SEO Articles

Dofollow, Nofollow, Sponsored, UGC

Dofollow, Nofollow, Sponsored, UGC

A Change to Nofollow

Last month Google announced they were going to change how they treated nofollow, moving it from a directive toward a hint. As part of that they also announced the release of parallel attributes rel=”sponsored” for sponsored links & rel=”ugc” for user generated content in areas like forums & blog comments.

Why not completely ignore such links, as had been the case with nofollow? Links contain valuable information that can help us improve search, such as how the words within links describe content they point at. Looking at all the links we encounter can also help us better understand unnatural linking patterns. By shifting to a hint model, we no longer lose this important information, while still allowing site owners to indicate that some links shouldn’t be given the weight of a first-party endorsement.

In many emerging markets the mobile web is effectively the entire web. Few people create HTML links on the mobile web outside of on social networks where links are typically nofollow by default. This reduces the potential signal available to either tracking what people do directly and/or shifting how the nofollow attribute is treated.

Google shifting how nofollow is treated is a blanket admission that Penguin & other elements of “the war on links” were perhaps a bit too effective and have started to take valuable signals away from Google.

Google has suggested the shift in how nofollow is treated will not lead to any additional blog comment spam. When they announced nofollow they suggested it would lower blog comment spam. Blog comment spam remains a growth market long after the gravity of the web has shifted away from blogs onto social networks.

Changing how nofollow is treated only makes any sort of external link analysis that much harder. Those who specialize in link audits (yuck!) have historically ignored nofollow links, but now that is one more set of things to look through. And the good news for professional link auditors is that increases the effective cost they can charge clients for the service.

Some nefarious types will notice when competitors get penalized & then fire up Xrummer to help promote the penalized site, ensuring that the link auditor bankrupts the competing business even faster than Google.

Links, Engagement, or Something Else…

When Google was launched they didn’t own Chrome or Android. They were not yet pervasively spying on billions of people:

If, like most people, you thought Google stopped tracking your location once you turned off Location History in your account settings, you were wrong. According to an AP investigation published Monday, even if you disable Location History, the search giant still tracks you every time you open Google Maps, get certain automatic weather updates, or search for things in your browser.

Thus Google had to rely on external signals as their primary ranking factor:

The reason that PageRank is interesting is that there are many cases where simple citation counting does not correspond to our common sense notion of importance. For example, if a web page has a link on the Yahoo home page, it may be just one link but it is a very important one. This page should be ranked higher than many pages with more links but from obscure places. PageRank is an attempt to see how good an approximation to “importance” can be obtained just from the link structure. … The denition of PageRank above has another intuitive basis in random walks on graphs. The simplied version corresponds to the standing probability distribution of a random walk on the graph of the Web. Intuitively, this can be thought of as modeling the behavior of a “random surfer”.

Google’s reliance on links turned links into a commodity, which led to all sorts of fearmongering, manual penalties, nofollow and the Penguin update.

As Google collected more usage data those who overly focused on links often ended up scoring an own goal, creating sites which would not rank.

Google no longer invests heavily in fearmongering because it is no longer needed. Search is so complex most people can’t figure it out.

Many SEOs have reduced their link building efforts as Google dialed up weighting on user engagement metrics, though it appears the tide may now be heading in the other direction. Some sites which had decent engagement metrics but little in the way of link building slid on the update late last month.

As much as Google desires relevancy in the short term, they also prefer a system complex enough to external onlookers that reverse engineering feels impossible. If they discourage investment in SEO they increase AdWords growth while gaining greater control over algorithmic relevancy.

Google will soon collect even more usage data by routing Chrome users through their DNS service: “Google isn’t actually forcing Chrome users to only use Google’s DNS service, and so it is not centralizing the data. Google is instead configuring Chrome to use DoH connections by default if a user’s DNS service supports it.”

If traffic is routed through Google that is akin to them hosting the page in terms of being able to track many aspects of user behavior. It is akin to AMP or YouTube in terms of being able to track users and normalize relative engagement metrics.

Once Google is hosting the end-to-end user experience they can create a near infinite number of ranking signals given their advancement in computing power: “We developed a new 54-qubit processor, named “Sycamore”, that is comprised of fast, high-fidelity quantum logic gates, in order to perform the benchmark testing. Our machine performed the target computation in 200 seconds, and from measurements in our experiment we determined that it would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to produce a similar output.”

Relying on “one simple trick to…” sorts of approaches are frequently going to come up empty.

EMDs Kicked Once Again

I was one of the early promoters of exact match domains when the broader industry did not believe in them. I was also quick to mention when I felt the algorithms had moved in the other direction.

Google’s mobile layout, which they are now testing on desktop computers as well, replaces green domain names with gray words which are easy to miss. And the favicon icons sort of make the organic results look like ads. Any boost a domain name like CreditCards.ext might have garnered in the past due to matching the keyword has certainly gone away with this new layout that further depreciates the impact of exact-match domain names.

At one point in time CreditCards.com was viewed as a consumer destination. It is now viewed … below the fold.

