually.

What do customers want from customer service?

Now that everything in the industry is only getting better and faster, they are expecting only the best.

The best shopping experience, the best after-sales service, and the best customer service.

The most help and information. In the least time and hassle. Through the most friendly yet professional manner.

Customer service should not be just a department anymore, it should be the core and focus of a business. Communicating with the customers and knowing what they want help build the whole shopping experience.

In this era where shopping options are plenty and competition is high, the quality of customer service could very well be the push you need to win the race.

“Provide help to users before they know they need it, be predictive” Jay Baer – Marketing and customer service author and speaker; Owner, Convince & Convert

Collecting data and catering to customers’ needs will be an important step for every business owners for now and moreover for the future.

So where do Artificial Intelligence and chatbot come in?

A chatbot is the sales assistant, the customer service personnel in the new age of shopping.

As mentioned before, a chatbot is a personification. When a customer is engaged in a conversation with a chatbot, they should feel like they’re talking to someone instead of something.

Chatbot armored with AI has the power to learn. Through numerous conversation with customers, they are collecting data, and through this immense absorption, they can grow and adapt.

Although NLP (Natural-language processing) for chatbots still has a long way to go, Siri can help me shoot a quick text to Mom telling her I’m coming home with takeaway dinner. For me, that’s good enough for now.

I don’t expect Siri to be as good as J.A.R.V.I.S, I’m no Ironman. But the customers only expects the best. You better give them a J.A.R.V.I.S.

Ironman in his suit, optimized with J.A.R.V.I.S, the artificial intelligence personal assistant

When you have a large number of inquiries coming in every day. You have a lot of data to look at. Through data, you can detect a pattern. Most of the time a large percentage of customers might be making the same kind of inquiry.

“ How long will it take for my item to be delivered?”
“ What color options this item has?”
“ How can I be upgraded to premium?”

A human customer service personnel may feel numb and bored by these repetitive questions, but a chatbot won’t. They’re not living, after all, they can’t feel bored or annoyed.

Chatbots can be used to handle the long list of repetitive and easily foreseen question that can be answered with a straightforward answer.

If you noticed the same kind of questions being asked dozens of time a day? Let it be handled by a chatbot might be a better idea before your customer service personnel can’t handle it anymore.

Where are AI and chatbot now? Where will they be in the future? What about human personnels?

AI is already widely optimized and utilized in current chatbox services.

Most of the customer service chat box you can find in retail sites are actually handled by a human personnel but at the same time powered by AI.

Typeform uses a chatbot-esque flow to make your survey more engaging.

A list of suggested answers is at hand. AI also foresee what question the customer has and gives timely suggestion answers so both the personnel and customer can go through the process as hassle-free as possible.

Powered by data, technology, and clever programming, chatbots can completely take over the above situation.

Initial contact with customers could be handled by chatbots. Instead of the personnel choosing from a list of suggested answers, the chatbot itself decides which answer should be given by analyzing the incoming inquiries.

Optimizing chatbots, general inquiries can be completed within minutes. A win-win situation where the customers are happy and tickets cleared.

That gives human personnel more time and energy to solve complex or technical questions that require more than a one-liner answer.

Greatly reducing the workload of human personnel as only after filtration that an inquiry that requires their expertise would reach them.

Chatbot VS Human

In an ideal future, chatbots are perfectly capable of handling conversations and complains. They understand the human language completely and can react as needed.

However, in the realistic future, it will need a long long time before any machine can pass the Turing Test. Moreover, handle each and every kind of customer need on its own.

Chatbots can’t completely take over human personnel because, at the end of the day, they are not human.

Now that chatbot can’t be as intelligent as a human, what are they good for? Well, they should be intelligent enough to tell when they need a human to step in.

In place, is the ability of chatbot to tell when a situation requires more than what they can offer and promptly connect the customer to a human personnel.

Chatbots are not sentient nor will they point a gun on you, I think…

The line between when a human person needs to step in or should the chatbot take full control to handle customer service should be tread lightly and cautiously.

If not, you’ll be left with a lot of frustrated users, flooded email inbox, and idle chatbots.

Let’s think about what a human can do that a chatbot can’t do. First of all, a human can process a much more complex language input and output, which is critical in a conversation. A human can act without following a set of instructions. Most importantly, a human can feel emotions.

