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We Surveyed 1,400 Searchers About Google – Here’s What We Learned

Posted by on Apr 22, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on We Surveyed 1,400 Searchers About Google – Here’s What We Learned

We Surveyed 1,400 Searchers About Google – Here’s What We Learned

Posted by LilyRayNYC

Google’s search results have seen a whirlwind of major changes in the past two years. Nearly every type of modern-day search queries produce a combination of rich results beyond the standard blue links — Featured Snippets, People Also Ask boxes, Knowledge Panels, maps, images, or other enhancements. It is now even possible to browse flights, hotels, jobs, events, and other searches that were previously only available via external websites, directly on Google.

As search marketers, we are keenly aware that both Google’s evolving landscape and the rise in new, rich results impact our bottom-line — more SERP enhancements and growth in “position 0” means less organic traffic for everyone else. Last year, Rand Fishkin posted a remarkable Whiteboard Friday pointing out the unsettling trend that has emerged from the updates to Google’s interface: there are fewer organic links to external websites as traffic flows to Google-owned assets within the SERP.

We often hear about how the digital marketing community feels about changes to Google’s interface, but it is less common to hear the opinions of the average searcher who is less technically-savvy. At Path Interactive, we conducted a survey of 1,400 respondents to better understand how they search, how they feel about Google’s search results, and the quality of information the search engine provides.

A note about our respondents

72 percent of respondents were based in the U.S., 8 percent in India, and 10 percent in Europe or the U.K. 67.8 percent considered themselves somewhat technically-savvy or not technically-savvy at all. 71.3 percent were under the age of 40.

Click to see a higher-resolution image
Click to see a higher-resolution image

How Often Do Searchers Use Google to Find Things?

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the vast majority of respondents — 77 percent — use Google 3+ times a day to search for things online. The frequency of Google usage is also inversely correlated with age; 80 percent of 13–21-year-olds use Google more than three times per day, while only 60 percent of respondents over 60 searches with the same frequency.

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How often do searchers click ads vs. organic results?

As many previous studies have shown, the vast majority of searchers prefer clicking on organic results to clicking on advertisements. 72 percent of respondents stated that they either click only on organic results, or on organic results the majority of the time. Age also plays a role in one’s decision to click on a paid or organic result: Searchers ages 60+ are 200 percent more likely than 18–21-year-olds not to discriminate between a paid and organic listing. Instead, they click on whichever result-type best answers their question.

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Interactions with organic results

The vast majority of respondents remain on the first page of Google to find an answer to their query. 75 percent of respondents either click on the first one or two results, scan page one looking for the most relevant answer to their query, or visit multiple results from page one. 17 percent of respondents stated part of their search behavior includes looking for content from websites or brands that they trust. Only 7 percent of respondents indicated that they browse past the first results page to see as many results as possible.

According to these results, younger users are more likely to click on the first 1–2 results on page one, while older users are more likely to explore additional results, browsing farther down on the first page — or even onto the second and third pages — to find the information they’re looking for.

This trend raises some interesting questions about user behavior: are older searchers more skeptical, and therefore likely to look for a larger variety of answers to their questions? Are younger users more concerned with getting answers quickly, and more likely to settle for the first result they see? Is this tied to the rise in featured snippets? Will this search behavior become the “new normal” as teens grow older, or do younger searchers change their habits over time? If it is the future, will this trend make it even more difficult for organic results that don’t rank in the top three positions to sustain traffic over time?

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How do users feel about featured snippets and the Knowledge Panel?

When it comes to how users feel about featured snippets, the majority of searchers say that their behavior depends on what is displayed in the snippet. Marketers who are concerned that snippets steal traffic away from organic results might be pleased to learn that a relatively low number of respondents — only 22.1 percent — indicate that they generally read the snippet and consider their question answered without clicking the blue link.

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However, this data suggests another potentially alarming trend as it relates to featured snippet interactions and age: the youngest searchers (13–18) are 220 percent more likely than the oldest searchers (70–100) to consider their question answered without clicking on the snippet (or any) result. Conversely, the older respondents (60–100) are 170 percent more likely to continue searching, depending on the answer in the snippet. This again points to younger searchers seeming to prioritize getting a response quickly, while older users are more likely to spend time evaluating a variety of results.

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When it comes to the trustworthiness of featured snippets, most users are on the fence: 44.5 percent of users consider the information “semi-trustworthy,” and continue searching for answers to their questions. However, age once again plays a role in the results. Young searchers (13–30) are 40 percent more likely than older searchers (50+) to trust the information contained in featured snippets. Additionally, the youngest category of searchers (13–18) is 53 percent more likely than average to trust featured snippets.

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The same outcome is true for Knowledge Panel results — the majority of users (55.3 percent) scan this information but continue searching through the other results. However, 36.8 percent of searchers consider the information contained in the Knowledge Panel sufficient to answer their questions, and this represents a decent amount of search traffic that previously flowed to paid and organic results before the existence of the Knowledge Panel.

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As with previous questions, younger users are significantly more likely to consider read the information in the Knowledge Panel and consider their search complete. Young respondents (13–21) are 102 percent more likely to consider the Knowledge Panel a complete answer to their question than older respondents (50+), who generally continue their search after seeing the Knowledge Panel.