If you have a memorable brand-oriented domain name the favicon can help offset the above impact somewhat, but matching keywords is becoming a much more precarious approach to sustaining rankings as the weight on brand awareness, user engagement & authority increase relative to the weight on anchor text.

Categories: google

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Image Link Building — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Image Link Building — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Last week, we took you into the future with SEO expert Britney Muller to explore link prospecting in 2021. This week, we’re going back in time — all the way to 2017 — for her concrete advice on an important part of building links: image link building.

Image link building is a delicate art. There are some distinct considerations from traditional link building, and doing it successfully requires a balance of creativity, curiosity, and having the right tools on hand. Let’s dive in! 

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 to go over all things image link building, which is sort of an art. I’m so excited to dig into this with you.

Know your link targets

So first and foremost, you need to know your link targets:

I. Popular industry platforms – top pages

What are those top platforms or websites that you would really like to acquire a link from? Then, from there, you can start to understand who might be influencers on those platforms, who’s writing the content, who might you contact, and also what are the top pages currently for those sites. There are a number of tools that give you a glimpse into that information. Moz’s OSE, Open Site Explorer, will show you top pages. SEMrush has a top page report. SimilarWeb has a popular page report. You can dig into all that information there, really interesting stuff.

II. Old popular images – update!

You can also start to dig into old, popular images and then update them. So what are old popular images within your space that you could have an opportunity to revamp and update? A really neat way to sort of dig into some of that is BuzzSumo’s infographics filter, and then you would insert the topic. You enter the industry or the topic you’re trying to address and then search by the infographics to see if you can come across anything.

III. Transform popular content into images

You can also just transform popular content into images, and I think there is so much opportunity in doing that for new statistics reports, new data that comes out. There are tons of great opportunities to transform those into multiple images and leverage that across different platforms for link building.

IV. Influencers

Again, just understanding who those influencers are.

Do your keyword research

So, from here, we’re going to dive into the keyword research part of this whole puzzle, and this is really understanding the intent behind people searching about the topic or the product or whatever it might be. Something you can do is evaluate keywords with link intent. This is a brilliant concept I heard about a couple weeks back from Dan Shure’s podcast. Thank you, Dan. Essentially it’s the idea that keywords with statistics or facts after the keyword have link intent baked into the search query. It’s brilliant. Those individuals are searching for something to reference, to maybe link to, to include in a presentation or an article or whatever that might be. It has this basic link intent.

Another thing you want to evaluate is just anything around images. Do any of your keywords and pictures or photos, etc. have good search volume with some opportunities? What does that search result currently look like? You have to evaluate what’s currently ranking to understand what’s working and what’s not. I used to say at my old agency I didn’t want anyone writing any piece of content until they had read all of the 10 search results for that keyword or that phrase we were targeting. Why would you do that until you have a full understanding of how that looks currently and how we can make something way better?

Rand had also mentioned this really cool tip on if you find some keywords, it’s good to evaluate whether or not the image carousel shows up for those searches, because if it does, that’s a little glimpse into the searcher intent that leads to images. That’s a good sign that you’re on the right track to really optimize for a certain image. It’s something to keep in mind.

Provide value

So, from here, we’re going to move up to providing value. Now we’re in the brainstorming stage. Hopefully, you’ve gotten some ideas, you know where you want to link from, and you need to provide value in some way. It could be a…

I. Reference/bookmark Maybe something that people would bookmark, that always works.

II. Perspective is a really interesting one. So some of the most beautiful data visualizations do this extremely well, where they can simplify a confusing concept or a lot of data. It’s a great way to leverage images and graphics.

III. Printouts still work really well. Moz has the SEO Dev Cheat Sheet that I have seen printed all over at different agencies, and that’s really neat to see it adding value directly.

IV. Curate images. We see this a lot with different articles. Maybe the top 25 to 50 images from this tradeshow or this event or whatever it might be, that’s a great way to leverage link building and kind of getting people fired up about a curated piece of content.

Gregory Ciotti — I don’t know if I’m saying that right — has an incredible article I suggest you all read called “Why a Visual Really Is Worth a Thousand Words,” and he mentions don’t be afraid to get obvious. I love that, because I think all too often we tend to overthink images and executing things in general. Why not just state the obvious and see how it goes? He’s got great examples.

Optimize

So, from here, we are going to move into optimization. If any of you need a brush-up on image optimization, I highly suggest you check out Rand’s Whiteboard Friday on image SEO. It covers everything. But some of the basics are your…

Title

You want to make sure that the title of the image has your keyword and explains what it is that you’re trying to convey.

Alt text

This was first and foremost designed for the visually impaired, so you need to be mindful of visually impaired screen readers that will read this to people to explain what the image actually is. So first and foremost, you just need to be helpful and provide information in a descriptive way to describe that image.

