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We’re Shutting Down Our Link Building Services

Posted by on Feb 22, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on We’re Shutting Down Our Link Building Services

We’re Shutting Down Our Link Building Services

Hey guys,

So I’ve decided to permanently shut down our link building services and all other services which include the blogger outreach service, citation building service, curated links service, SEO audit service, and 1-on-1 SEO consulting.

Now the question is:

Why am I closing a division of my business that’s been growing consistently for 3 years?

There are a few reasons:

1. We are dedicating 100% of Gotch SEO’s energy and focus on Gotch SEO Academy

In 2017, I shut down all of my client SEO contracts despite the fact that I was making over $60,000/mo doing client SEO. Most would view this decision as “insane”.

But this was a necessary decision so that I could dedicate all of my time and energy towards Gotch SEO Academy.

I was willing to make less money for a short period of time because I knew that teaching is what I truly love doing and it’s best way I can serve people.

But the truth is…

Even in 2018, I was still one foot in and one foot out.

While I was no longer doing full service SEO, my team and I were still operating our link building services.

That’s why on February 28, 2019 we’ll be permanently closing these services.

2. It’s a conflict of interest

It doesn’t feel “right” for me to educate someone on the process of building backlinks and then turn around and try to sell them my company’s link building services.

That’s not genuine.

Plus, it makes me a lazy teacher because I can say “just use our service so you don’t have to do it”.

That’s not cool.

My job is to teach people how to do SEO and how to get results on their own.

That’s it.

Anything that takes away from that is unacceptable for me personally.

This doesn’t mean I’m against buying backlinks. I just personally can’t sell them because it doesn’t feel right.

3. I love punching fear in the face

Back in 2013, I packed my stuff and drove to St. Louis to pursue an SEO career. I was $40,000 in debt, had no job, had no clients, and had to live in my now mother-in-law’s house.

I applied to work at every SEO agency in St. Louis and only received one call back and interview. I didn’t get the job. Not to mention, I was applied for an SEO position when I was still in California and didn’t get hired then either.

I’m not going to lie… I was fearful at this time.

“What if this doesn’t work out?” “What if I have to get a normal job and I can’t do SEO (or what I actually want to do)?”

In hindsight, I’ve realized that:

Those thoughts are nothing more than lies. Fear doesn’t want you to succeed.

But here’s the interesting part…

Every time you push through the fear, those little thoughts get weaker and weaker.

That’s why back then, I decided that instead of trying to get hired as an SEO, I would take on clients instead.

And I’ll be honest… I had a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to teach the agencies that ignored me a lesson.

I’ve grown up since then, but it was definitely a driving force.

Within 30 days of making my decision to take on clients, I moved out of my mother-in-law’s house and got an apartment.

For all you stalkers, 14480 Tramore Dr, Chesterfield, MO 63017 is the address to my old apartment.

If you do some stalking online (just search “tramore” + “gotch SEO”), you’ll be able to find business listing using my old address.

Any way…

I went from $3,000/mo doing client SEO to making $18,000/mo + in less than 6 months working from that tiny apartment.

Now you might be wondering:

What’s the point of this story?

Well, hopefully it helps you to get an inside look into my journey because I know that can be super helpful.

But it’s also personal reminder to me that I’m conquering the third stage of fear in my career as an SEO and entrepreneur.

Stage 1 Fear – Deciding to take on clients (and not get a “real” job)
Stage 2 Fear – Deciding to fire all clients
Stage 3 Fear – Deciding to ONLY focus on Gotch SEO Academy

4. Focused energy works

Despite only be 50% focused on Gotch SEO Academy in 2018, last month (January 2019) was the biggest month I’ve ever had in my business (WITHOUT clients)!

So, while firing my clients may seem “stupid” in the short-term, it’s paid off in the long-run and will continue to.

Not only does focusing help your business, but it’s also better for your customers (which is all that matters).

I can now dedicate 100% of my time and effort on training, coaching, and supporting every single person who’s already in Gotch SEO Academy and who decides to join in the future.

That’s exciting.

Conclusion

Phew… I had get that off my chest, but here’s what’s going down over the next two weeks:

1. I’m going to do a “blow out” sale

That means you can save 20% on our blogger outreach service, citation building service, and curated links service for the next two weeks.

Use coupon code: “lastchance” (without the quotes)

2. This will also be the last time you can book 1-on-1 SEO consulting or audits

I’m also going to shut down all SEO consulting and SEO audits for the rest of 2019. There’s a chance I won’t accept new clients in 2020 either.

So, if you want my 1-on-1 SEO help or you need my team and I to audit an SEO campaign, then you need to jump on it in the next two weeks.

Like the link building services, use coupon code “lastchance” (without the quotes) at checkout to save 20%.

3. This isn’t some type of marketing ploy

The deadline to invest in our link building services or get 1-on-1 SEO help from me is on February 28, 2019. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.

4. THANK YOU

Thank to everyone who’s used our services throughout the years. I’m so incredibly grateful to have served you and I wish everyone the best of luck in their SEO endeavors!

5. Get started

Here are links to all the services we offer (and will no longer be offering after February 28, 2019):

Blogger Outreach Service – Get contextual links on real blogs without effort.

Citation Building Service – Business listings for local businesses.

Curated Links Service – Get contextual links in aged content on real blogs.

SEO Audit Service – Find out why your SEO campaign isn’t working (now with video walkthroughs from me).

1-on-1 SEO Consulting/Coaching – We’ll work together to improve your SEO and digital marketing performance.

Use coupon code “lastchance” (without the quotes) at checkout to save 20%.

You get unlimited uses of this coupon until the deadline.

Have some questions before you order?

Email me directly at nathan at gotchseo dot com and I’ll help you out.

Thanks again for everything guys & gals.

P.S. I have some insanely helpful stuff coming out soon. One thing that I’m really excited to show you guys is a new product that’s going to save you massive amounts of time and help you scale your SEO client services (faster than ever). BOLO.

– Gotch

16 WordPress Hacks for Your Posts

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on 16 WordPress Hacks for Your Posts

ARRANGE IMAGES PROPERLY
Always add images in columns and rows. This creates a nice look and lets the visitor see all the images at a time. Also, images have to be original and contain a caption.

CHOOSE TITLE APPROPRIATELY
Your title is important since it’ll be the first thing to appear before the searchers, so make it impressive and exceptional using the focus keyword.

CREATE A PROPER HEADING
Making your article organized, you should create a specific segment, and a specific heading therein. To create heading 1, 2, 3, or more in WordPress, you can simply select the text and click the button that says “paragraph”.

MAKE BULLET POINTS
Readers are more attracted to information that’s bulleted rather than being written in a typical style, so keep important information under bullet points. Simply click the ‘Bulleted list’ option which is available on the front line.

CREATE AN IMPRESSIVE SUMMARY
Post with an intriguing summary on the archive and home pages. Eventually, the pages will load rapidly, page view will increase, and facsimile content on your site can be avoided.

WRITE EFFECTIVE META DESCRIPTIONS
Meta is the short one-line description of the topic which you have in the article. In it, write down the importance of the topic for what the visitor should visit your website. While writing it, always conform to the length set by WordPress. Otherwise, it will become valueless.