Weather forecasts, things to do, jobs, flights, and other Google SERP features

Google has rolled out many new result types that allow searchers to get the answer to their question directly within the search results. This alarms many search marketers, who worry that these results cannibalize traffic that previously flowed to organic results and have caused an increase in “no click searches.” So, how does the average searcher feel about these enhancements to the SERP?

We asked searchers about two types of results: results that directly answer search queries using a proprietary Google widget (such as weather forecasts or “Things to Do”), as well as results that allow for interaction on Google, but include an organic link back to a corresponding website (such as recipes and flight results).

Click to see a higher-resolution image
Click to see a higher-resolution image

According to the data, the majority of respondents use these features but continue browsing the other search results. It is interesting to note that one-third of respondents usually ignore result types such as job listings, events, and flights, and instead skip over to the regular blue links. Older searchers (50+) are 63 percent more likely to ignore these results types and continue their search than younger searchers (13–30).

Incorrect information in SERP features

Our next question was whether searchers have found incorrect information in any of the aforementioned result types. Given Google’s increased focus on content quality and E-A-T, we thought it would be interesting to see the general sentiment around the accuracy of these search features.

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A combined 58.2 percent of searchers state they have either occasionally or frequently seen incorrect information in rich results on Google. This fact is certainly on Google’s radar: just last month, Google published a whitepaper on how it combats disinformation, and the recent major updates to its algorithm reflect Google’s critical recent quest to promote accurate, trustworthy content in all of its results.

How do users feel about Google?

We wanted to know how users feel about Google in general, especially given all the recent changes to Google’s search results. 68 percent of respondents stated that they feel the quality of Google’s results have improved over time, and the majority of respondents don’t have specific complaints about Google.

Among those respondents who do have issues with Google, the most common complaints involve Google showing too many ads, prioritizing content from large corporations, making it harder for small businesses to compete; and showing too many Google-owned assets within the results.

Click to see a higher-resolution image
Click to see a higher-resolution image

We also opened up the survey to allow respondents to leave feedback about how they feel about Google and the quality of its results. The vast majority of responses related to user privacy, the unsettling feeling of sharing private information with the search engine, and disliking that search queries are used in retargeting campaigns. Several respondents were concerned about the political and philosophical implications of Google deciding what content should or should not be prominently featured in its results. Some complaints had to do with the limited options to apply filters and perform advanced searches in both standard results, as well as on Google Images.

Searchers are still skeptical of Google, but there’s some cause for concern among younger users

Should businesses and marketers be worried that Google’s increasingly rich results will slowly steal away our precious traffic for good, and increase the number of no-click results? The results from our Google Usage survey indicate that, at least for now, there’s no need to panic: Searchers are still prone to gravitating toward the regular blue links, both organic and paid. They are largely skeptical about taking all of the information included in rich results at face value.

However, there is data to support that younger searchers are more likely to implicitly trust the information provided in rich results, and less likely to visit deeper pages of the search results during their search journeys. This should be an interesting trend for marketers to pay attention to over time — one that raises many philosophical questions about the role that information from Google should play in our lives.

With its recent push for E-A-T compliance, it’s clear that Google is already grappling with the moral responsibility of providing information that can majorly impact the happiness, safety, and well-being of its users. But what happens when important information doesn’t meet the ranking criteria laid out by Google’s algorithm? What happens when society’s understanding of certain topics and ideas changes over time? Does Google’s algorithm create an echo chamber and limit the ability for users to share and discover diverse viewpoints? What happens when the information Google shares is blatantly wrong, or even worse, dangerous?

While it is important that Google maintains the highest quality standards for displaying credible and trustworthy information, freedom of speech and diversity of ideas must also remain of utmost importance, as future generations become increasingly trusting of the information they discover in the search results.

And now, you tell us: how do you feel about Google’s changing landscape?

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WordPress Security Myths

Posted by on Apr 22, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress Security Myths

Currently almost 33% of websites run WordPress, so it’s important to make sure it’s secure. However, there are a few myths around about its security etc., a handful of them shown below.

1. SAFETY IN NUMBERS

Some believe that, since their website is just one of many, it isn’t interesting enough to get hacked. But, there is no such thing as being not big enough for hackers to notice you.

In fact, if you website’s brand new, some hackers may believe your site to be susceptible to an attack.

2. WORDPRESS IS AN INSECURE CONTENT MANAGEMENT PLATFORM

Another major misconception is that WordPress has a weak protection system. In fact, plugins have advanced enough to protect a website against most attacks (most hacks are found to be due to user error [weak password, outdated security system, etc.] more than anything else).

3. SECURE USERNAME AND PASSWORD SUFFICE

This misconception has led to numerous breaches; this problem can be avoided using a plugin like “All-in-One WP Security” or “WordFence”.

4. SSL CERTIFICATE GUARANTEES SAFETY

SSL only protects the information passed from user to website and vice versa; it doesn’t do anything to protect the data stored on said site. As mentioned before, security plugins can considerably mitigate this problem.