Compression

Compression is huge. Page speed is so big right now. I hear about it all the time. I know you guys do too. But one of the easiest ways to help page speed is to compress those huge images. There’s a ton of great free tools out there, like Optimizilla, where you can bulk upload a bunch of large images and then bulk download. It makes it super easy. There are also some desktop programs, if you’re doing this kind of stuff all the time, that will automatically compress images you download or save. That might be worth looking into if you do this a lot.
You want to host the image. You want it to live on your domain. You want to house that. You can leverage it on other platforms, but you want sort of that original to be on your site.

SRCSET

Source set attribute is getting a little technical. It’s super interesting, and it’s basically this really incredible image attribute that allows you to set the minimum browser size and the image you would prefer to show up for different sizes. So you can not only have different images show up for different devices in different sizes, but you can also revamp them. You can revamp the same image and serve it better for a mobile user versus a tablet, etc. Jon Henshaw has some of the greatest stuff on source set. Highly suggest you look at some of his articles. He’s doing really cool things with it. Check that out.

Promotion

So, from here, you want to promote your images. You obviously want to share it on popular platforms. You want to reach back out to some of these things that you might have into earlier. If you updated a piece of content, make them aware of that. Or if you transformed a really popular piece of content into some visuals, you might want to share that with the person who is sharing that piece of content. You want to start to tap into that previous research with your promotion.

Inform the influencers

Ask people to share it. There is nothing wrong with just asking your network of people to share something you’ve worked really hard on, and hopefully, vice versa, that can work in return and you’re not afraid to share something a connection of yours has that they worked really hard on.

Monitor the image SERPs

From here, you need to monitor. One of the best ways to do this is Google reverse image search. So if you go to Google and you click the images tab, there’s that little camera icon that you can click on and upload images to see where else they live on the web. This is a great way to figure out who is using your image, where it’s being held, are you getting a backlink or are you not. You want to keep an eye on all of that stuff.

Two other tools to do this, that I’ve heard about, are Image Raider and TinEye. But I have not had great experience with either of these. I would love to hear your comments below if maybe you have.

Reverse image search with Google works the best for me. This is also an awesome opportunity for someone to get on the market and create a Google alert for images. I don’t think anyone is actually doing that right now. If you know someone that is, please let me know down below in the comments. But it could be a cool business opportunity, right? I don’t know.

So for monitoring, let’s say you find your image is being used on different websites. Now you need to do some basic outreach to get that link. You want to request that link for using your image.

This is just a super basic template that I came up with. You can use it. You can change it, do whatever you want. But it’s just:

Hi, [first name].
Thank you so much for including our image in your article. Great piece. Just wondering if you could link to us.com as the source.
Thanks,
Britney

Something like that. Something short, to the point. If you can make it more personalized, please do so. I can’t stress that enough. People will take you way more seriously if you have some nugget of personal information or connection that you can make.

From there, you just sort of stay in this loop. After you go through this process, you need to continue to promote your content and continue to monitor and do outreach and push that to maximize your link building efforts.
So I hope you enjoyed this. I look forward to hearing all of your comments and thoughts down below in the comments. I look forward to seeing you all later. Thanks for joining us on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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The anatomy of a negative SEO attack

The anatomy of a negative SEO attack

30-second summary:

SEO can just as easily destroy websites’ rankings as it can build them up.
Newer websites or startups with smaller backlink profiles are the most vulnerable to negative SEO attacks.
Webmasters need to regularly monitor their backlink profile to make sure their site is not keeping company with any questionable web properties.
Negative SEO can be remediated through manual outreach or Google’s disavow tool, but high-quality link building campaigns are the best way to minimize the impact of low-quality links.

In the early days of search engine optimization, a variety of black-hat techniques allowed SEOs to dominate the first page of search. Cloaking, keyword stuffing, backlink spam, and other strategies could catapult websites to the first page. But those days are long gone. Google’s algorithms are extremely powerful and can easily result in a negative SEO attack. Not only will black-hat strategies no longer work – they will destroy your site’s rankings and even prevent your domain from ranking permanently. 

So for those out there on the internet who are not interested in seeing your domain move up the first page, black hat SEO is an easy way to harm your website. Many new site owners are so eager to get any backlinks that they can, they allow low-quality links to populate their profile without ever thinking about where those links are coming from, or why those other site owners linked to them in the first place. 

Negative SEO attacks are real. I’ve helped many clients recover from them. They can come from competitors, hackers, or seemingly out of nowhere, but without a quick response, a website’s reputation with search engines can be permanently harmed. 

Although Google algorithm updates or technical issues with your website can impact your keyword rankings, an unexpected drop could be a sign of negative SEO. The good news is, the anatomy of a negative SEO attack is clearly recognizable. If you take quick action, you can protect your website and minimize the damage.

The websites that are most vulnerable to SEO 

The reality is, every time your site moves up a spot in the SERPs, you knock another site down. It’s not fun to imagine that other people would use negative SEO to harm your efforts, but if you offer great service or product that could take business or traffic away from someone else, then your site is at risk.

Any website can experience a negative SEO attack, but local businesses and startups with less than 300 referring domains are the most vulnerable. The smaller your backlink profile, the more impactful any low-quality or unnatural links will be. If 50% of your links are spammy and you’re a brand new site, Google crawlers are going to look at your backlink profile and assume your site is trying to cheat your way to the top. 