ADD HORIZONTAL LINES
Adding horizontal lines may seem to be trivial, but it is equally important. You can place such a line just below every heading to make the headings more visible.

ADD CATEGORIES
Adding categories means giving the visitor a preview of your writing. They can easily understand what sort of product or service has been presented inside. Also the search engine can easily display your article to web visitors if their searching category matches yours.

SET FEATURED IMAGES
Nothing is unimiportant in WordPress, and the featured image option is just one example. You can set a great image that’ll represent the entire article and draw visitors’ attention, but your featured image can’t be copied.

SET FOCUS KEYWORDS
A focus keyword refers to the focused topic that has been strongly highlighted in your writing. When you set the keyword in the box, WordPress will show you its keyword density. You have to modify the density according to the report of WordPress.

ADD RELATED KEYWORDS
Besides setting the focus keywords, don’t forget adding some more related keywords because those must also be present in writing to a specific volume. Remember that creating related keywords require sound knowledge of the focus keyword and its synonyms.

CLICK “PREVIEW”
Once writing’s completed, don’t be quick in publishing it right away. Instead, check the entire article by yourself as a reader using the ‘Preview’ option. If you find everything okay from the perspective of a reader, only then publish it.

INSERT INTERNAL LINKS
Insert specific internal links into a post so when users click on any of those then that specific article gets more visitors. But, never insert the links just anywhere – make sure you link in a way that flows with the article.

INSERT VIDEOS
Sometimes adding images may not be enough to make your reader understand your entire topic or specific point, so it’s wise to insert relevant and original video using the ‘video’ option.

ADD “DOWNLOAD” OR “SIGNUP” BUTTONS
If your topic is something that can be downloaded or signed up, then leave a button at the end of the post inscribing ‘download’ or ‘signup’. This will impress visitors.

ADD RELEVANT TAGS
Tags are very important for your WordPress site since those help your post appear before the searchers’ screen when they search something relevant to your topic. Ergo, choose tags wisely, and add as many as seems to be relevant.

10 Tools That’ll Make WordPress Better

Posted by on Feb 18, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Tools That’ll Make WordPress Better

WordPress is very versatile. In the hands of the right team, it can lead to impressive websites that has plenty of traffic. But in the hands of beginners with zero experience and desire to learn, it’s going to be wasted potential.

You’re not a beginner, right? You want to learn how to make the site better. You started this WordPress project not only because you wanted to promote a brand, but also because you’re willing to enter the online world. Of course you want to reach the best possible version of your website, so here’s a list of 10 tools that can help you achieve such a goal.

YOAST SEO
When you’re trying to build a successful WordPress site, it all starts and ends with search engine optimization. It’s a demanding process, but you need to engage in it regardless. Fortunately, Yoast makes SEO more approachable even for total beginners.

It supports better branding by giving you templates for title and meta descriptions. It also sets canonical URLs, so you avoid duplicate content. Plus, it gives you advanced analytics helping you realize what you can improve in your SEO strategy.

GRAMMARLY
Even the slightest grammar mistake will lead to mocking comments, no matter how good your content is. This tool will help you avoid any of those issues. Grammarly suggests improvements not only in grammar and spelling, but in style as well.

When you install the Chrome extension, it will work wherever you type. If you use Google Drive or you type directly into WordPress, it’ll show where your content is flawed.

AN ESSAY SERVICE
Let’s be honest: good grammar means nothing if you have bad content. Content is the first and most important aspect to pay attention to. We’re talking about all types of content: text, video, infographics, and images.

Regarding textual content, you can hire a professional college essay writer for an affordable price. The writer will work under your instructions. They will deliver 100% unique content you can get revised for free if need be. For the best results, you need to rely on the best assignment writing service. Here are few options to consider:

UK Essay On Time
XpertWriters.com
Paper Writing Pro Service

Since these services are rather versatile, you can hire graphic designers there too. If you need infographics or unique images, you may still count on an assignment service UK.

WP SUPER CACHE
This is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress, generating cached versions of your site’s pages without consuming a great deal of server resources. This is a complex process, but this plugin makes that simple and non-technical.

Caching is important because it makes your website load faster. That’s what your users expect, so it’s a critical factor in improving their experience.

WPML
Do you need a multilingual element to your site? You’ll be able to reach out to a larger audience through a single website. But you will need a plugin to make WordPress suitable for multilingual purposes. WPML is great to try!

It’s compatible with most themes and plugins. The team continues to improve its features, and you get constant support if you encounter any problems.

WORDFENCE SECURITY – FIREWALL & MALWARE SCAN
Your website has to be absolutely safe from any threats. This plugin will first scan your website to make sure it’s clean, checking core files, plugins and themes for SEO spam, malware, malicious redirects, backdoors, bad URLs, and code injections. You get all that for free. But if you pay for Premium, you’ll get real-time malware updates as well.

But Wordfence Security doesn’t stop at checks. It also compresses plugins, themes and core files to make your website much faster!

SHARED COUNTS
Make it really easy for your visitors to share content from your website to social media. This is one of the best ones you can use. The buttons look nice. The tool will also show the number of shares on different social media platforms. That adds social proof to your site. When people see that a particular piece is highly popular, they will also be encouraged to share it.

BROKEN LINK CHECKER
Broken links make a bad impression to your visitors. When someone likes your content and clicks a link you included, they expect to find valuable information there. If the link is broken, the visitor won’t be happy. It also hurts your SEO. Google is smart. The search engine wants to prevent users from disappointing experiences, so it won’t take them to pages with broken links. This plugin allows you to avoid any of those problems. It will check your site for broken links and lost images, and it will let you know.

REVIVE OLD POST
You won’t develop content just to publish it and share it once on your social media. You’ll want high-quality content to be reusable, so it will keep attracting people to your website. You can feel free to share old, but still relevant pages with your followers. But you don’t want to get boring with that. This plugin lets you set the time and posts you’d like to be shared. It will do the job automatically, so you can just set up the plan and forget it.

SEMRUSH
Designing and maintaining the perfect website is not enough. You have to invest resources and energy into digital marketing. SEMrush helps with that.

This SEO and marketing tool will boost the search engine optimization, paid traffic, social media, and content marketing efforts regarding your site. You can use it to compare your website to competitors and use those insights to make it better. You’ll see where the backlinks are coming from, how you stand with organic keyword rankings, and what advertising strategies your competitors use.

It iss advanced, but a very resourceful tool that you absolutely need.

WORDPRESS IS COOL BECAUSE OF HOW VERSATILE IT IS
With all the tools and plugins you can use, you can unlock the limitless potential of WordPress. The above-listed tools are just the beginning. Start exploring and you’ll get hooked.

Q&A with SEMrush CEO / Cofounder, Oleg Shchegolev

Posted by on Feb 15, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Q&A with SEMrush CEO / Cofounder, Oleg Shchegolev

Oleg Shchgolev, CEO and Co-founder of SEMrush, also created SEOquake that was released in 2006. SEOquake was the inspiration to creating something more complex. Then SEMrush was born with the help of his partner, Dimitri Melnikov.