The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Link Building – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by on Apr 22, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Link Building – Whiteboard Friday

The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Link Building – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

The final episode in our six-part One-Hour Guide to SEO series deals with a topic that’s a perennial favorite among SEOs: link building. Today, learn why links are important to both SEO and to Google, how Google likely measures the value of links, and a few key ways to begin earning your own.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. We are back with our final part in the One-Hour Guide to SEO, and this week talking about why links matter to search engines, how you can earn links, and things to consider when doing link building.

Why are links important to SEO?

So we’ve discussed sort of how search engines rank pages based on the value they provide to users. We’ve talked about how they consider keyword use and relevant topics and content on the page. But search engines also have this tool of being able to look at all of the links across the web and how they link to other pages, how they point between pages.



So it turns out that Google had this insight early on that what other people say about you is more important, at least to them, than what you say about yourself. So you may say, “I am the best resource on the web for learning about web marketing.” But it turns out Google is not going to believe you unless many other sources, that they also trust, say the same thing. Google’s big innovation, back in 1997 and 1998, when Sergey Brin and Larry Page came out with their search engine, Google, was PageRank, this idea that by looking at all the links that point to all the pages on the internet and then sort of doing this recursive process of seeing which are the most important and most linked to pages, they could give each page on the web a weight, an amount of PageRank.

Then those pages that had a lot of PageRank, because many people linked to them or many powerful people linked to them, would then pass more weight on when they linked. That understanding of the web is still in place today. It’s still a way that Google thinks about links. They’ve almost certainly moved on from the very simplistic PageRank formula that came out in the late ’90s, but that thinking underlies everything they’re doing.

How does Google measure the value of links?

Today, Google measures the value of links in many very sophisticated ways, which I’m not going to try and get into, and they’re not public about most of these anyway. But there is a lot of intelligence that we have about how they think about links, including things like more important, more authoritative, more well-linked-to pages are going to pass more weight when they link.

A.) More important, authoritative, well-linked-to pages pass more weight when they link

That’s true of both individual URLs, an individual page, and websites, a whole website. So for example, if a page on The New York Times links to yoursite.com, that is almost certainly going to be vastly more powerful and influential in moving your rankings or moving your ability to rank in the future than if randstinysite.info — which I haven’t yet registered, but I’ll get on that — links to yoursite.com.

This weighting, this understanding of there are powerful and important and authoritative websites, and then there are less powerful and important and authoritative websites, and it tends to be the case that more powerful ones tend to provide more ranking value is why so many SEOs and marketers use metrics like Moz’s domain authority or some of the metrics from Moz’s competitors out in the software space to try and intuit how powerful, how influential will this link be if this domain points to me.

B.) Diversity of domains, rate of link growth, and editorial nature of links ALL matter

So the different kinds of domains and the rate of link growth and the editorial nature of those links all matter. So, for example, if I get many new links from many new websites that have never linked to me before and they are editorially given, meaning I haven’t spammed to place them, I haven’t paid to place them, they were granted to me because of interesting things that I did or because those sites wanted to editorially endorse my work or my resources, and I do that over time in greater quantities and at a greater rate of acceleration than my competitors, I am likely to outrank them for the words and phrases related to those topics, assuming that all the other smart SEO things that we’ve talked about in this One-Hour Guide have also been done.

C.) HTML-readable links that don’t have rel=”nofollow” and contain relevant anchor text on indexable pages pass link benefit

HTML readable links, meaning as a simple text browser browses the web or a simple bot, like Googlebot, which can be much more complex as we talked about in the technical SEO thing, but not necessarily all the time, those HTML readable links that don’t have the rel=”nofollow” parameter, which is something that you can append to links to say I don’t editorially endorse this, and many, many websites do.

If you post a link to Twitter or to Facebook or to LinkedIn or to YouTube, they’re going to carry this rel=”nofollow,”saying I, YouTube, don’t editorially endorse this website that this random user has uploaded a video about. Okay. Well, it’s hard to get a link from YouTube. And it contains relevant anchor text on an indexable page, one that Google can actually browse and see, that is going to provide the maximum link benefit.

So a href=”https://yoursite.com” great tool for audience intelligence, that would be the ideal link for my new startup, for example, which is SparkToro, because we do audience intelligence and someone saying we’re a tool is perfect. This is a link that Google can read, and it provides this information about what we do.

It says great tool for audience intelligence. Awesome. That is powerful anchor text that will help us rank for those words and phrases. There are loads more. There are things like which pages linked to and which pages linked from. There are spam characteristics and trustworthiness of the sources. Alt attributes, when they’re used in image tags, serve as the anchor text for the link, if the image is a link.

There’s the relationship, the topical relationship of the linking page and linking site. There’s text surrounding the link, which I think some tools out there offer you information about. There’s location on the page. All of this stuff is used by Google and hundreds more factors to weight links. The important part for us, when we think about links, is generally speaking if you cover your bases here, it’s indexable, carries good anchor text, it’s from diverse domains, it’s at a good pace, it is editorially given in nature, and it’s from important, authoritative, and well linked to sites, you’re going to be golden 99% of the time.