So the time when a chatbot sends a customer to a human customer service personnel should be:

when the inquiry is too complex to be understood,
when the inquiry is out of what they know, and
when the customer is here to complain, or on a brighter side, to send a compliment.

Like how AI implemented into chat box software are making things easier for both the customer and personnel. The realistic visualization of how a chatbot should function in the future should be the same, make things easier for everyone.

In the future…

Chatbots won’t completely take over the customer service jobs. Robots will not eat all the jobs. Ideally.

As mentioned before, customer service is evolving into the core of a business. It’s only getting bigger and everyone will need all the help they can get.

That help will be chatbot.

Though chatbots now are buggy and their self-learning function is terrorized by fun-loving-crowds at the moment.

As all things science, human will push the boundary of knowledge and one day NPL technology may be good enough to help create bots that can converse fluently.

In the future of customer service, customers won’t be able to differentiate whether they’re talking to a human or a bot who passed the Turing test. In the future, bots will be the first line of contact in customer service line.

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5 Analyses You can do Without an SEO Platform

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Analyses You can do Without an SEO Platform

5 Analyses You can do Without an SEO Platform

Having a major SEO monitoring platform like Brightedge or Conductor is great. They come with integrated rank tracking. Plus, they have interesting interpretations of that data. A strict rank tracker won’t provide that.

These insights come at a cost. Lots of costs, actually:

Money – the monitoring platforms are expensive.

Time – a good configuration job takes time. It implies long-term commitment.

Inertia – it’s harder to get data out than in. We analyze within the tool. This means long-term commitment.

What if we could get the best of these analyses and avoid these burdens? Say we’re working with a small site. Or we’re working with a small section of a site. Or we’re trying choices on for size. Or that we can’t afford to shell out!

We want the power, without the pitfalls. With a bit of elbow-grease, we can get there. Let’s walk through a spreadsheet I use every day. It does some things you’d expect from the big platforms, without the cost.

GET THE SHEET
Five common monitoring questions we can answer without expensive tools

Here are five questions monitoring platforms answer. They’re simple enough. And often they go unasked if we don’t have a platform handy:

Do we rank for what we’re targeting?
We’ve chosen some terms. Do we show up?

Does the right content rank?
The ranking page for a term is sometimes wrong. If it is, we could have technical or information architecture problems.

How have our rankings changed?
In the last week? The last month?

How would traffic increase with a higher ranking?
Let’s set a ranking goal. Sometimes we hope for a #1 ranking. Other times we know #4 is the highest we can hope for. If we get there, what reward will we have?

Which ranking changes matter?
For big terms, small changes make a difference. A top ranking for a minor term often doesn’t. Which changes in ranking should we focus on?

Let’s see how to answer these questions.

What do we need?

Before we start answering, we do need data to dig into. Here’s what we need:

From rank tracker

From us

Rank today

Keyword

Rank 7 days ago

Landing page mapped to each keyword

Rank 30 days ago

Target ranking for each keyword

Estimated search volume

Anticipated CTR at each rank

I’ve set up the spreadsheet to use exports from rank tracker Stat. With some work, we could use other sources — Moz or AuthorityLabs, for instance. The things in the “from us” column might not make sense yet. read on, we’ll clarify.

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//

Getting the data into the sheet
Ranking data

We’ve exported this data from Stat. It’s pasted in the “Paste data here” tab. With some tweaking, you can use data from any source.

The sheet basis a lot of its analysis on the data pasted here. For instance, it treats the most recent date in this table as “today”. Any data from “7 days ago” or “30 days ago” is, therefore, relative to that date. That also means there’s no value in putting more than 30 days of data in here!

Our data
Keywords

The spreadsheet will only calculate information for terms manually added to this list. This is helpful if your export includes many terms. Google Sheets lacks the horsepower of Excel! Of course, the terms must also be in the export from the ranking tool.

Landing pages mapped to each keyword

Put your intended landing page here. This is basically the data field your rank tracker doesn’t have. It’s the difference between the monitoring platforms and the rank trackers. It’s a fine line to draw.

Target ranking

This allows a little extra analysis, as we’ll see. With your SEO hat on, where do you think your site ought to rank?

Anticipated CTR at each rank

Any CTR table is fine. This one is generated by a mathematical formula that has approximately correct characteristics. Some of the monitoring platforms allow you to select different models. In practice, that doesn’t matter. What’s important is the shape of the curve. Adding any more detail assumes more detail than we have a right to.