For new webmasters, in particular, it’s critical to pay close attention to every backlink you acquire. This is also true when you pay for the services of a link building company. Some site owners are hesitant to pursue link building because they have had negative experiences with SEOs in the past who engaged in these spammy techniques that ended up tearing their site down rather than building it up. 

As your backlink profile grows, spammy links will not have as much of an impact on your domain authority or rankings. Still, it’s good to keep an eye on the referring domains and anchor text diversity of your backlink profile.

How to identify a negative SEO attack

There are a variety of common negative SEO techniques that people may use to harm your website. After handling negative SEO attacks with my own clients, these are the most common types I’ve come across and that I encourage webmasters to be on the lookout for.

1. Toxic backlinks

Backlinks from low-quality sites that have low domain authority, little relevance to your industry, or very little site traffic should always be suspect. If you receive a large influx of these low-quality links, they may be coming from a link farm that has the infrastructure to build a massive amount of links quickly. If you’re a new site with a large percentage of toxic links, Google will likely assume you’ve been participating in black hat manipulation.

2. Comment spam links

One way SEOs used to manipulate their site authority was by leaving backlinks in the comment section of blogs or forum sites. If you suddenly receive backlinks in the comment section of older blogs with no relevance or traffic, someone might have placed them there maliciously. If it’s an SEO agency that placed the link and you paid for it, fire them immediately. Google indexes those links in the comment section, and it will not look favorably upon your site if you have a lot of these unnatural backlinks.

3. Exact match or unnatural anchor text

Natural anchor text will most often include your brand name, the services or products your business offers, or more generic wording like, “Click Here.” If all of your anchor text has the exact keyword you’re trying to rank for, that will come across as manipulation to Google. If the anchor text is irrelevant, it will confuse Google bots about the content of your site. It’s important to pay attention to the most common ways that other sites link to yours so if new links don’t share at least some similarity, you can investigate them accordingly.

4. Fake negative reviews

Although negative reviews don’t have as drastic of an impact on your site authority as your backlink profile, Google does crawl and render those sites when considering whether to rank web pages. Local and small businesses with bad reviews, in particular, will not rank, so in addition to reviewing your backlink profile on a regular basis, site owners should also be monitoring the important review sites in their industry. Most major review sites allow you to report reviews if you have reason to believe they are fake.

There are other types of negative SEO that I haven’t listed here such as content scraping, links hidden in images, and more, but the above are very easily identified using Google Search Console or any type of backlink analyzer. Familiarizing yourself with the many ways that others may try to link to your site in a harmful way will help you be able to identify those problematic links right after they show up in your backlink profile.

How to perform negative SEO remediation

Digging yourself out of a negative SEO attack is never fun, but it can be done. If you’re being a responsible webmaster and monitoring your backlink profile regularly, you should have a solid understanding of what a healthy backlink profile for your website looks like, and will therefore be able to recognize the moment that something appears off.

If you believe that the influx of links is indeed the result of nefarious intentions, you have a few options to repair the damage, and hopefully, before Google penalizes your site. Some of these options are more expensive than others, but if you’re not an experienced webmaster, it is probably best to get the guidance of an SEO expert. If you remove the wrong links, you can end up performing negative SEO on your own website by mistake.

1. Request removal

The first step with any link is to reach out to the webmaster to ask for the link to be removed. Admittedly, this is not always successful. However, before you move on to option two, you want to make sure you have exhausted every effort to have the link removed before requesting Google to get involved. If the link was the result of comment spam, the owner of the blog may be willing to moderate or delete the comment. There have been webmasters who have charged my clients a fee to have links removed. Depending on the price you’re willing to pay, you can choose to do so or move on to other options.

2. Disavow file

In 2012, Google added the disavow tool in Google Search Console to give webmasters more agency in their off-site SEO. The reality is, no one can fully control the websites that choose to link to theirs in a harmful way, so it’s not really fair for search engines to penalize your site as a result. Google recognized this and created the disavow tool, however, they still advise site owners to use it sparingly.

A disavow file is essentially a list of links that you want invalidated on your domain, or that you don’t want Google to consider when evaluating the quality of your website. There are detailed instructions on how to submit a disavow file in the Google Search Console help center. Take note though that these links aren’t actually removed, Google just no longer takes them into consideration the next time they are crawled and indexed. If you’re using an SEO software that measures the quality of your backlink profile, you will likely have to submit the disavow file there as well if you want their metrics to accurately reflect how Google understands your site.

3. Link building campaigns

High-quality, contextual link building is different from black-hat SEO in that it uses original content to earn links on relevant, industry-specific publications. The best SEO agencies will increase site authority the right way, through techniques that are Google compliant and don’t harm your rankings in the long-term. If you are not actively trying to earn high-quality links for your website, not only are you missing out on the opportunity to improve your overall keyword rankings, you place your site in a more vulnerable position. If you pursue consistent link acquisition and build up a healthy backlink profile before a negative SEO attack occurs, you are more well-positioned to avoid a Google penalty.