Are links still important to Google?

Many folks I think ask wisely, “Are links still that important to Google? It seems like the search engine has grown in its understanding of the web and its capacities.” Well, there is some pretty solid evidence that links are still very powerful. I think the two most compelling to me are, one, the correlation of link metrics over time. 

So like Google, Moz itself produces an index of the web. It is billions and billions of pages. I think it’s actually trillions of pages, trillions of links across hundreds of billions of pages. Moz produces metrics like number of linking root domains to any given domain on the web or any given page on the web.

Moz has a metric called Domain Authority or DA, which sort of tries to best replicate or best correlate to Google’s own rankings. So metrics like these, over time, have been shockingly stable. If it were the case someday that Google demoted the value of links in their ranking systems, basically said links are not worth that much, you would expect to see a rapid drop.

But from 2007 to 2019, we’ve never really seen that. It’s fluctuated. Mostly it fluctuates based on the size of the link index. So for many years Ahrefs and Majestic were bigger link indices than Moz. They had better link data, and their metrics were better correlated.

Now Moz, since 2018, is much bigger and has higher correlation than they do. So the various tools are sort of warring with each other, trying to get better and better for their customers. You can see those correlations with Google pretty high, pretty standard, especially for a system that supposedly contains hundreds, if not thousands of elements.

When you see a correlation of 0.25 or 0.3 with one number, linking root domains or page authority or something like that, that’s pretty surprising. The second one is that many SEOs will observe this, and I think this is why so many SEO firms and companies pitch their clients this way, which is the number of new, high quality, editorially given linking root domains, linking domains, so The New York Times linked to me, and now The Washington Post linked to me and now wired.com linked to me, these high-quality, different domains, that correlates very nicely with ranking positions.

So if you are ranking number 12 for a keyword phrase and suddenly that page generates many new links from high-quality sources, you can expect to see rapid movement up toward page one, position one, two, or three, and this is very frequent.

How do I get links?

Obviously, this is not alone, but very common. So I think the next reasonable question to ask is, “Okay, Rand, you’ve convinced me. Links are important. How do I get some?” Glad you asked. There are an infinite number of ways to earn new links, and I will not be able to represent them here. But professional SEOs and professional web marketers often use tactics that fall under a few buckets, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list, but can give you some starting points.

1. Content & outreach

The first one is content and outreach. Essentially, the marketer finds a resource that they could produce, that is relevant to their business, what they provide for customers, data that they have, interesting insights that they have, and they produce that resource knowing that there are people and publications out there that are likely to want to link to it once it exists.

Then they let those people and publications know. This is essentially how press and PR work. This is how a lot of content building and link outreach work. You produce the content itself, the resource, whatever it is, the tool, the dataset, the report, and then you message the people and publications who are likely to want to cover it or link to it or talk about it. That process is tried-and-true. It has worked very well for many, many marketers. 

2. Link reclamation

Second is link reclamation. So this is essentially the process of saying, “Gosh, there are websites out there that used to link to me, that stopped linking.” The link broke. The link points to a 404, a page that no longer loads on my website.

The link was supposed to be a link, but they didn’t include the link. They said SparkToro, but they forgot to actually point to the SparkToro website. I should drop them a line. Maybe I’ll tweet at them, at the reporter who wrote about it and be like, “Hey, you forgot the link.” Those types of link reclamation processes can be very effective as well.

They’re often some of the easiest, lowest hanging fruit in the link building world. 

3. Directories, resource pages, groups, events, etc.

Directories, resource pages, groups, events, things that you can join and participate in, both online or online and offline, so long as they have a website, often link to your site. The process is simply joining or submitting or sponsoring or what have you.

Most of the time, for example, when I get invited to speak at an event, they will take my biography, a short, three-sentence blurb, that includes a link to my website and what I do, and they will put it on their site. So pitching to speak at events is a way to get included in these groups. I started Moz with my mom, Gillian Muessig, and Moz has forever been a woman-owned business, and so there are women-owned business directories.

I don’t think we actually did this, but we could easily go, “Hey, you should include Moz as a woman-owned business.We should be part of your directory here in Seattle.” Great, that’s a group we could absolutely join and get links from. 

4. Competitors’ links

So this is basically the practice you almost certainly will need to use tools to do this. There are some free ways to do it.

The simple, free way to do it is to say, “I have competitor 1 brand name and competitor 2 brand name.I’m going to search for the combination of those two in Google, and I’m going to look for places that have written about and linked to both of them and see if I can also replicate the tactics that got them coverage.” The slightly more sophisticated way is to go use a tool. Moz’s Link Explorer does this.

So do tools from people like Majestic and Ahrefs. I’m not sure if SEMrush does. But basically you can plug in, “Here’s me. Here’s my competitors. Tell me who links to them and does not link to me.” Moz’s tool calls this the Link Intersect function. But you don’t even need the link intersect function.

You just plug in a competitor’s domain and look at here are all the links that point to them, and then you start to replicate their tactics. There are hundreds more and many, many resources on Moz’s website and other great websites about SEO out there that talk about many of these tactics, and you can certainly invest in those. Or you could conceivably hire someone who knows what they’re doing to go do this for you. Links are still powerful. 