Today, SEMrush has 10 years in the market with 500 employees, revenues close to 100 million, and about 2 million users worldwide.

I had the pleasure to interview Oleg, including some questions beyond Search.

KT: What type of inspiration, vision, and loyalty did you see in Dmitri Melnikov that made you want to go in business with him?

OS: First and foremost, Dima is my friend. Second, he is a SEMrush co-founder; he’s been here right from the very beginning. We have always believed in the product that we’ve been working on and I totally admire him as my friend, my colleague, and co-founder.

We make most decisions together as CEO & co-CEO. Our temperaments are mutually reinforcing and this contributes greatly in allowing us to make balanced and informed decisions.

KT: How is your relationship with your partner Dmitri Melnikov?

OS: I’ve known Dmitri for more than 30 years. We grew up in the same neighborhood; we started programming together and over time our friendship expanded into a business partnership. We’ve gone through lots of ups and downs together.

KT: To be successful in the tech industry do you consider a person has to go to college or can they be self-taught?

OS: Formal education greatly enhances discipline and concentration, helps you socialize and find the right and important people — to network, if you like.

But a lot of leaders I know are self-taught. Back when I was a student, people had pretty much no idea what SEO was, or how important (and complicated) it would become over the years. Students should be aware that their knowledge gets outdated fast. They need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to continuing self-education.

The IT industry is developing extremely quickly. That’s not to say that college education is not needed at all (it definitely doesn’t hurt to learn some basic stuff in college), but other than that…like I said, I don’t deem formal training to be absolutely essential. With all the online courses and workshops, it’s possible to study everything remotely.

KT: Does SEMrush have corporate social responsibility initiatives? Such as giving scholarships for people that dream with tech careers? Or any other?

OS: At the moment, we work closely with American and European universities and give students the opportunity to explore SEMrush. While learning digital marketing, they familiarize themselves with our tools and work on their projects with the help of SEMrush. Representatives of our company give a lot of master-classes to students, providing them with the insights about digital marketing.

We organize a lot of meetups, roundtables and conferences on digital marketing and agile. We always welcome other IT companies to take part in such events. Lots of lectures, a great deal of useful insight, plenty of opportunities for networking — these are just a few reasons to come by our events.

On a different note, we certainly care about ecological sustainability. We are going to implement waste separation in all our offices and  we encourage our employees to cycle to work to reduce CO2 emission.

It goes without saying that we give people the opportunity to work with us on paid internships. Pretty often, former interns become our full-time employees. We have plans for a large project on how to help novice specialists find work in the digital sphere, but we won’t reveal the details yet

KT: Where is SEMrush headed in the next 5 years?

OS: We are definitely going to add more features to SEMrush, while enhancing our content tools, along with local SEO and traffic analytics (Competitive Intelligence 2.0). We want to ensure that we remain the leading digital marketing software.

As for strategic plans, we are going to strengthen our global brand. At the moment we’re working diligently to enter emerging markets such as China — right now, we are updating our databases to cover Baidu data.

We’ll also introduce tools that help figure out how to rank better on Amazon and optimize for voice search.

This is just a minor part of what is coming. There are a lot of other things we are working on, but we’ll keep them quiet for a while! Hint: 2019 is going to be a big year for us.

KT: What are your biggest pain points as SEO thought-leader? What additional support/buy-in do you think most companies struggle with to get on board? Does this result in limiting their growth opportunities?

OS: SEO is multidimensional and its development is extremely rapid. 5 years ago we couldn’t even imagine that image search or voice search would be everywhere. Such technological growth involves non-stop education and creative thinking, both from my side as a thought-leader and from the side of companies trying to get on board.

One more indispensable thing to get on board successfully is to have some unique feature, to understand your uniqueness and, crucially, to communicate that knowledge to your audience. Such an environment of extrinsic value, created for your customers, will also help build strong and long-term relationships with them and will directly affect customer retention.

KT: What will impact the traditional SEO from Voice search devices in the coming years?

OS: The share of voice searches is growing, along with the amount of voice-activated smart speakers. Naturally, voice searches are different from the searches that are typed — the former are longer and the wording is different — more conversational.

Voice search is about questions, prepositions, and comparisons – the same as with featured snippets . If it’s not an informational query, people are likely to search for location-based info.

Backlinko’s study claims that 40.7% of answers come from the featured snippet. Our SEO clients are putting more and more emphasis on this feature. Questions, prepositions, and comparisons dominate featured snippet results. A whopping 52% of questions have featured snippets.

KT: Can we get a dashboard or report on voice search?

OS: There’s no single dashboard or report on voice search in SEMrush (at least for now) but some of our tools help find solutions for voice search optimization. For instance, featured snippet checks or mobile devices optimization — this contributes to voice search ranking.

KT: What’s the most popular SEMrush feature and why?

OS: Everyone loves us for Keywords Research tools, but there is so much more to SEMrush.

KT: What’s a feature of SEMrush that is less utilized and why?

OS: The features that are available in the Admin Mode only =)

KT: What is diversity like in the tech industry? Do you think there is gender bias in the tech industry?

OS: Judging by what the media says, there are indeed a lot of problems with diversity in the tech industry.  In SEMrush we want our company to be equally welcoming to people of any race or gender. About half of SEMrush C-level employees are women and we believe they are awesome specialists who help make SEMrush an industry-leading company.

Closing thoughts

My favorite answer is the last one because I am an advocate for equality and inclusivity.

In my conversation with Oleg I also learned that SEMrush’s headquarters is now in Boston.

To summarize the success of SEMrush, it is based on a great communication within its talented partners, a great culture of inclusivity, and the amazing people that work there.

The post Q&A with SEMrush CEO / Cofounder, Oleg Shchegolev appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Voice Search Optimization is the way to go!  5 changes you need to make to your website in 2019

Posted by on Feb 14, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Voice Search Optimization is the way to go!  5 changes you need to make to your website in 2019

Voice Search Optimization is the way to go!  5 changes you need to make to your website in 2019

Who can believe that it is nearly 8 years since Siri came into our lives? Immediately, we all loved it, finding the new technology fun and practical, albeit with a few funny results at times!  And the truth is, we probably thought that it would stay where it was, never growing into being a major digital trend that would affect all types of user searches.

Voice search is here to stay

Siri has now been joined by Alexa, Cortana and a few more and is now consistently being used on mobile devices. The use of voice assistants is certainly growing when it comes to being able to use simple commands and the potential for this to transform into search marketing is huge.

Google tells us that since 2013, voice recognition accuracy has improved by 95%. Their research shows that people use voice search because it is so easy.  It enables them to multitask, receiving answers much faster and not having to waste time typing.

Voice search optimization and marketing

This brings us to businesses.  Voice search optimization is hugely important as people often use it to ask questions about a business they need to locate or identify.  Whatever type of company you have, you should be looking to optimize your website in order to deal with voice search queries.  Whilst it is possible to get your existing website optimized for voice search, it is much easier to do it from the start.

Stand out head and shoulders above your competitors by focusing on voice search optimization when developing your website and content from day one.

Here are some changes that we recommend you make.