It is certainly frustrating and unfair when negative SEO occurs, but there is really nothing that a webmaster can do to prevent it. So in the case of negative SEO, preparation is the best medicine. Knowing what to look for will help you be more prepared to take immediate action and minimize the damage. 

Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning digital marketing and SEO agency that provides SEO, paid media, and content marketing services. He is also the founder and CEO of SearchAtlas, a software suite of free SEO tools. You can find Manick on Twitter @madmanick.

The post The anatomy of a negative SEO attack appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Ahrefs Review: The Ultimate SEO Guide to Follow in 2020

Ahrefs is one of the most powerful SEO tools on the market. Today, I’m going to show you how you can use it to your organic traffic advantage (and start getting better SEO results). I love this tool and don’t know how I could function as an SEO without it. That’s why I’m going to …

Read moreAhrefs Review: The Ultimate SEO Guide to Follow in 2020

The post Ahrefs Review: The Ultimate SEO Guide to Follow in 2020 first appeared on Gotch SEO.

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HTTP to HTTPS in WordPress – Complete User Guide

HTTP to HTTPS in WordPress – Complete User Guide

The moment Google announced HTTPS as a ranking boost in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), all popular browsers started terming HTTP sites as “Not Secure” (from July 2018). That was the day when HTTPS started becoming a necessity instead of a priority.

The main motto of Google is to provide a secure environment to its users, and as per  SangFroid Web, more than 70% of the users prefer to visit HTTPS sites.

With the rise in the e-commerce industry, sensitive data like credit card information, bank account numbers, passwords, etc. are shared in abundance on the internet daily. The convenience of web shopping sitting at homes or office desks in any part of the world, attracts many visitors.

As per Sleeknote, e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 Trillion at the end of 2020. To protect customer sensitive data of your e-commerce store or any other online transactions, SSL security is a must.

This article will talk about what SSL is, its functioning, and how to move your HTTP site (unsecured site) to an HTTPS site (secured site) in WordPress..

What is SSL & HTTPS? How does it Function?

SSL (Secure Socket Layers) is a digital certificate that uses encryption security to secure your website data and information.

This digital certificate encrypts all communications exchanged between browser and website, keeping it safe from prying eyes.

Installation of this certificate on a website shows a padlock in the URL along with HTTPS in the address bar.

The majority of the sites nowadays start with HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) instead of HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).

Both these signals state that the site is secured enough and helps maintain the privacy of customer transactions.

The Functioning of SSL:

Exchange of information between browser and web server is encrypted with the help of an SSL certificate. But many visitors have questions on the functioning of the SSL certificate. They are:

How does the encryption and decryption process work?
How does the plain text get coded into ciphertext and later again converted into plain text on the receiving end?

SSL security algorithms work on encryption and decryption theory. The ciphertext from the encryption process is hard to decode, and only the sender and receiver can decrypt or translate the text. That’s the main reason why cyber-thieves abandon sites with SSL certificates because they are unable to decipher the sensitive information.

Two keys shown in the above picture are used in the encryption-decryption process. They are the public key and the private key.

The message’s sender replaces the plain text with a coded text (numbers and letters) using the public key. To get the correct information of the coded text, the receiver should have the private key sent by the sender, for the decryption process. Without the correct algorithm key, the message cannot be decrypted.

Even in unfortunate circumstances, when the public key is compromised, the message is still safe, because the unknown hacker does not have the private key to decrypt the information.

The SSL certificate has all information regarding the domain name, company name, address, city, state, and country, including the CA name, and expiry date.

Why is it essential to shift website from HTTP to HTTPS in WordPress:

Secure Sensitive Information:

Your e-commerce store handles thousands of online transactions daily, and hence it becomes all the more essential to secure credit card information, login credentials, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.  

HTTP sites where SSL certificate is not installed are easily susceptible to malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, etc.

Customers trust sites with SSL certificates installed when they make financial dealings, and get an assurance about their data security.

Symbol of Trust:

Trust, Trust & Trust. Since SSL certificates provide robust encryption security and are SHA-2 enabled, they prove to be a trust symbol. Their encryption standards i.e., 256-bit encryption and 2048-bit digital signatures, prevent cyber-criminals from gaining control over customer sensitive data.

Also, browsers like Chrome have started labeling “Not Secure” on Http sites, which is a significant drawback for business.

Another added advantage is that SSL certificates come with trust badges as shown in the above picture. These trust logos are visible on all the pages of your WordPress website.

HTTPS displays Authenticity:

Research indicates that almost 90% of the customers are worried about internet privacy of transactions, and hence the importance of HTTPS cannot be challenged.

Not only does HTTPS prove trustworthy, but its padlock displays the authenticity of your WordPress website and ensures network traffic protection.

Search Engine Visibility:

When Google announced HTTPS as a ranking factor in SEO, it was hellbent of providing a secure web experience to its customers. This move of shifting sites from HTTP to HTTPS by Google, for customer benefit, has led to an increase in the importance of HTTPS.

