Greg’s SEO Articles

6 Plugins for Improving WordPress Performance

You don’t need to know how to code or do anything technical to make your site run faster and keeping it safe.

1. SWIFT PERFORMANCE LITE

This is free and will significantly speed up your site by:

. Combining CSS/Javascript
. Minifying CSS/Javascript/HTML
. Eliminating render-blocking Javascript and CSS above-the-fold in content
. Leveraging compression and browser caching
. Optimizing images
. Removing query strings from static resources
. Organizing plugins

2. TINYPNG

This plugin will compress and optimize your JPEG and PNG images automatically by:

. Automatic optimization of images when uploaded
. Advanced image optimization in the background
. Optimize images already in your media library
. Set max parameters for images to resize large images
. Option for preserve copyright metadata of images
. Compatible with WPML, Multisite, and WooCommerce

3. WP OPTIMIZE

This plugin helps your site perform at its best because it:
. Cleans your database – It will search for remove and unnecessary data such as trackbacks, pingbacks, trashed and spam comments, and expired options. It gives you complete control over which options it will carry out and can do these at the intervals you select (weekly, etc.).
. Compresses images – The plugin comes with an image compression tool that will compress JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF, and TIF files up to 5MG in size. It will also do bulk compression, and auto-compress as images are uploaded.
. Has a built-in cache – WP Optimize also has a caching engine that will temporarily store data for faster loading website loading.

4. YOAST SEO

This plugin makes it very simple to optimize your site for SEO purposes. With it, you have:
. Keyword optimization
. Title and meta description templating
. Content and SEO analysis
. Content snippet previews
. Create cornerstone content
. Bulk editing of content

5. ALL IN ONE WP SECURITY FIREWALL

This is a plugin we always use because of how many features it has, a mere handful being:
. Protection against “Brute Force Login Attacks” with a site lockdown feature
. Google reCaptcha to the login system
. User registration security features
. Database security
. File system security features
. Blacklist functionality
. Firewall features
. Comment spam monitoring
. Security scanner

Both of these plugins give you the opportunity to automatically or manually backup the entirety of your WordPress site at no cost!

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WordPress Hack Prevention

1. GET UP-TO-DATE

Updating everything on WordPress sounds daunting but can be done automatically! Insert this into your wp-config.php:

” define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true ); “

Don’t forget to put this in your functions.php:

” add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ ); ”
” add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ ); “

2. CHOOSE YOUR THEMES AND PLUGINS CAREFULLY

Simply choose plugins that have at least 40,000 installs and has a rating of at least 4/5. Make sure, however, to see if its latest update is only a few months old; otherwise it’s much easier to hack into.

3. MODERATE USERS

Make sure none of your users have access to the site that you don’t want. Also delete any old users wherever you can.

4. DISABLE WORDPRESS FILE EDITING

File editing through WordPress is a quick and easy way to make edits, but is also rendering your site susceptible to attacks. It’s best to disable this unless you don’t have FTP access by inputting the following into wp-config.php:

” define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true); “

5. PROTECT YOUR LOGIN PAGE

You should rename your wp-login.php page so that brute force attacks are practically ineffective. “All in One WP Security” does this for you for free!

6. ADD TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

This just means you either get a text or email notification sent to you so that nobody can get in unless you let them. You simply have to fill out a verification code sent to you.

7. CHANGE YOUR ADMIN USERNAME

Brute force attacks commonly use the username “Admin” to get into your site. Simply rename it so they have no extra way to get in.

8. USE SSL TO ENCRYPT YOUR DATA

SSL’s really simple to setup as long as you have a CloudFlare account and you have your DNS pointed there. Many hosting services are also starting to provide a free SSL to boot.

9. LIMIT LOGIN ATTEMPTS

“All in One WP Security” does this for you too! If a hacker has too many wrong answers when trying to login, they’ll be locked out for a certain period of time.

10. ALTER YOUR WORDPRESS DATABASE TABLE PREFIX

WordPress databases almost always start with “wp-“. Much like “wp-login” and “admin”, this makes your site easier to hack. Just rename it to something else through your hosting control panel.

11. ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR WEBSITE

Do this for free using the plugin “BackWPUp”!

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Google Search Tips That’ll Help You Find Everything

Have you ever had this situation where no matter what phrase you type into the search box, no matter how deep you dig into the result page, you just can’t get what you’re looking for? You might need some tips on how to search if so.

So here are a few Google search tips to help you find anything and everything across the web.

1. Minus operator excludes terms in the result

Use the “-“ operator to exclude the term from appearing in result.

This is especially useful for terms that are used in pop culture. In my example, if you search for ‘stitch’ without the minus operator you’ll probably be greeted by a blue alien pet dog from Disney.