  1. Keyword research and voice search

Queries are not going to work in the same way.  You need to consider semantics and the way that people speak.  A verbal question is going to be totally different from a search engine typed request i.e.

Typed:                  best TV buy 2019

Spoken:                what is the best TV to purchase in 2019?

Think about the questions that will be asked and tie these into your content, focusing more on natural language than on keywords. The trick here is to capture long-tail SEO as a lot of searches made via voice are much longer than text searches.

  1. Website structure and content

When discussing changes to your site with your web designer and content creator, make sure that they know that you want to maximise your new website for voice search capabilities.  Think about the questions that will be asked by voice and then map them out in accordance with what the customer will be looking for on their journey through your website. A good way of doing this is to include FAQ pages into each main section.

  1. Structured data optimization

Always remember that unlike text search, which provides multiple responses, voice search only provides one answer. It is therefore crucial that your content is as attuned as possible to the likely voice queries. Your site also needs to have a sitemap that is submitted to the Google Search Console.  Google also likes it if you use structured data.  Your web designer will add this to the page’s HTML mark-up.  Google then uses this to produce rich snippets i.e. small pieces of information that show in search results.  This can boost your voice search results by ensuring that answers are extremely relevant to the question being asked.

  1. Create Google Actions

Your web designer will likely do this automatically once they begin to focus on voice search optimization.  By creating Google Actions, your content will be made more accessible to the Google Home Assistant.  Similarly, this can be done for Amazon Alexa.  This makes it more relevant when voice commands are used and will make it easier for users to interact with your site, having productive conversations related to your content.

  1. Being mobile friendly

It is worth remembering that the majority of voice searches come from mobile devices. It therefore follows that if you optimize for mobiles, you are also doing so for voice searches.  Being mobile friendly involves such things as improving your site speed. Many voice searches are also location based so always refer to the address of your business as well as the area of coverage. It is also a good idea to list your company via Google My Business. By optimizing your site for mobile SEO, at the same time you will be ensuring that it is ready to cope with an influx of voice related queries.

  1. Be ready for the future

So, is it possible that voice commands will one day take over from written search queries? There is no way to know at the moment, but it is clear to see that voice commands are going to impact upon search marketing in a big way. If you take search engine marketing seriously, then taking steps to optimize your site for voice search should come naturally. Whatever type of business you have, getting your site optimized for voice search should be high on your agenda for things to do.

Staying ahead of the competition

Home voice assistants are going to become even more popular and, as a result, people are tending to use more voice commands on their mobiles.  All the big players are looking at developing new features and capabilities as the demand for voice search increases. Google is already looking at adding data for voice queries to Search Console so this is one new area of technology that will be incredibly useful, providing valuable insight into how users are using your site via voice search.  If you are ready for these future developments and work with a web designer that is always on the lookout for new trends and technology, you can be one step ahead of the competition.

With research showing that by 2020, 50% of searches will be done by voice, you cannot afford not to get your site optimized for voice search.   With the sales of smart speakers, wearable tech and other IoT equipment also escalating, it is clear to see that we are heading into a voice-oriented realm. The way that consumers search has changed incredibly and is on the move again. Just like we moved into a mobile-first arena, voice search is now catching up.

Your next step

If you want your business to keep up with the times, then it is necessary for you to get your website attuned for voice search, whilst optimizing your content at the same time. Voice search optimization may not be the same as traditional SEO, but it still follows the same principles and taking account of it will ensure that your website is able to cope with both voice and wearable tech searches.

By taking note of the information that we have given above and including these approaches into your voice search optimization plans, you will be ready to take advantage of new voice search traffic as it continues to grow.

 

 

17 top plugins and extensions for SEO

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 17 top plugins and extensions for SEO

17 top plugins and extensions for SEO

There are so many great plugins available, and it’s difficult to choose which are the best for you.

To help you decide which tools will make your work easier and more productive, I’ve asked SEO experts to share what they use.

Per the experts, I compiled this list of 17 of the best plugins and extensions for SEO — and they’re all free.

Here are the top plugins and extensions recommended by experienced SEOs
1. SEO TextOptimizer

Free extension

This plugin is perfect for those who deal with content. SEO TextOptimizer lets you measure the quality of texts you create for your website based on how search engines would evaluate it.

The tool shows you topics you should develop as well as those you’d better eliminate for search robots to understand the text is relevant to the specific queries. The plugin also suggests you a list of words you could add to improve your content. The best thing is that you don’t need great SEO expertise to use it.

2. SEOquake

Free extension

With SEOquake plugin, you can easily analyze your key SEO metrics. Moreover, the tool provides SEO audit, backlinks analysis, and other useful functions.

One of the factors why SEO professionals choose this tool is that you can get a comprehensive analysis of a SERP and even export its results. There’s a bar appearing below each search result which provides you with key metrics such as traffic, Alexa rank, social media shares, etc.

3. BuiltWith

Free extension

This extension lets you find what a website you are visiting at the moment is built with. It’s created to help developers, designers, and researchers to discover the technologies other pages are implementing and choose those they want to use for their sites.

The plugin tracks:

Widgets
Frameworks
Advertising
Publishing
Hosting
Analytics
Content Delivery Network
Document Standards

Experts also say it’s great you can easily get global trends on using specific technologies.

4. Serpstat Plugin

Free extension

It’s an extension which helps you conduct SEO analysis of a page. Serpstat Plugin provides the most critical information on keywords, traffic, and page visibility. You can also get the report on the top 10 keywords for which your page ranks at the top of search results.

Serpstat SEO & Website Analysis Plugin has now three tabs: Page Analysis, On-page SEO parameters, and Domain Analysis. Here are the most crucial parameters you’ll get with the plugin:

Domain’s traffic.
Domain’s visibility trend for a year.
The number of results on Google, Bing, and Baidu.
The number of images on Google Image Search.
Alexa Rank.
Page speed.
Site start date.
Meta tags.
The number of shares on social media networks (Facebook and Pinterest).

The plugin is free, but to use it, you need to create your Serpstat account, if you don’t have one yet.

5. WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress plugin

This incredibly popular plugin by Yoast helps experts with on-site SEO needs. The tool will let you:

Add meta keywords, title, and description to your posts.
Provide clear site navigation for crawlers and users.
Analyze your on-page SEO. You can check your content, descriptions, and keywords.
See what your snippets will look like.
Create SEO-friendly Facebook Open Graph.

This WordPress plugin has a very quick and easy-to-use interface.

6. WAVE Evaluation Tool

Free extension

This tool evaluates web content accessibility within Chrome and Firefox browsers. WAVE provides 100% secure and private accessibility reporting. The plugin checks password-protected, intranet, sensitive or dynamically generated web pages.

7. Spark Content Optimizer

Free extension

Spark Content Optimizer is a tool designed to help you develop your site’s search experience. The plugin provides you with easy access to such a crucial data as:

Monthly traffic.
The performance of your site for all the keywords.
The technical audit which analyzes more than 40 hard-to-find issues.
Information on backlink authority.

8. Link Redirect Trace

Free extension

It’s a great tool for tracking redirect path. The tool analyzes HTTP Headers, rel-canonicals, robots.txt, link power, etc. You can use Link Redirect Trace extension to analyze your competitors, your on-page and off-page SEO, and other critical factors.