Answering our questions

Let’s look at the calculations necessary to answer our questions. The sheet puts all the calculations in one place. This is convenient because:

We need similar data to answer each question.

We often ask these questions at the same time.

Updating one sheet is simple. Even if updating it requires a copy and paste.

Each calculation is straightforward. None take more than a VLOOKUP. Follow along in the sheet while reading — it’ll keep things concrete. And if you still feel confused, take a look at our Excel for SEOs guide. It’s plenty applicable for Sheets, too.

Do we rank for what we’re targeting?

This is the basic question. If this was all we needed, we could’ve stuck with the rank tracker! However, this is the basis for answering the rest of our questions. Fortunately, it’s easy to do.

Find the keyword in the rank tracker output.

If it’s there, give us the ranking from the most recent date.

Does the right content rank?

This is one of the simplest features that integrated platforms provide. In addition to specifying terms, they allow you to associate a desired landing page with a term.

We need to look at:

The keyword

The page we say we want to rank for this keyword

The page that is actually ranking for this keyword

The “page we want to rank”, like the keyword, is hard-coded into the sheet. This is the definitive place that information is stored. That’s usually fine because the point of this is to be able to do a lightweight analysis. That said, there’s no reason the data couldn’t be stored somewhere else and pulled in for this.

In this case, I’m using conditional formatting to shade the Ranking URL column red if an undesirable page is ranking.

Find the keyword in rank tracker output.

Find the page that’s ranking for the keyword.

Is the ranking page the same as the page we said we want to rank?

How have our rankings changed?

This builds on the previous step. If we know how we rank today, and 7 days ago, we can compare our rankings on each of these days. Again, this is the sort of thing you might be able to get within your ranking platform. Not always — a surprising number of them don’t make this data easily accessible in the default dashboard.

Find the keyword in the rank tracker output.

Find the most recent ranking.

Find the ranking from 7 days ago.

Subtract the current ranking from the ranking 7 days ago.

How much would better rankings increase traffic?

We can often get a pretty good idea where a client could reasonably rank. For instance, say we were recommending long-tail pages for them to create. We can eyeball various SERPs, looking at things like the DA and PA of sites that are already there, and guess at where the new pages will land.

In the last step, we estimated potential traffic based on current ranking. We could just as easily estimate potential traffic for this hypothetical ranking.

By taking the difference of potential traffic and estimated current traffic, we get an idea of what the client stands to gain.

This is one of the most straightforward techniques for justifying investment in SEO to clients.

Find the keyword in the rank tracker output.

If it’s there, give us the ranking from the most recent date.

Look up the estimated CTR for that ranking.

Look up the estimated search volume for the term.

Multiply estimated search volume by estimated CTR.

Repeat steps 3-5, assuming that the ranking is our “ideal ranking”.

Subtract estimated traffic from “ideal traffic”.

Which changes in ranking have impacted us the most?

This is an analysis I love. It uses basically the same calculation as the previous section. The difference is it deals with two real numbers instead of hypothetical ones.

We try to keep our clients from looking at rankings too often. Sometimes they insist, and sometimes it really is appropriate to be working with them on a weekly basis.

Rankings move around a lot, even day to day. That means there is a lot of noise. If we’re going to productively have a conversation about ranking changes on a weekly basis, we need to focus on two or three changes that were the most impactful.

They way I do this is by calculating the amount of traffic that we could have received in our position 30 days ago. I also calculate estimated traffic for today. Then I take the difference between these sums.

It’s a simple enough calculation. That said, it really brings to the fore changes that have had a big impact. I find the two or three terms that stand out and focus the conversation on those.

Using the steps from the last answer, get the estimated search volume for the term today.

Using the steps from the last answer, get the estimated search volume for the term as it ranked 30 days ago.

Subtract the “30 days ago traffic” from the “today traffic”.

Next steps

Have a play with the sheet. Honestly, that’ll be much more informative than reading my wordy descriptions. If nothing else, understand that this is what you’re paying for when you buy into a monitoring platform. If it sounds hard, there are folks out there that provide this service!

We’re always interested to see solution to other micro-problems. I’d love to see any that you all have to share!

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SEO and Content Marketing: Your Key to Success

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO and Content Marketing: Your Key to Success

SEO and Content Marketing: Your Key to Success

We all love PB&J, at least I do, and what I also love is combining the power of both SEO and content marketing for the best tasting digital marketing sandwich ever.