Okay. Thank you so much. I want to say a huge amount of appreciation to Moz and to Tyler, who’s behind the camera — he’s waving right now, you can’t see it, but he looks adorable waving — and to everyone who has helped make this possible, including Cyrus Shepard and Britney Muller and many others.

Hopefully, this one-hour segment on SEO can help you upgrade your skills dramatically. Hopefully, you’ll send it to some other folks who might need to upgrade their understanding and their skills around the practice. And I’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

In case you missed them:

Check out the other episodes in the series so far:

The One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 1: SEO StrategyThe One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 2: Keyword ResearchThe One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 3: Searcher SatisfactionThe One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 4: Keyword Targeting & On-Page OptimizationThe One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 5: Technical SEO

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Recover WordPress SEO after a Hack

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Recover WordPress SEO after a Hack

If you’ve already restored and secured your website and you’re now more concerned with making sure that the search engine optimization of your site hasn’t been affected, here are some other things to do after a hack.

DOWNLOAD LATEST WORDPRESS AGAIN

This’ll ensure that you’re running the latest version and that all of your files are clear of malicious code.

CHECK WEBSITE FOR MALWARE THROUGH THE THEME EDITOR

This’ll help you confirm that the malware has been removed.

SET UP REDIRECTS (IF NECESSARY OR APPROPRIATE)

If the hackers created temporary pages on your website, setup 301 redirects. This’ll improve user experience and retain the value of any compromised pages indexed by search engines before you fixed them.

CHECK METADATA

A common hacking trick is changing website metadata. Just check your meta titles and meta descriptions.

CHECK WEBMASTER TOOLS

Google’s Webmaster Tools will help you see any malicious content on your site. You can even request a re-crawl of your site after cleanup.

Why Your WordPress Site Doesn’t Rank High on Google

Posted by on Apr 15, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Why Your WordPress Site Doesn’t Rank High on Google

A website is critical to the success of your online business – it’s the first thing users will look for, so you have to make sure they can find you easily. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the only way to achieve this.

Ergo it is essential to understand the cause of low ranking, so let’s take a look!

GOOGLE HASN’T INDEXED YOUR WEBSITE

This happens to newly-launched WordPress sites since it takes a few weeks for this search engine giant to detect and list you.

Simply search ‘site:’ and add your domain name after it in the search box. If your website shows up as the first result, Google has indexed it, but if you can’t find it, then it may take a few days before you find it using that search query.

META TAGS ARE POORLY OPTIMIZED

Meta tags are website components that allow Google to analyze and rank your content. You have to make sure meta tags are crafted properly:

. Meta description: explains webpage content (up to 160 characters)
. Meta title: another way to keep Google informed about the content
. Image tags: visual elements are also crawled and analyzed, so make sure to mark images adequately.

WEBSITE’S NOT MOBILE-FRIENDLY

Your job is to build a responsive site that functions perfectly across multiple devices. This is best done by using a new, mobile-friendly theme, but it can also be done plugin-wise (WPTouch and JetPack being just two examples).

YOUR CONTENT IS BAD

Content is one thing that really has the power to make or break your online efforts. A typical first-page result on Google contains almost 2,000 words, so today’s users want to see, read, or hear in-depth analyses – it covers topics from all angles, giving visitors a thorough explanation of the topic in question.

YOU HAVE NO BACKLINKS

If no one shares or wants to share links that lead back to your website, it probably means you aren’t publishing quality content. Google takes it into account and labels your site as irrelevant, so you can’t rank much higher in user searches.

YOUR SITE LOADS SLOWLY

visitors typically expect a web page to load in less than three seconds. What you need to do make that possible is test your site’s load speed (such as Pingdom). These tests will show you everything you can do to make your site load faster.

YOU DON’T HAVE ANY SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY

Social buzz improves the visibility of pages, so if you don’t have business accounts on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, you should start using them right away.

YOU HAVE TOO MANY AFFILIATE LINKS

Websites that focus on affiliate marketing instead of quality content are going to get penalized by Google sooner or later.

TOUGH COMPETITION

Lastly, competition may be too tough for a certain keyword. If that’s the case, focus on a less competitive niche by targeting the right audience and finding keywords that won’t overlap with the ones used by industry leaders.

Reducing WordPress Site CPU Usage

Posted by on Apr 11, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Reducing WordPress Site CPU Usage

While it’s praised for its ease of use and user-friendliness, it can also be resource-hungry. Fortunately there are simple fixes to said issue.

AVOID FANCY DESIGNS AND ANY GIMMICKS YOU WON’T BE USING

Make sure first and foremost that your website is fast-loading and message-focused before elegence – otherwise, you’re going to have a site that doesn’t convert well. Having a slider, for example, is nice but you will have to resize the images considerably so it doesn’t slow nearly everything (literally) down.

CHECK YOUR WEBSITE PLUGINS CAREFULLY

Sometimes what’s most resource-demanding is hidden behind the scenes because of plugins. Disable them one by one and test your site’s performance; then verify CPU usage when they’re turned off. Doing this will show you which you need to remove or replace.