Here are the main tasks this plugin can help you cope with:

Identify and fix problems in your on-page/off-page SEO.
Analyze your competitors’ links.
See the redirect chain and fix problems to make your load time faster.
After your site was redesigned or migrated, you can check your links.
Check links from affiliate and advertising networks.

9. Ap – Data Layer Inspector+

Free extension

This plugin is a perfect toolkit for digital analysts. This add-on lets you monitor, debug, get detailed data not having to switch between the page, the code, and the developer console.

With this tool, you can inspect the dataLayer in real time, insert code into the page, analyze GA hits, ignore hits to individual properties, etc.

10. User-Agent Switcher

Free extension

The tool will help you switch quickly between user-agent strings. If you want to test how your page responds to different browsers, this plugin will let you do it. Due to User-Agent Switcher, you can browse with predefined user-agents or add your own ones.

11. Open SEO Stats

Free extension

This extension provides quick access to the most important SEO stats. The tool will show you:

Traffic stats. Graphs from Alexa Rank, Quantcast Rank, Compete Rank.
Information on your backlinks.
Cached pages.
Indexed pages. You’ll see the number of pages indexed in Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, etc.
Geolocation information, such as country, city, and IP address.
The shares on social websites.
Meta information, such as title, meta keywords, description, canonical tags, internal links, external links, and more.

12. Velvet Blues

Free WordPress plugin

This plugin will be handy for those who move their WordPress website to another domain and need to update internal links and references to pages. The plugin helps you fix the problem and change old links on your website. Experts say it’s great that you can find and replace any URL in your WordPress database without having to use phpMyAdmin directly.

With Velvet Blues Plugin, you can:

Update links which are embedded in excerpts, content, or custom fields.
Choose whether you want to update links for attachments or not.
View the number of items updated.

Install it only when you need to fix something and then uninstall it. The plugin treats everything it finds.

13. WP Rocket

Free WordPress plugin

Experts consider this plugin to be one of the best caching tools. Using WP Rocket to cache pages, your page load time decreases, and indexing improves. Moreover, the tool lets users reduce the weight of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

With WP Rocket, you can optimize your images, so that they’ll get loaded only when visitors scroll down the page. Such an action contributes to improving page speed.

14. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Free WordPress plugin

This tool will be useful for those who want to get rich snippets for their web pages. The plugin is created to help you make your page stand out in Google, Bing, and Yahoo search results.

All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets supports most content types released by Schema.org. Here are eight different content types for which you can add schema:

Review
Event
People
Product
Recipe
Software Application
Video
Articles

15. Cloudflare’s plugin for WordPress

Free WordPress plugin

This free plugin helps to accelerate page loading time, improve your SEO, and protect against DDoS attacks.

Cloudflare plugin adds value for SMEs/Medium sized businesses, making it very easy to setup CDNs, DDoS Protection, and allow them to utilize edge SEO technologies like service workers.

16. WhatRuns

Free extension

This extension lets you find out what runs any website. You, ll get all the technologies used on websites you visit:

CMS
WordPress plugins
Themes
Analytics tools
Frameworks

Moreover, you can even get notified when websites start using new tools and services if you follow them.

17. Grammarly

Free extension

There are both free and paid access available for this plugin. The tool underlines your grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors for you to correct them. It also suggests you synonyms for overused words and gives you tips on how you can improve your texts. To get the most out of this plugin, you’d better use a paid version, as it’ll get you access to the most critical issues.

Choose the best for you

Remember that the more extensions you download, the slower your browser becomes. That’s why it’s essential to know which ones exactly are perfect for you.

Free WordPress plugins and Chrome extensions will help you make your work easier, but you may spend quite a significant time looking for those which are really useful for you. So, this list should have helped you circle out the tools you’ll try to implement into your working process.

Want more SEO tools?

Check out these articles as well:

7 social media monitoring tools to check out in 2019
8 free technical SEO tools you probably haven’t heard of
Four tools to discover and optimize for related keywords
What people search for: Tools for trends
The top 10 tools for getting an insight into your website analytics
Tools to assist your SEO check-up
…. And many more!

The post 17 top plugins and extensions for SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

WordPress vs Other CMS Options: A Comparison

Posted by on Feb 7, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress vs Other CMS Options: A Comparison

WordPress dominates world online content marketing and everyone knows that. The platform caused a sensation when it was released in the early 2000s and has become very popular since. In fact, more than seventeen percent of all websites use WordPress.

Due to its tremendous popularity and impressive functionality, it gets most of the conversations about content management. Most people recommend using it to build websites for the same reasons as well.

However, it would be unfair to focus on WordPress while talking about CMS technology since many other similar platforms exist, and as strange as it may seem for some people, they’re competitive even still.

Let’s take a look at other CMS available that are forming the competition.

JOOMLA
Last year, this CMS celebrated its 10th birthday. It was released a few years after WordPress and has grown into a multipurpose CMS with quite an impressive reputation. Joomla has thousands of developers and website owners for users (around 3.3 percent of all websites are powered by this CMS).

Like well-written papers, Joomla’s functionality deserves the highest grade. Not only does the platform feature all things WordPress can do but also has templates and extensions at its disposal, so they do make Joomla a legitimate competitor.

Sites known for using Joomla include Harvard, Notre Dame, The Hill, the UN, and Linux.

DRUPAL
The next competitor is not as fierce as Joomla with a mere 2.2 percent running it (4.7% of all websites with said CMS). However, the popularity of the platform has grown since the release of the latest versions with comprehensive functionality.

Drupal is widely perceived as a complex system designed for those who have a web development background. It doesn’t feature a lot of templates or themes because it uses a completely different approach to creating stuff by using modules.

Sites that use Drupal: Rush University Medical Center, Tesla Motors, Los Angeles City, University of Oxford, the White House, and Emmy.

MEDIUM
This is a publishing platform that’s also been in the shadow of WordPress from the get-go. However, it has a number of impressive functions. It has a remarkable import tool that makes publishing painless, plus a built-in audience that automatically connects with the user thanks to Medium social media feature.

The platform tells users how many people viewed the publications and how many read to the end, and it doesn’t even require original content to be published.

JEKYLL
This is another competitor that has been disregarded by many because of its complexity; for instance, this static site generator is written in Ruby and requires NodeJS to run. It can, however, generate HTML pages just by having a text without the database requirement, which is pretty amazing.

As you’ve probably realized, Jekyll’s audience is web developers and other people with a web-related background.

SHOPIFY
As great as WordPress is, it can’t be used to create a really good online store. Truth is, it was created for other purposes, so even plugins such as WooCommerce can’t provide all the functionality ecommerce requires. Shopify is one of the best alternatives for those who need to build an online store since it provides all the tools needed for this task.

The platform comes with simple tools for setting up an online store – delivery, customer service, complaints, and many more. It also has apps and templates available.

BLOGGER
Next is Blogger, a blogging platform that Google developed. The number of sites using Blogger is nowhere near the number of WordPress-powered ones (just 280,000), but it comes highly recommended for first-time bloggers who need a small and simple platform for writing online.