Let’s look at it this way, SEO is the peanut butter to your content marketing jelly.

Carefully applied first layer of SEO peanut butter helps prevent your jelly spread from seeping into the bread. Saving you from a soggy sandwich disaster. At the same time, they taste pretty damn fantastic together. I call it a WIN-WIN situation.

Like peanut butter and jelly, SEO and content marketing are both unique in their own ways.

Content marketing is the soft flow of creativity sparks.

Like sweet sticky jelly, it attracts potential customers with colorful and varying contents ranging from photos to blog posts.

It helps to catch attention and interest from the public. Sparking public curiosity about the brand and its product. Striking the strongest when the itch of a sweet tooth is the strongest by giving them a timely feed of sweet content.

SEO, on the other hand, is technical. It is best when utilizing the whole network of websites instead of on a single content page. It requires a chunky load of data research and tracking.

Users looking at your website might not even know that it exists. But they do.

They exist in the lightning-fast loading speed, perfectly responsive design even on different mobile devices, easy-on-the-eye font size, appropriately highlighted titles and more.

First of all, SEO and content marketing work well each on their own. They are both fantastic digital marketing strategies that attract customers and converts.

But, pairing them up together makes it work even better. There are so many aspects overlapping that you might as well do them both together and get double the result instead of just one.

SEO makes your content easier to navigate.

First and foremost, if you ask me what makes or breaks a website for me. I would say how comfortable the browsing experience is.

Does it load fast enough? Are the paragraphs too chunky to read? Does the video loads smoothly and ends promptly? Are there annoying pop-ups covering content that I actually want to read? I can go on for a few more lines but you get the gist.

SEO as per Google’s guideline actually helps to make the whole browsing experience much smoother and more comfortable for users.

A well-optimized website and content are easy to navigate to both crawlers and readers.

It gives you a clear view of what it offers and what it is about. From the title, URL, description, down to image ALT.

Easy navigation to what the website has to offer from one drop-down menu.

No matter how good your content is, it won’t matter to the potential customers if they can’t even access it comfortably.

What’s worse, a good piece of content may risk never reaching the audience it deserves. Because your website is littered with bad code that gives out the wrong signal to Google. Thus users are never directed to your content.

Pumping out good content is important, but your hard work will have a harder time to pay off if your website is not optimized.

SEO wants good boosts good content.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, to put it simply, it helps you get to that number 1 spot on a search page.

What do people search for? Best Italian restaurant in Denver. The difference between affect and effect. How to unclog a kitchen sink. The list goes on.

I tried searching “How to unclog a kitchen sink” on Google. Right after two results from wikihow, ranked third is an article from “ahs”. Which is a company website that sells home warranty plans.

The search result for “how to unclog a kitchen sink”, on no. 3 is an article from a home warranty company.

Selling home warranty plans to those looking to unclog a kitchen sink. Smart move right?

Imagine the website has only three pages, one about us, second contact us, third plans and pricing. What will the users need to type into the search bar to reach their homepage if they don’t already know of its existence before?

Optimizing their website might boost them to the first position when users are looking for home warranty plans. But other than that there’s not much more help to offer.

By building a blog, the website is updating constantly with blog posts that cater to their potential customers’ interest. Be it unclogging a sink, how to properly clean a clothes dryer or landscaping ideas, there’s so much more that can be optimized and help put the website out there.

The same website ranking number 1 on the query “home warranty” thanks to their page titled “What is a Home Warranty”. Clever SEO paired up with good content boosts their visibility to the top to potential customers.

With some SEO keyword researching power, you get more ideas on what kind of content to push in order to reach out to your targeted audience.

With these constant update of relevant content, all of them armored with good optimization. The website as a whole has a much wider spectrum to be discovered by potential customers.

SEO needs backlinks, good content marketing helps create backlinks.

One of the factors that are considered to rank a page is backlink. Building backlink is one major element of SEO. Any incoming links from other web pages are considered backlinks.

Now, let’s sit down and think for me. When would I want to link an article?

When it’s relevant to what I want to talk about.
When it has good quality content that I want to share with my readers.
When it’s reliable data.
When it inspired my own writing.

That’s what your website and your content should aim to be.

Relevant, quality, reliable, inspiring posts will get a constant steady flow of backlinks.

Take HubSpot’s blog as an example. They sell marketing and sales software. They also run a blog, a quality blog where people constantly look up to to learn new stuff about marketing, sales and customer service.