HTTPS helps boost SEO rankings and makes your site all the more visible to visitors.

Protects your Site, Products, and Data:

HTTP ensures a secured browsing experience and secures your site and products from internet thieves. When encryption security is not enabled on the site, it becomes easy for unauthorized sources to access your information.

Apart from protecting customer data, it also protects online retailers and prevents identity fraud too. Hence HTTPS sites are far safer than HTTP sites because they minimize the risks of online business.

Increase in Website Speed:

HTTPS is undoubtedly faster than HTTP sites. Just check out on https://www.httpvshttps.com/, which states that HTTPS has a slightly fast page load speed and hence is another favorable factor for SEO.

Page load speed is also a ranking factor in SEO, and hence HOBO indicates that 53% of the visitors abandon sites having more page load speed (more than 3 seconds).

Since HTTPS’s importance is established, let’s check out the steps involved in shifting the site from HTTP to HTTPS.

Steps required for shifting the website from HTTP to HTTPS in WordPress:

Website Backup:

Before making any major transformation to your site, website backup is an essential process. Though it may be lengthy and time-consuming, depending on your site content, images, and pages, it’s worth the time and money.

Advantages:

Safeguards human error
Prevents data loss
Help take care of Malware Infections
Protection against cyber-attackers
Ensures continual Revenues
Reduces damages

There are many more advantages and many website backup services available, which may help you keep your website safe and secure.

Order &Purchase SSL Certificate:

You need to Buy an SSL certificate and purchase the same from a reputed Certificate Authority for your WordPress website.

Steps:

Set up your server for SSL installation
Update your WHOIS record with the correct information i.e., company name, address, contact number, email id, etc.
Generate the CSR request on the server
Submit the CSR and other required information to the CA
Get your company and domain name validated
Receive your SSL certificate and Install the same

Free SSL and Paid SSL certificates are available in the market. Consider your business requirements and select your SSL wisely.

Install SSL Certificate:

Many business owners are hesitant to spend on SSL certificates. Many WordPress hosting companies offer free SSL to their customers. Let’s Encrypt is one such Certificate Authority that provides free SSL certificates.

BlueHost, HostGator, WP Engine, etc are some WordPress Hosting Companies that offer free SSL certificates along with their hosting plans.

WordPress offers free SSL plugins like Really Simple SSL, SSL Zen, Auto-Install Free SSL, etc. for securing your website with encryption.

Installation Process:

Login to Web Host Manager (WHM)
Enter User name and Password
In your WHM homepage, click SSL/TLS button
In SSL/TLS button, click Install an SSL certificate on a Domain
Type your Domain name in the Domain name field
Input your certificate file
Later click Install.

Your SSL certificate is successfully installed on your WordPress website.

Many cheap SSL certificate providers provide paid SSL certificates in different validations i.e. DV, OV &EV. Install SSL certificate from ClickSSL, and get the best discounts on SSL certificates.

Configuring HTTPS in WordPress Admin Area& Update Site Address:

To change your WordPress website URL from HTTP to HTTPS you need to follow the below steps.

Login in WordPress Dashboard
Later go to Settings > General
Check whether the WordPress URL and Site URL is HTTPS or not. If not, add HTTPS in both the URL as shown in the image below.

Later click Save.
Go to site’s wp-config.php file and defineForce_SSL_Admin to true

This command will force all logins, URLs, and admin sessions to move over SSL.

Change URL links in Content, Images, and Templates:

Old HTTP links can lead to errors in your site. While migrating a website from HTTP to HTTPS, many times, it may happen that some links related to images, videos, templates, etc. are not processed,; which may lead to Mixed Content Error.

Dr. Link Check is one such Checker tool for locating all HTTP links on your site. To know more about this tool, click here.

Set 301 Redirects in .htaccess:

The main purpose of setting 301 redirects is to forward visitors directly to the secured version. For that, a command needs to be written in the .htaccess file located in the WordPress root directory.

Since this file is hidden by default, unhide all files in the WP root directory and click .htaccess.

Write the below mentioned command in the file.

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursite.com [NC,OR]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yoursite.com [NC]

RewriteRule^(.*)$ https://www.yoursite.com/$1 [L,R=301,NC]

This will land all visitors on the secured HTTPS version of your WP site. It is essential to ensure that duplication of pages (in both versions) does not prevail, to benefit SEO.

SSL Test:

SSL Server Test is used for checking whether your SSL certificate is installed properly or not. Insert your domain name in the hostname and click “Submit”.

You will get a summary of the overall rating of your website including issues needed for fixation.

You can also use the SSL Checker tool, to diagnose SSL installation problems.

Update your Site Environment:

Last few steps for completing the transfer procedure from HTTP to HTTPS are:

Update the sitemap, add in robots.txt file and update all the links
Add the HTTPS version of your website to all the webmaster tools, upload the new sitemap.
Update your CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Switch the new version in Google Analytics in Admin > Property Settings > Default URL.