The simplicity of Blogger is perhaps the main advantage of the platform, allowing to create and run a blog in a matter of hours, so it saves a lot of time for beginner bloggers. Another massive advantage is customization. The drag and drop system enables users to design a custom look of their blog quickly and efficiently.

SQUARESPACE
Last but not least is Squarespace, which is a hosted site builder. It works just like Weebly but has a richer functionality, with fully customized and customizable templates. With this tool, anyone can build a pretty decent website very quickly and painlessly.

IN CONCLUSION
WordPress obviously holds the leadership position, whilst others are trying laboriously to tip the scales in their favor. However, no competitor from this list has even come close to matching WordPress. Yet.

That doesn’t mean we should disregard alternatives but rather appreciate the diversity of the industry. The future seems bright for Joomla, Drupal, and others, so let’s wait a while and see what happens.

Does readability rank? On ease of reading and SEO

Posted by on Feb 6, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Does readability rank? On ease of reading and SEO

Is it worth your while making your text a pleasant read? Will it lead to higher rankings and more traffic? Is readability a ‘ranking factor’? At Yoast, we’re convinced that writing in plain and understandable language can get you more visitors. We’ve even developed a tool to help people write readable text. Here, we’ll explain why search engines love easy to understand copy, and we’ll give tips on creating it.

Well-written copy improves UX

At the risk of stating the obvious: unintelligible copy makes for bad user experience. Nobody likes to read something that’s incomprehensible, boring or stuffed with keywords. All your web copy should, therefore, be aimed and focused on your audience, giving them the information they need, a solution to their problem, or an answer to their question.

First and foremost, you should write great copy for your visitors. This fits in nicely with our vision of holistic SEO. If you write text people don’t understand, you won’t help people find what they need. What’s more, you’ll end up with unsatisfied visitors, that’ll probably bounce back to Google when they hit your site. Google analyses user signals like that to determine how visitors experience your site.

Search engines mimic humans

There used to be a time when stuffing keywords in your copy would work: if you’d just mention your keywords enough times in your text, Google would rank it high for those keywords. Those times are long gone.

Fortunately, Google got much better at recognizing quality content. For instance, after the Hummingbird update, Google started recognizing synonyms. It also understands which words, entities, and content are related to each other. In addition to that, search engines became better at predicting what people want to read: from the keywords in your query they can make an estimated guess on your search intent. You can learn how to semantically link entities to your content.

Overall, the algorithm of Google is trying to mimic a human. It tries to read text like a human being. As Google becomes more capable of understanding and scanning texts in a human-like way, the demands on the readability of text also rise.

Readability is important for voice search

The number of people using voice search is growing, so Google — and other search engines — are focused on voice. They present their results in a voice-like manner; they rank their results in a voice-like manner.

People searching for information with voice search could end up listening to a relatively long piece of information. Imagine a long paragraph consisting of meandering sentences and containing lots of difficult words, that’s read out loud. The voice result would become impossible to understand. Google wouldn’t want to use an answer like that. Neither in voice nor in normal results.

Google prefers understandable content because voice search is getting bigger. Whether it will be huge or not, doesn’t matter for the importance of understandable, readable content. Google simply dictates the search results and the algorithm. We just have to go with it. And in this case, it’s a good thing. Writing readable content is a blessing for the reader.

Read more: How to prepare for voice search »

What makes a text easy to read?

How do people read web copy? Visitors scan through texts, read subheadings and the first sentences of paragraphs. They look for transition words in order to quickly abstract what the main conclusion of an article will be.

All the things humans do while reading text are things Google will do. That means that the structure of your text, the way you write your paragraphs, will become increasingly important. Core sentences — the first sentence of every paragraph — will be crucial. Having a clear and logical structure in your text will be invaluable.

Tips to keep your text readable

How to create easy reads? Before you start writing your text, think about the structure. What are you going to tell your audience and in what order? Is that a logical order of topics? Will your audience be able to follow your arguments, your examples, your message? Maybe you should try writing content with the inverted pyramid style?

Read more: Setting up a text structure »

Write short rather than lengthy sentences, as lengthy sentences are much harder to process. Try to avoid or to limit the number of difficult words in a text. Try not to use complicated sentences and try to avoid the use of passive voice.

Keep reading: 5 SEO copywriting mistakes you should avoid »

Make sure to write in an appealing style. That can be really hard; not everyone has a talent for creative writing. Make sure to mix it up a little! Try to alternate long sentences with shorter ones. Use synonyms. Avoid starting sentences with the same word.

Read on: 5 tips to write a readable blog post »

We know writing readable copy is hard. That’s why we developed a readability analysis in Yoast SEO. It checks, for instance, if your sentences aren’t too long, if you don’t use passive voice too often, and if the length of your paragraphs is OK. We’ll give you tips for improvement and you can even see which sentences need a second look. We’re continuously tweaking it, adding new checks and getting it translated in as many different languages as possible. It’s available for free in the Yoast SEO plugin.

One last tip: read it out loud!

Google’s Gary Illyes once tweeted that you should read your text out loud. If it doesn’t read nicely or sounds strange, it probably won’t rank either.

Let’s be clear: your rankings won’t immediately soar if you improve the readability of your texts. But, writing a readable blog post is an essential part of every SEO strategy. If you want your readers to read your entire blog post, you should make sure your copy is easy to read. Posts that are nice to read will definitely result in more returning visitors and a higher conversion rate. So in the long run: readability ranks.

Keep on reading: SEO copywriting: the complete guide »

The post Does readability rank? On ease of reading and SEO appeared first on Yoast.

Page Speed Optimization: Metrics, Tools, and How to Improve

Posted by on Feb 2, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Page Speed Optimization: Metrics, Tools, and How to Improve

Page Speed Optimization: Metrics, Tools, and How to Improve

Posted by BritneyMuller

Page speed is an important consideration for your SEO work, but it’s a complex subject that tends to be very technical. What are the most crucial things to understand about your site’s page speed, and how can you begin to improve? In this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller goes over what you need to know to get started.

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

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over all things page speed and really getting to the bottom of why it’s so important for you to be thinking about and working on as you do your work.

At the very fundamental level I’m going to briefly explain just how a web page is loaded. That way we can sort of wrap our heads around why all this matters.

How a webpage is loaded

A user goes to a browser, puts in your website, and there is a DNS request. This points at your domain name provider, so maybe GoDaddy, and this points to your server where your files are located, and this is where it gets interesting. So the DOM starts to load all of your HTML, your CSS, and your JavaScript. But very rarely does this one pull all of the needed scripts or needed code to render or load a web page.

Typically the DOM will need to request additional resources from your server to make everything happen, and this is where things start to really slow down your site. Having that sort of background knowledge I hope will help in us being able to triage some of these issues.

Issues that could be slowing down your site

What are some of the most common culprits?

First and foremost is images. Large images are the biggest culprit of slow loading web pages.
Hosting can cause issues.
Plugins, apps, and widgets, basically any third-party script as well can slow down load time.
Your theme and any large files beyond that can really slow things down as well.
Redirects, the number of hops needed to get to a web page will slow things down.
Then JavaScript, which we’ll get into in a second.