OPTIMIZE IMAGES

Just as mentioned regarding your slider/s, if you don’t optimize them, they will demand their share of resources, rendering WordPress to operate less than optimally. We recommend a plugin call “resmush.it” which is very fast at such a process, and optimizes images upon upload.

GET A CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK

By doing so, like using Cloudflare for instance, certain static files on your site (images, videos, etc.) are loaded from external servers, leaving more power for WordPress. Ergo, usage spikes are prevented.

CLEAN THE DATABASE REGULARLY

It’s not just the WP database that must be taken care of – many plugins grow in size over time by cluttering said database and require regular cleanups. There are plenty of plugins available for database cleanups and don’t require technical knowledge.

GET A CACHING PLUGIN

Instead of generating content every time a particular user visits your website, such a plugin will create static versions of your site’s webpages. Therefore, CPU usage is decreased even further.

How To Force Q&A On a GMB Page That Doesn’t Have It

Posted by on Apr 11, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How To Force Q&A On a GMB Page That Doesn’t Have It

How To Force Q&A On a GMB Page That Doesn’t Have It

Here’s a stupid little GMB Q&A thing I figured out yesterday I thought you all might enjoy.

I was asked by mi nuevo amigo, Ruben Coll Molina of PA Digital in Spain, what is the event that triggers the Q&A functionality in a GMB profile? Ruben had found that some of their SMB customers did not have the functionality. He sent me to this SERP for “nouvelle couquette”, a clothing store in Torrent, Spain. At the time, their GMB did not display the “Ask a Question” module like this:

Ok, I doctored it. Of course I forgot to take a “before” screenshot, but trust me, I’m an SEO consultant…

Anyhow, I searched for “women’s clothing stores in Torrent, Spain,” got a local pack then clicked on the “More Places” link and saw Nouvelle Couquette listed in the Google Maps Local Finder, but this time it had the Q&A widget, but no questions had been asked:

On a hunch, using my best 7th grade Spanish, I asked a question:

Ruben answered:

A few seconds later we witnessed El Milagro de Las Preguntas y Respuestas:

Quien es mas macho?

How to Fix HTTP Errors Uploading Images

Posted by on Apr 8, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Fix HTTP Errors Uploading Images

One of the most annoying things that can happen to your WordPress site is an HTTP error when trying to upload images – there are many ways to deal with this issue.

CHECK IF THE ERROR REALLY EXISTS

Basically, just wait for a few minutes and then check if the error comes up again, because the error may only be temporary.

TRY USING ANOTHER BROWSER

If the error still comes up, the second easiest option is just to switch between browsers. Google Chrome can often disable image uploading, so just try Firefox, Opera, etc.

DEACTIVATE PLUGINS

HTTP errors like this one could happen right after installing a plugin, particularly if it’s for image optimization. Try even disabling other plugins before trying to upload your picture once more.

INCREASE THE MEMORY LIMIT

Problems in WordPress can be easily caused by memory limits – this can be easily fixed by adding the following code to wp-config.php:

define (‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);

By using this solution you will be solving your image upload problem and then some along the way, especially if your theme uses a lot of resources.

SWITCH BETWEEN IMAGE EDITORS

WordPress uses two image editors interchangeably: Imagick and GD Library. Imagick has the tendency to drain memory and henceforth cause HTTP errors. Just add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file:

function wpb_image_editor_default_to_gd( $editors ) {
$gd_editor = ‘WP_Image_Editor_GD’;
$editors = array_diff( $editors, array( $gd_editor ) );
array_unshift( $editors, $gd_editor );
return $editors;
}
add_filter( ‘wp_image_editors’, ‘wpb_image_editor_default_to_gd’ );

USE .HTACCESS

If you still want to use Imagick you can use another trick to prevent HTTP errors, which is to add this line of code to .htaccess:

SetEnv MAGICK_THREAD_LIMIT 1

CHECK YOUR THEME

Much like plugins, WordPress themes can also cause this HTTP error. Just try a different theme and see if the error still comes up.

UPGRADE PHP VERSION

If your hosting service is using an older PHP version, you’ll likely end up running into HTTP errors like this one and then some. If you can’t upgrade the PHP version from your control panel, you should either choose a more advanced service or change your provider entirely.

5 Enlightened Ways To Use Google Trends for Keyword Research

Posted by on Apr 8, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Enlightened Ways To Use Google Trends for Keyword Research

5 Enlightened Ways To Use Google Trends for Keyword Research

5 Enlightened Ways To Use Google Trends for Keyword Research was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Keyword research tools are useful — until they don’t have enough data for your keywords.

You need to select phrases worth targeting. Sure, search engines understand concepts that are semantically connected and don’t just match keywords anymore. But when you write a webpage or design an ad, you still need to know which words to use that will do the best job conveying your concepts to searchers.

Many keyword tools lump variations together, like singulars and plurals. And they may ignore regional differences altogether.

So you may be left in the dark, just guessing.

Enter Google Trends. This surprisingly flexible and free tool can shed light on your keyword research. It gives relative search volume data — helping you choose between close alternatives, discover regional preferences and more.