2. Plus operator to include a term in the result

You can also use a “+” sign if you want the result to include another term.

3. Quotation marks for exact match

If your search term is made up of more than one word, the results might not be accurate because the search engine returns results where the terms appear separately.

So use quotation marks to get results with the exact math.

4. OR to combine searches

Use the OR (yes, in capital letters) when you want to combine search queries. This is useful in a situation where you’re looking for two terms that are similar in nature.

5. Wildcard – use asterisks to match on any words

I use this when I want to treat the targeted term as a theme, and have the result include whatever that comes along with it.

6. Search site using site:’siteurl’

When you need to search on a site but their own search function is ineffective, consider using Google instead.

7. Two dots between numbers to get a result between those numbers

Instead of typing out “from 1994 to 2001” you can just replace it with two dots, like this “1994..2001” and you’ll get results between those numbers.

8. Intitle: search only in the page title

Use this to search specifically in the title, and use quotes when your term is made up of more than a word.

9. Allintitle: search only in page title using all the terms

Use this to search specifically in the title, but using all the words in your search term.

10. Intext: search only in the body of a page

Use this to search specifically in the body, and use quotes when your term is made up of more than a word.

11. Allintext: search only in the body of a page using all the terms

Use this to search specifically in the body, but using all the words in your search term.

12. Filetype: search for a specific file type for a term

Searching for more technical or scholastic terms there are often search results that trigger a pdf download when clicked. The filetype operator can be used to specify the filetype you want to avoid such a problem.

13. Related: discover similar sites

You can use this to look for similar or related sites for the site you want. It only works on bigger websites though.

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Customer Acquisition through WordPress

You need to have convincing yet realistic strategies to help you retain and acquire customers. Luckily WordPress has many opportunities to do this plugin-wise.

‘Customer acquisition’ involves getting clients, keeping them, and growing your business.

Here are five we can recommend to you!

1. CREATE QUALITY CONTENT AND GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE

Freebie give-aways to your target consumers are a great way to get them to purchase your product/service. Doing this, you earn a certain degree of credibility as a brand that cares for its buyers. Run a blog with intriguing, relevant content; do some email marketing (it remains the most effective way to get your content noticed).

2. SEEK REFERRALS and OFFER INCENTIVES

A person’s more likely to invest in a product that’s recommended by someone they know, rather than one they get to know through marketing or advertising channels. So if you can get your existing customer pool to recommend your business to their social circle, chances of generating new leads are naturally higher. Get them to write testimonials and/or reviews of your business; even ask for direct recommendations.

In return you could provide discounts or specials.

3. BE ATTENTIVE AND RESPONSIVE

Don’t forget customer retention! Make sure you have good customer service available. Live chat can be great for this.

4. KNOW WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT

Being aware of your customers’ needs and expectations is just as important, if not more than, letting them know who you are. Know their ‘pain points’ (problems they have that your product/service can solve). Do plenty of market research to find this out and much more.

5. SOCIAL MEDIA (OVER AND OVER)

Social media is the most potent tool at your disposal to attract a wide range of potential buyers to your website with a single message. Make sure to integrate it into your site as much as possible. Provide profile links and share links thereto on every page, if possible; also make sure to automate the posting process, where your WP posts are automatically published on Facebook and beyond as well.

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Launch a WP Blog for Less than $100

So much people can do on a WordPress site for free, so it actually is quite easy to setup your blog for under $100!

STEP 1. FIND AND CHOOSE GOOD HOSTING

Don’t just keep pricing in mind – uptime is important as well. Nobody has 100% uptime, but 99.5% or above is reasonable, so on average, your site won’t be down for more than 8 minutes in every 24 hours.

Response time is a must, too. which is calculated in milliseconds. It’s the time the server takes to start sending data to a browser, which should be less than 1 second.

There are websites available to check for these things, such as HRank.com and HostAdvice.com – these websites check for these hosting qualities and more, so choosing any company from their top 10 is plenty.

STEP 2. CHECK PRICES FOR HOSTING

Most hosting services do start at a low price for the first month and then the price increases the next. Also make sure not to end up with pointless extras (site backup, for example, can be done for free using “BackWPUp”; same for security, which “All in One WP Security” and “Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall” can take care of)

STEP 3. CHECK PRICES FOR DOMAINS

Same thing can happen when you’re choosing a domain, so keep your eyes peeled for caveats. See how much it costs to get a domain through your hosting provider and compare it to getting it straight from a registrar.

STEP 4. SETUP EMAIL

Setting up email is done through your recently purchased hosting package, and this is free to do (Don’t do Gmail because that looks unprofessional).

STEP 5. INSTALL WORDPRESS AND SELECT A THEME

Most hosting providers help you setup WordPress by a mere handful of clicks, so it takes any technical stress out of the whole thing.