But all of these things can be a culprit. So we’re going to go over some resources, some of the metrics and what they mean, and then what are some of the ways that you can improve your page speed today.

Page speed tools and resources

The primary resources I have listed here are Google tools and Google suggested insights. I think what’s really interesting about these is we get to see what their concerns are as far as page speed goes and really start to see the shift towards the user. We should be thinking about that anyway. But first and foremost, how is this affecting people that come to your site, and then secondly, how can we also get the dual benefit of Google perceiving it as higher quality?

We know that Google suggests a website to load anywhere between two to three seconds. The faster the better, obviously. But that’s sort of where the range is. I also highly suggest you take a competitive view of that. Put your competitors into some of these tools and benchmark your speed goals against what’s competitive in your industry. I think that’s a cool way to kind of go into this.

Chrome User Experience Report

This is Chrome real user metrics. Unfortunately, it’s only available for larger, popular websites, but you get some really good data out of it. It’s housed on Big ML, so some basic SQL knowledge is needed.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse, one of my favorites, is available right in Chrome Dev Tools. If you are on a web page and you click Inspect Element and you open up Chrome Dev Tools, to the far right tab where it says Audit, you can run a Lighthouse report right in your browser.

What I love about it is it gives you very specific examples and fixes that you can do. A fun fact to know is it will automatically be on the simulated fast 3G, and notice they’re focused on mobile users on 3G. I like to switch that to applied fast 3G, because it has Lighthouse do an actual run of that load. It takes a little bit longer, but it seems to be a little bit more accurate. Good to know.

Page Speed Insights

Page Speed Insights is really interesting. They’ve now incorporated Chrome User Experience Report. But if you’re not one of those large sites, it’s not even going to measure your actual page speed. It’s going to look at how your site is configured and provide feedback according to that and score it. Just something good to be aware of. It still provides good value.

Test your mobile website speed and performance

I don’t know what the title of this is. If you do, please comment down below. But it’s located on testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. This one is really cool because it tests the mobile speed of your site. If you scroll down, it directly ties it into ROI for your business or your website. We see Google leveraging real-world metrics, tying it back to what’s the percentage of people you’re losing because your site is this slow. It’s a brilliant way to sort of get us all on board and fighting for some of these improvements.

Pingdom and GTmetrix are non-Google products or non-Google tools, but super helpful as well.

Site speed metrics

So what are some of the metrics?

First paint

We’re going to go over first paint, which is basically just the first non-blank paint on a screen. It could be just the first pixel change. That initial change is first paint.

First contentful paint

First contentful paint is when the first content appears. This might be part of the nav or the search bar or whatever it might be. That’s the first contentful paint.

First meaningful paint

First meaningful paint is when primary content is visible. When you sort of get that reaction of, “Oh, yeah, this is what I came to this page for,” that’s first meaningful paint.

Time to interactive

Time to interactive is when it’s visually usable and engage-able. So we’ve all gone to a web page and it looks like it’s done, but we can’t quite use it yet. That’s where this metric comes in. So when is it usable for the user? Again, notice how user-centric even these metrics are. Really, really neat.

DOM content loaded

The DOM content loaded, this is when the HTML is completely loaded and parsed. So some really good ones to keep an eye on and just to be aware of in general.

Ways to improve your page speedHTTP/2

HTTP/2 can definitely speed things up. As to what extent, you have to sort of research that and test.

Preconnect, prefetch, preload

Preconnect, prefetch, and preload really interesting and important in speeding up a site. We see Google doing this on their SERPs. If you inspect an element, you can see Google prefetching some of the URLs so that it has it faster for you if you were to click on some of those results. You can similarly do this on your site. It helps to load and speed up that process.

Enable caching & use a content delivery network (CDN)

Caching is so, so important. Definitely do your research and make sure that’s set up properly. Same with CDNs, so valuable in speeding up a site, but you want to make sure that your CDN is set up properly.

Compress images

The easiest and probably quickest way for you to speed up your site today is really just to compress those images. It’s such an easy thing to do. There are all sorts of free tools available for you to compress them. Optimizilla is one. You can even use free tools on your computer, Save for Web, and compress properly.

Minify resources

You can also minify resources. So it’s really good to be aware of what minification, bundling, and compression do so you can have some of these more technical conversations with developers or with anyone else working on the site.

So this is sort of a high-level overview of page speed. There’s a ton more to cover, but I would love to hear your input and your questions and comments down below in the comment section.

I really appreciate you checking out this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks so much. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Redirects: One Way to Make or Break Your Site Migration – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by on Jan 26, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Redirects: One Way to Make or Break Your Site Migration – Whiteboard Friday

Redirects: One Way to Make or Break Your Site Migration – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

Correctly redirecting your URLs is one of the most important things you can do to make a site migration go smoothly, but there are clear processes to follow if you want to get it right. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins breaks down the rules of redirection for site migrations to make sure your URLs are set up for success.

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

Video Transcription

Hey, guys. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and I work here at Moz. What we’re going to be talking about today is redirects and how they’re one way that you can make or break your site migration. Site migration can mean a lot of different things depending on your context.

Migrations?

I wanted to go over quickly what I mean before we dive into some tips for avoiding redirection errors. When I talk about migration, I’m coming from the experience of these primary activities.

CMS moving/URL format

One example of a migration I might be referring to is maybe we’re taking on a client and they previously used a CMS that had a default kind of URL formatting, and it was dated something.

So it was like /2018/May/ and then the post. Then we’re changing the CMS. We have more flexibility with how our pages, our URLs are structured, so we’re going to move it to just /post or something like that. In that way a lot of URLs are going to be moving around because we’re changing the way that those URLs are structured.

“Keywordy” naming conventions

Another instance is that sometimes we’ll get clients that come to us with kind of dated or keywordy URLs, and we want to change this to be a lot cleaner, shorten them where possible, just make them more human-readable.

An example of that would be maybe the client used URLs like /best-plumber-dallas, and we want to change it to something a little bit cleaner, more natural, and not as keywordy, to just /plumbers or something like that. So that can be another example of lots of URLs moving around if we’re taking over a whole site and we’re kind of wanting to do away with those.

Content overhaul

Another example is if we’re doing a complete content overhaul. Maybe the client comes to us and they say, “Hey, we’ve been writing content and blogging for a really long time, and we’re just not seeing the traffic and the rankings that we want. Can you do a thorough audit of all of our content?” Usually what we notice is that you have maybe even thousands of pages, but four of them are ranking.

So there are a lot of just redundant pages, pages that are thin and would be stronger together, some pages that just don’t really serve a purpose and we want to just let die. So that’s another example where we would be merging URLs, moving pages around, just letting some drop completely. That’s another example of migrating things around that I’m referring to.

Don’t we know this stuff? Yes, but…

That’s what I’m referring to when it comes to migrations. But before we dive in, I kind of wanted to address the fact that like don’t we know this stuff already? I mean I’m talking to SEOs, and we all know or should know the importance of redirection. If there’s not a redirect, there’s no path to follow to tell Google where you’ve moved your page to.