Here, I’ll show you five ways to use Google Trends to make enlightened SEO keyword choices.

1. Discover Keyword Variations by Region

Your keyword research tool may not show differences in terms across a region or a country. Or it may look like the search volume is too low for you to worry about some keyword candidates. Sometimes that’s true, but sometimes it’s not.

As an example, what should you call something to put on the bed of a truck? If you’re on the East Coast, you’re likely to use the term “truck cap” or “camper shell.”

Looking these terms up in SEMrush provides keyword volume data and difficulty scores for the queries. You can also see a few alternative terms. However, there’s little or no information for these variations in a standard keyword tool.

Data from SEMrush provides a good starting place but may not give the full story. (click to enlarge)

As a result, you might be tempted to just write about truck caps and camper shells, and leave it at that.

Don’t stop there! If you enter all of the keyword suggestions you find into Google Trends, you’ll see a bigger picture.

That’s because people in different regions search for different terms. You can look at the chart by subregion to see this clearly.

Google Trends can show terminology differences between regions. You can view any country’s data here. (click to enlarge)

So if your website targets the Pacific Northwest, you’ll want to include truck canopy. And in places like Montana and Illinois, you’ll want to talk about truck topper, too. These make sense for those markets.

Which of those two images would you rather use to make a case for your keyword and content recommendations?

You might wonder why the other keyword tools didn’t show any meaningful data for the alternative search terms. It’s likely because their data is based on nationwide searches. But we know it’s important to speak the language of our customers. So use Google Trends to help find keyword ideas for unique content by region.

2. Spot Changing Trends

Language and search behavior change over time. How can you make sure your content reflects these changes?

Case in point: We used to call ourselves an “internet marketing” company. Several years ago, Google Trends confirmed that “internet marketing” was declining as a search term. “Digital marketing” was rising. So we updated our site to reflect how people were searching for our services.

Trends let you visualize swings in word usage. (click to enlarge)

By the way, “digital marketing” no longer fits our services as it’s become a very broad term. What we really do is provide great consulting services for “search marketing” (SEO, PPC, content, and social), but we do not do email or CRO or reputation management or PR and so on. So our keywords have evolved again.

Sometimes trends swing quickly and permanently.

For instance, Google AdWords rebranded to Google Ads in July 2018. A month later, Google Ads had already overtaken Google AdWords in relative search volume — which the trend chart shows:

Language changes can happen quickly. (click to enlarge graph)

Searchers change terms and adapt their searches faster than you (or your boss) might think. So plan to check Google Trends regularly. Watch for competing trends and update your content accordingly.

Searchers change terms and adapt their searches faster than you might think. So plan to check #GoogleTrends regularly. Watch for competing trends and update your content accordingly.
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3. Augment Your Google Analytics

Do you ever notice a big shift in your website analytics data and wonder what’s going on?

There may be times when you don’t have enough historical data to know if your site is seeing an expected change in visits, or if something unusual has happened, maybe in the world at large.

Look in your analytics and Google Search Console data for organic traffic to your landing page for a particular keyword. Also look in Search Console for organic search queries related to your term. Compare this to Google Trends for the same searches, and you can get a more detailed understanding of your site in comparison to larger search trends.

4. Find Spelling Preferences

Keyword search volume tools often lump results together.

“Donut” and “doughnut” are listed as having the same search volume in SEMrush. Google Keyword Planner won’t even give volume results for the spelling “doughnut” — even though “doughnut” is the preferred spelling by the Associated Press (which guides most blog and newspaper writers).

Data from SEMrush (click to enlarge)

But using Google Trends, you can actually compare spellings to see how much search volume each variation gets.

Use Google Trends to confirm how to spell keywords. (click to enlarge)

More importantly, notice the annual spike in search trends for all these donut-related terms?

Scroll down to the Related queries section, and you can see searches related to National Donut Day in the U.S. (the first Friday in June). Aha! You have a new content idea for your site’s donut silo.

Related queries can give you clues for content needs. (click to enlarge)

Using #GoogleTrends, you can actually compare spellings to see how much search volume each keyword variation gets.
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5. See What’s Trending Today

Don’t forget daily and realtime search trends. Google Trends lets you change the length of time for your research to just the past day, past 4 hours, or even the past hour!

When there’s an out-of-season spike in visits to your avocado recipes and your PPC budget for those related terms is spent by lunch, the trending searches can point out the avocado recall announcement and give you terms to add as negatives in your campaigns.

Avoid Data Pitfalls Where Google Trends Messes Up

Google Trends can get confused, however.

Searching for “dish soap” and “soap dish” shows identical search interest over time (you can’t even see the blue line below the red in the chart below). Yet they are two very different terms, and their results in a Google search are completely different.

On some comparisons, Google Trends can’t tell the difference. (click to enlarge)

Search volume data confirms that there is a difference in the terms, as you would expect:

Data per SEMrush (click to enlarge)

Another workaround for this Google Trends glitch is to use a plural for one or both search terms, when it makes sense.

You can see that the trends for “dish soaps” and “soap dishes” are distinctly different.