Submit your HTTPS version to Google Search Console:

For Google, HTTP and HTTPS versions are 2 different websites. You need to inform this search engine giant that your website has been moved to HTTPS to gain SEO benefits too.

Process:

Go to Google Search Console account, click “Add a property button”
Add new HTTPS address of your website in the popup
Verify the ownership of your website with multiple options given in Search Console

To know more about the same, click here.

HTTPS Troubleshooting Tips:

A few things need to be taken care of post the shifting process.

Mixed Content Error:

Though minute details are taken care of while moving the site from HTTP to HTTPS, there may be a few non-secure links on secured pages. This may give the Mixed Content Error message.

Install and enable the SSL Insecure Content fixer to track down the links and fix the error. Detailed information on resolving Mixed Content Error in WordPress is available on here.

Wrapping Up:

Being a website owner, you need to ensure that your website and network traffic are secured from cyber-criminals. This tutorial will give you a complete picture of the importance of SSL certificate, how to install it, how to move your site from HTTP to HTTPS, things to be taken care of, and how to resolve errors or queries in the transfer process.

I hope this guide suffices in making your site more secure by successfully adding HTTPS and SSL, thus giving a secured environment to your visitors.

The post HTTP to HTTPS in WordPress – Complete User Guide appeared first on WP Fix It.

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18 Actionable WordPress Tips for Content Optimization

18 Actionable WordPress Tips for Content Optimization

WordPress is among the most popular formats for producing a website. Roughly 37 percent of all websites on the internet use WordPress to produce their website.

And while WordPress offers bloggers, business owners, and top brands to develop and present their website in a spectacular method, WordPress won’t optimize your website automatically ye WordPress Optimization is critically important.

There is any number of things you can do to help optimize your website bot for the reader as well as the all-mighty search engine algorithms.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Choose the right hosting plan

Okay, in point of fact, this tip isn’t restricted to WordPress sites. It applies to every website no matter how it’s coded.

But a WordPress website that is fast loading is probably the number one tip that all webmasters can agree on.

If you choose a hosting plan where you share your website with another of other websites on the same hosting favour, while you’ll pay less overall, you want your website, no matter how big it is, or how many images or videos you feature, to load within 2 seconds.

Why 2 seconds? Because 47 percent of all customers will expect it, that’s why. And a significant percentage of people will just stop waiting for the site to load over 3 seconds.

While loading speed is significantly affected by some of the other tips involved,

the speed of the server you are using from your host is the most significant factor.

Spend the money to get a hosted site that is fast, and test it often to be sure that

it continues to be fast.

2. Is select the right WordPress Theme

There are thousands of WordPress Themes, most of them free. Unfortunately, many WordPress Themes are coded badly. Choose the right WordPress theme for speed.

Bad coding leads to slowdowns. In general, you want a very fast loading WordPress theme, and perhaps one that is unique and is used by fewer people. This means to consider buying a premium WordPress theme which may have a lot of added features that you won’t get with a free site, and on top of that, you will generally get great customer support.

3. Be careful with the plugins

While plugins can be useful, the vast majority of plugins will significantly slow down your website. Remember, in terms of speed. even milliseconds count.

First, ask yourself carefully, whether any plugin you install is really needed? Then have your website administrator test the loading speed of your website with and without the plugin.

If there is a slowdown, how much? If it’s significant, it better be a heck of a plugin to justify a slower loading website.

4. Empty your trash

This is a common mistake. WordPress comes with a trash bin. And every comment, review, or deleted content that you delete remains in that trash bin until you empty it out.

Go through your trash bin often and save only items that you might truly need later. Get rid of everything else, otherwise, it slows your website delivery down.

5. Get rid of the junk

If you have any type of forum, not only are you likely to experience your share of spam, but also duplicate posts, or revisions, all of which take up plenty of space.

There are certain types of software available to make these routine cleaning tasks automatic and they are well worth the money.

6. Optimize your images

Images are critical to a good website as nobody wants to read just plain type. However, images take up a lot of space.

There are a lot of software programs, many of them free which will significantly compress images while at the same time maintain focus and clarity. Also, simple conversions of a GIF to a PNG file will save data.

Besides compressing images, be sure to rename your files. For example, an image might be labelled IMG_0365.JPG. You may have a perfect idea of what that image is, but Google’s search engines don’t have a clue. Instead, change the name from IMG_0365.JPG to Joe Biden Walking on the Beach and Google’s bots know and can label it.

Whenever possible, use keywords in your image descriptions. And use alt descriptions.

7. Use keywords

Keywords, used in your titles, your subheads, your image files, and graphic files, as well as through your copy are a key part, perhaps the number one part of having your content being found and ranked by Google and other search engines.

Google and other search engines use their own algorithms so that when some customers do a search such as “Best Barbecue place in Austin, Texas, hopefully, Google can quickly search through all of the content to answer the question.

Keywords are a critical part of that search function. The use of keywords is an art in itself, and you will find 65 million results just by typing in the words using keywords for SEO.