Next is choosing a theme, thousands of which are availabe for free. We recommend “OceanWP” which is not only free but has so much customizable features at users’ disposal.

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Boost SEO in only 5 Hours

The reason why other websites are ranking higher than you is that they are making a consistent effort to improve their SEO. Even if you’ve been focused on your site’s SEO for months, there are still a few tips and tricks to implement – in less than 5 hours – to increase your chance of higher rankings in SERPs.

Incorporate your competitor’s easiest keywords

In 2008, Google lifted the ban on bidding on competitors’ branded keywords, allowing site owners to bid against competition’s brands – as long as you don’t mention their trademarked name within your ad copy. Bidding on your competitor’s keywords will give your brand traffic that comprises customers specifically looking for a product or service that your brand and your competition offer.

Studies have shown that branded keyword phrases are 5 times more likely to convert visitors into leads; therefore, the chances of retention and conversion are very high.

To ensure success, use your competitor’s weaknesses to inform your ad copy – particularly if it’s something your brand excels at. Be sure to include eye-catching copy while maintaining keywords used by customers to find both brands. Think about it: the potential customer is specifically searching for a competitor of yours, but it will take something unique and eye-catching to potentially draw them away from the brand they already know exists.

Here’s a quick checklist for selecting which keywords to borrow from your competitors:

. Choose the easiest keywords first, i.e. those that are easy to create content for
. Choose keywords similar to your own and that you know convert well
. Choose high volume, low difficulty, high organic click-through rate.
. Optimize the page speed of your mobile site

As the digital world embraces Google’s mobile-first index, we also continue to move towards a mobile-first consumer marketplace. Now that there is lightning-fast internet connection and 5G already on the horizon, the time has never been better for the growth of mobile audiences. And with some brands still lagging, it’s an excellent opportunity to keep your brand on the front foot.

A mobile website that loads at a snail’s pace not only not only has a negative effect on user experience, but also has a negative impact on a site’s search ranking. Mobile page speed matters: more than 50% of Google’s search activity now takes place on mobile devices, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure that those searches happen quickly and conveniently, each and every time.

Large images are one of the main culprits of slow page speed for websites, and Duda was built for this very reason. Duda is a mobile-friendly web design platform for agencies to launch mobile-optimized websites in minutes. All images loaded through Duda are automatically resized and compressed, allowing web pages to render in seconds, and meaning you don’t have to worry about how images will be served to different devices. In addition to resizing these images with ImageMagick, the platform also compresses them using a process called lossy compression.

Another technique you can use to ensure that images are loaded as quickly as possible on a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Local SEO

While global SEO is indeed important, local SEO can’t be ignored. Statistics have shown that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store that same day. If your brand is not ranking for keywords in your local area, your brick and mortar business could be losing out to competitors.

Improving SEO takes time, but there are some relatively simple steps you can take to begin improving your company’s local SEO.

Making your brand visible through a variety of local listings is important to local SEO, so be sure to insert your local keywords into unique descriptions across multiple listings, ensure that your photos are current, and always include your business category.

Also actively increase the quantity and quality of links directed to your website, as they have an increasingly impacting effect on local search engine rankings. Consider giving a presentation to business students at a local college or university, lead a discussion at regional business organization meetings or publish an article online, and use those opportunities to have the associated organizations link to your company’s website.

Make sure to claim your Google My Business profile. This is a business listing that shows up for local searches, so you need to have a physical location and street address (not a P.O. box) to set up or claim a listing.

Optimizing this profile with the category, contact information, images and business hours can give a significant boost to your local SEO.

Crawl website for duplicate tags and broken links

Duplicate content issues can drop your brand’s website ranking significantly, so every business should focus on content marketing to attract more traffic to their website.

When creating content, you might encounter content duplication issues on your site, particularly if you are using a content management system such as WordPress, which is known to create duplicate pages that affect your SEO.

Fortunately, there are a variety of tools that can be used to assess duplicate content issues. Siteliner is one of the better tools available for discovering duplicate content blocks or broken links on a website, and will provide a comprehensive content analysis report for free.

Once you’ve found any content issues or linking issues, it is often quite simple to get them fixed.

Use 301 redirects

If you moved content from an old URL variation to a new URL, then you can use 301 redirects to prevent Google from seeing this as duplicate content. For example, if you have updated the page example.com/buy-cars-2017/ with content for 2018 by changing the URL to example.com/buy-cars-2018/, you can redirect the old 2017 URL variation to the updated URL.

Canonical tags

If your website has two identical content pages with different URLs, you can use canonical URL tags to let Google know which of the two pages you want to be shown in search results.

You can also use the canonical attribute when syndicating content to other websites and social platforms.

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