Google Trends distinguishes the plural versions. (click to enlarge)

Similarly, “marketing technology” and “technology marketing” also show identical search volumes in Google Trends.

When your common sense tells you that can’t be right, you’ll want to verify with another source. This could be as simple as performing a search in Google. Or you can look at comparison search volumes in another keyword research tool to see if searches really are identical.

Conclusion

Remember, you are not your target market. You might be in your pickup with a truck cap and eating a donut, while your reader is driving around Seattle with a truck canopy and trying to find a doughnut.

Use Google Trends to shed light on your keywords and help you know exactly what you should call things when.

Like this article? Please share it with others who can benefit from these search marketing tips!

Top 15 WordPress Tips & Tricks From The Pros

Posted by on Apr 4, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Top 15 WordPress Tips & Tricks From The Pros

WordPress is the most popular content management system that attracts both amateur webmasters and experienced website administrators. The platform generates more than 1.1 million new registered domains every six months, mostly thanks to its incredible versatility.

With almost 55 thousand plugins, you can hardly find a single website function that cannot be upgraded and improved. But the sheer fact that WordPress is so comprehensive makes first-time users dazed and confused.

Sometimes it might seem terrifying to cope with all those features at once, so it’s necessary to understand the most important functions. Our post will show you 15 professional WordPress tips and tricks.

1. Make Use of Online Learning Sources

The Internet is flooded with useful WordPress learning sources. There are tons of websites and services that can help you to master the art of website administration, including article libraries such as WP Beginner. If you need any help with WordPress-related content creation, we recommend you to consult with essay service professionals at Rush My Essay.

2. Keep It Simple

As a beginner-level webmaster, you should try to keep things simple. You don’t want to start with complex features straight away – take care of the basics before moving on to advanced functions. Of course, the first elements to consider here are themes and plugins.

3. Select a Good Theme

The theme you choose will strongly affect website performance. Our suggestion is to find a WordPress theme that perfectly resonates with your branding strategy and also gives you the possibility to make improvisations and adapt it according to your own needs.

4. Eliminate Spam Comments

The primary goal of building a website is to create content. However, a WordPress site cannot look professional with spam messages in comments. Your job is to eliminate spam using a simple procedure:

Go to phpMyAdmin ? Database
Click SQL
Enter the code line: DELETE from wp_comments WHERE comment_approved = ‘0’;

5. Understand SEO Fundamentals

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the basic precondition for higher ranking in engine searches, so you need to figure out how it works. It’s a complex topic that requires a fair share of studying, but you must understand the fundamentals such as keywords, slugs, and meta-descriptions.

6. Increase the Memory Limit

Plugins can burden a WordPress website and drain the memory, thus making your site a lot slower. You should increase the memory limit to prevent this issue. Just open the wp-config.php file and enter the following line of code: define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ’64M’);

7. Analyze Performance

Analytics is yet another important aspect of website administration. You need to know where the audience comes from, how much time they spend browsing your content, etc. Google Analytics is the simplest tool that can help you to evaluate every single aspect of website functioning.  

8. Forget Image Carousels

Visual content is attractive and appealing, but you can just keep adding imagery without considering the issue of user experience. Image sliders and carousels are particularly inconvenient because they are time-consuming and force visitors to take unnecessary action. If you don’t want to boost the bounce rate, make sure to remove this type of content.

9. Take Care of Security

Website security is another major issue because you don’t want to jeopardize months or even years of content creation. Your job is to create strong passwords and use a reliable security plugin such as Sucuri or Wordfence.

10. Delete Obsolete Plugins

Sometimes inactive plugins can also harm the security of your website. This is not always the case, but we still recommend you to delete the plugins you don’t use or don’t plan to reactivate them anytime soon.

11. Highlight Author Comments

The content you publish has the purpose to hook the audience and inspire them to engage. However, you do want to highlight the author’s comments and make them stand out from the rest. In order to do so, write this code in the CSS file: .bypostauthor { background: #eee; }

12. Make a Simple Site Structure

Your site should be easy to navigate, allowing users to get wherever they want with only a few clicks. For this reason, it is important to make a simple website structure with up to six main categories that spread into the corresponding subcategories logically.

13. Improve Load Speed

Today’s users expect a webpage to load within three seconds, thus forcing administrators to optimize and improve website load speed. You can do it using online tools like Pingdom, a platform that evaluates site performance and gives you practical tips on how to reduce load time.

14. Add Social Share Buttons

Social media attract billions of users on a daily basis, which can grant you a lot of extra exposure. You can immediately install a social share plugin and allow website visitors to spread the word about your content through their accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other popular networks.

15. Back Up the Website Regularly

The last tip on our list is obvious, but we can never overestimate the significance of backups. Backing up your website regularly keeps the content safe and sound regardless of malware attacks or any other digital hazard that might occur.

Conclusion

WordPress is an all-encompassing content management system, but its complexity forces webmasters to analyze the platform carefully before making any concrete moves. We discussed 15 professional tips and tricks that can make the job a lot easier for you, so make sure to use them and build a fully functional WordPress website!

The post Top 15 WordPress Tips & Tricks From The Pros appeared first on WP Fix It.