It’s frustrating for users if they click on a link that no longer works, that doesn’t take them to the proper destination. We know it’s important, and we know what it does. It passes link equity. It makes sure people aren’t frustrated. It helps to get the correct page indexed, all of those things. So we know this stuff. But if you’re like me, you’ve also been in those situations where you have to spend entire days fixing 404s to correct traffic loss or whatever after a migration, or you’re fixing 301s that were maybe done but they were sent to all kinds of weird, funky places.

Mistakes still happen even though we know the importance of redirects. So I want to talk about why really quickly.

Unclear ownership

Unclear ownership is something that can happen, especially if you’re on a scrappier team, a smaller team and maybe you don’t handle these things very often enough to have a defined process for this. I’ve been in situations where I assumed the tech was going to do it, and the tech assumed that the project assistant was going to do it.

We’re all kind of pointing fingers at each other with no clear ownership, and then the ball gets dropped because no one really knows whose responsibility it is. So just make sure that you designate someone to do it and that they know and you know that that person is going to be handling it.

Deadlines

Another thing is deadlines. Internal and external deadlines can affect this. So one example that I encountered pretty often is the client would say, “Hey, we really need this project done by next Monday because we’re launching another initiative. We’re doing a TV commercial, and our domain is going to be listed on the TV commercial. So I’d really like this stuff wrapped up when those commercials go live.”

So those kind of external deadlines can affect how quickly we have to work. A lot of times it just gets left by the wayside because it is not a very visible thing. If you don’t know the importance of redirects, you might handle things like content and making sure the buttons all work and the template looks nice and things like that, the visible things. Where people assume that redirects, oh, that’s just a backend thing. We can take care of it later. Unfortunately, redirects usually fall into that category if the person doing it doesn’t really know the importance of it.

Another thing with deadlines is internal deadlines. Sometimes maybe you might have a deadline for a quarterly game or a monthly game. We have to have all of our projects done by this date. The same thing with the deadlines. The redirects are usually unfortunately something that tends to miss the cutoff for those types of things.

Non-SEOs handling the redirection

Then another situation that can cause site migration errors and 404s after moving around is non-SEOs handling this. Now you don’t have to be a really experienced SEO usually to handle these types of things. It depends on your CMS and how complicated is the way that you’re implementing your redirects. But sometimes if it’s easy, if your CMS makes redirection easy, it can be treated as like a data entry-type of job, and it can be delegated to someone who maybe doesn’t know the importance of doing all of them or formatting them properly or directing them to the places that they’re supposed to go.

The rules of redirection for site migrations

Those are all situations that I’ve encountered issues with. So now that we kind of know what I’m talking about with migrations and why they kind of sometimes still happen, I’m going to launch into some rules that will hopefully help prevent site migration errors because of failed redirects.

1. Create one-to-one redirects

Number one, always create one-to-one redirects. This is super important. What I’ve seen sometimes is oh, man, it could save me tons of time if I just use a wildcard and redirect all of these pages to the homepage or to the blog homepage or something like that. But what that tells Google is that Page A has moved to Page B, whereas that’s not the case. You’re not moving all of these pages to the homepage. They haven’t actually moved there. So it’s an irrelevant redirect, and Google has even said, I think, that they treat those essentially as a soft 404. They don’t even count. So make sure you don’t do that. Make sure you’re always linking URL to its new location, one-to-one every single time for every URL that’s moving.

2. Watch out for redirect chains

Two, watch out for chains. I think Google says something oddly specific, like watch out for redirect chains, three, no more than five. Just try to limit it as much as possible. By chains, I mean you have URL A, and then you redirect it to B, and then later you decide to move it to a third location. Instead of doing this and going through a middleman, A to B to C, shorten it if you can. Go straight from the source to the destination, A to C.

3. Watch out for loops

Three, watch out for loops. Similarly what can happen is you redirect position A to URL B to another version C and then back to A. What happens is it’s chasing its tail. It will never resolve, so you’re redirecting it in a loop. So watch out for things like that. One way to check those things I think is a nifty tool, Screaming Frog has a redirect chains report. So you can see if you’re kind of encountering any of those issues after you’ve implemented your redirects.

4. 404 strategically

Number four, 404 strategically. The presence of 404s on your site alone, that is not going to hurt your site’s rankings. It is letting pages die that were ranking and bringing your site traffic that is going to cause issues. Obviously, if a page is 404ing, eventually Google is going to take that out of the index if you don’t redirect it to its new location. If that page was ranking really well, if it was bringing your site traffic, you’re going to lose the benefits of it. If it had links to it, you’re going to lose the benefits of that backlink if it dies.

So if you’re going to 404, just do it strategically. You can let pages die. Like in these situations, maybe you’re just outright deleting a page and it has no new location, nothing relevant to redirect it to. That’s okay. Just know that you’re going to lose any of the benefits that URL was bringing your site.

5. Prioritize “SEO valuable” URLs

Number five, prioritize “SEO valuable” URLs, and I do that because I prefer to obviously redirect everything that you’re moving, everything that’s legitimately moving.

But because of situations like deadlines and things like that, when we’re down to the wire, I think it’s really important to at least have started out with your most important URLs. So those are URLs that are ranking really well, giving you a lot of good traffic, URLs that you’ve earned links to. So those really SEO valuable URLs, if you have a deadline and you don’t get to finish all of your redirects before this project goes live, at least you have those most critical, most important URLs handled first.

Again, obviously, it’s not ideal, I don’t think in my mind, to save any until after the launch. Obviously, I think it’s best to have them all set up by the time it goes live. But if that’s not the case and you’re getting rushed and you have to launch, at least you will have handled the most important URLs for SEO value.

6. Test!

Number six, just to end it off, test. I think it’s super important just to monitor these things, because you could think that you have set these all up right, but maybe there were some formatting errors, or maybe you mistakenly redirected something to the wrong place. It is super important just to test. So what you can do, you can do a site:domain.com and just start clicking on all the results that come up and see if any are redirecting to the wrong place, maybe they’re 404ing.

Just checking all of those indexed URLs to make sure that they’re going to a proper new destination. I think Moz’s Site Crawl is another huge benefit here for testing purposes. What it does, if you have a domain set up or a URL set up in a campaign in Moz Pro, it checks this every week, and you can force another run if you want it to.

But it will scan your site for errors like this, 404s namely. So if there are any issues like that, 500 or 400 type errors, Site Crawl will catch it and notify you. If you’re not managing the domain that you’re working on in a campaign in Moz Pro, there’s on-demand crawl too. So you can run that on any domain that you’re working on to test for things like that.

There are plenty of other ways you can test and find errors. But the most important thing to remember is just to do it, just to test and make sure that even once you’ve implemented these things, that you’re checking and making sure that there are no issues after a launch. I would check right after a launch and then a couple of days later, and then just kind of taper off until you’re absolutely positive that everything has gone smoothly.

So those are my tips, those are my rules for how to implement redirects properly, why you need to, when you need to, and the risks that can happen with that. If you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share, pop them in the comments and share it with all of us in the SEO community. That’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday.

Come back again next week for another one. Thanks, everybody.

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