This is their page autority and amount of backlinks that they have received.

To put it down.

The more quality posts you put out, the more backlinks you will get. The more quality backlinks you got, the higher chance you will have to be ranked on that sweet first page of SERP. The higher you are ranked, the more visitors you will get. The more visitors you get, the more chance you get to lead-gen.

Now you see the core of why content marketing and SEO go hand in hand.

SEO thrives on fresh content, content marketing creates a constant flow of content.

For SEO consistency is key, fresh content is king.

Google favors up-to-date contents, you very rarely get a result from a Google query that is from 5 years ago.

Imagine searching for SEO tactics and the first result page tells you to stuff in as many keywords as you can in a single article. That is so 10 years ago.

What is preferred now instead of keyword stuffing, is having your targeted keyword consistently placed across the website. With every new piece of relevant content being published, crawlers will index it.

When a website has a lot of pages sharing similar keywords, Google will assume that the website has a certain authority on the topic. Thus slowly increasing its rank.

Up-to-date contents are not only favored by Google, it is favored by users too.

Like the example I mentioned above, you wouldn’t want to be given out a dated technique to apply on your website only to be penalized by Google.

Not only that, via regular updates it builds a sense of anticipation for the readers. They got curious about the next piece of content that will be published. They start looking forward to updates.

You build yourself a group of loyal readers. That, in turn, give you consistent visits. With a higher level of trust and loyalty, they are more likely to turn into customers.

I, myself am a loyal fan of the HubSpot blog. I check on the site once a week to pick up some new articles to read. And to be honest, if I ever run a commerce site I might just pick up their service.

So by giving out constant relevant fresh contents, it not only pleases the potential customers, it also gives you an edge to be ranked higher.

So my two cents are…

Both SEO and content marketing works great on its own, but why have a jelly sandwich or peanut butter sandwich when you can have a PB&J?

The internet is crowded, if you want to stand out from the crowd, utilizing one technique is not going to be sufficient. By combining both SEO and content marketing you’re boosting the best sides of each technique and making them even better.

Without good content, SEO techniques can only carry you that far. Like an amplifier, SEO helps your content shine. Both of them together bring you one step nearer to the shiny throne of success.

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Google Expanding Carousel Layout for “Best” Keywords

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Expanding Carousel Layout for “Best” Keywords

Google Expanding Carousel Layout for “Best” Keywords

Over the past year we’ve seen Google expanding their carousel layout and experimenting with new UI for SERPs (see Dr Pete’s helpful mega-guide to the SERP layout), last week we saw some new layouts around filtering and today we’re noticing an expanded rollout across some commercial keywords that will dramatically impact user behaviour.

What is the Google carousel layout?

The carousel layout has been around for a little while and looks something like this:

Typically this layout has been reserved for relatively non-commercial queries like movies, books, landmarks and so on.

Expanding the carousel layout to commercial queries

This morning we saw a dramatic increase in the coverage for carousel queries, and of note we see this expanding across very commercial queries like “best project management software”:

These queries are not cheap to advertise on and typically have multiple adwords slots against them. These are commercial queries that are competitive and monetized.

While it’s obviously early days, it looks like Google might be putting the cart ahead of the horse for some of these queries. Take “best accounting software”:

Noticeably absent from the carousel is Xero, Netsuite, or Zoho. #1, #2 and #3 in the adwords slots. Of course whether they’re the best or not I’m not going to comment on but not even appearing in the carousel seems like a slap in the face.

Implications

Distilled NYC VP Noah Lemas wrote around a year ago about Google’s increasingly aggressive attitude towards third party aggregators. This is yet another step in that direction, and more and more sites need to be wary of Google as a competitor, as well as a channel. The bottom line here is that if you are a business who could be replaced by Google – particularly an affiliate or comparison site – you need to start thinking fast about how you can add unique value.

That said, this could also be a defensive play by Google – Amazon are now bidding on product listing in paid per click, and this may be Google’s way of avoiding losing market share to them.

What’s next?

Anyone think we might see this expand to keywords like “best credit card” soon? These are some of the most expensive keywords on Google and tough to rank for. A carousel result here would materially impact the bottom line for companies like Nerdwallet….

The growing percent of queries featuring carousels (thanks @cyrusshepard for pointing me to this graph).

Discussion

What are you all seeing? Drop any insights into the comments! We’ll update this post with more as we have it….