Perhaps more money is spent on keyword research than any aspect of Search Engine Optimization.

You can hire local SEO services to do it for you, use tools such as Google analytics, or buy special software that will analyze your keywords and the words of your competitors.

But regardless of how you do it, do analyze and carefully use keywords.

One word of caution though, don’t be caught keyword packing. Google and other search engines will actually downgrade your ranking by overusing keywords. Most SEO experts recommend stick to about 5 keywords.

8. Check your website’s visibility

This is a simple one but sometimes missed. When you are developing your WordPress site, but are only half done, you don’t want visitors coming and seeing a partially complete website.

As a result, WordPress allows you to turn off the visibility of your website until it’s complete. Unfortunately, sometimes people turn it off and forget to turn it back on.

If your website is not showing up in Google rankings, even when you type the exact name of your website into the search, 9 times out of 10, this is the reason why.

9. Use a friendly SEO URL

Supposing you have created a magician’s website that teaches people how to create the illusion that your female assistant is being sawed in half.

A simple URL like https://www.wpbeginner.com/how-to-saw-a-magicians-assostamt in half

leaves no doubt about the subject matter.

However, if you use a URL like https://www.wpbeginner.com/?p=10467, Google has no idea from the URL what the topic is.

10. Verify Your Site with Google Search Console & Submit Your XML Sitemap

Want to know how Google views your website? Of course, you do, and the Google Search Console is the way. It’s a free service and very valuable. To attach the service to your website, go to your Google account, click on the Google Search engine console website, and complete the necessary information.

Google will start tracking the information about your website almost immediately but you will need to verify ownership of the website by supplying certain information from your domain name provider, which you can obtain only from your domain name providers website.

11. Use Optimized Page Headings

The title of your website should be labelled with the H1 Html tag to tell Google what it’s all about.

To avoid confusing Google, use only one H1 Tag. If there are multiple H1 tags, the purpose of the title is confusing.

Do use H2 through H6 tags as necessary, however,

12. Utilize caching to reduce the number of requests on your server

Whenever a customer goes to your website your entire content is called up for your customer to access. Caching allows the memory in your server to remember this request, and if a customer comes back to your website a second or third time, the server does not have to serve up a fresh copy of the request but already has the request available on file.

Caching is fairly easy in WordPress as there are several great plugins that will take care of it. without any problem whatsoever, many of them absolutely free. This is one plugin you absolutely need.

13. Minimize your text files

Content optimization isn’t just about improving website speed and performance with graphic compression tools. You can also compress your website’s files and coding.

When people code, they naturally use spaces to make coding easier to find and understand for others at the back end of your website.

Here’s an example of a typical CSS code snippet:

#blue {

font-size: 1em;

color: blue;

}

Notice all the spaces that make it easy for a human to read. However, in machine language, all of those spaces are not necessarily.

You can just as soon do without all those spaces resulting in:

#bluefont-size:1em;color:blue;}

There are programs to compress your site’s coding and although in the sample provided, the elimination of perhaps a dozen spaces here and there may not seem like much, over the course of a several hundred lines of code, the server processing your website will flow at a significantly faster speed.

14. Use a content delivery network to deliver large files.

A Content Delivery Network uses different proxy servers to spread geographically to supply data. By having servers as close to the customer as possible, you definitely speed up delivery, particularly for large files such as video.

Not every hosting service provides a content delivery network as it involves having servers in multiple locations around the world, but particularly where you are dealing with lots of large files or dealing with customers from all over the world, having access to a content delivery network is a terrific way to speed things up, even if you have to pay more to your hosting company for the privilege.

15. Always Keep Your Plugins, Themes, and WordPress Software Updated

Things in WordPress move fast and there are often updates to plugins, themes, or WordPress software.

The vast majority of these updates are to fix security issues, one reason why you want to update as soon as possible.

However, keeping everything updated will also make your website run faster. Also, make sure you have updated and are using the latest version of PHP.

By continually updating, you ensure the core WordPress Software and the themes and plugins are totally compatible.

16. Delete unused WordPress Themes and plugins

Many WordPress customers will experiment with different WordPress themes and plugins in order to find the best website for their use.

That’s perfectly okay, however, many people fail as part of their regular site maintenance to eliminate any unused WordPress themes and plugins, which naturally results in a slower website.

Delete everything you don’t need, but at the same time be sure and make back-up copies to ensure you don’t delete anything you truly want.

17. Clean up your media files and library

The older a WordPress site, the more likely there may be hundreds of media files you no longer used but are clogging up your server.

Fortunately, there are plugins for that too, plugins that will go through your files and identify every media image not being used on your website and then dumps them in the trash bin.

Once this takes place, you need to go through the trash bin and verify every file that needs to be deleted when you empty your trash.

Naturally, if you have 800 media files in your trash until you delete them entirely, they will still slow down your website, but you can readily recover any file you wish to save.

18. Use Excerpts

By default, WordPress displays the full content of every article and archives. Every savvy WordPress user knows that most people scan websites predominantly and only read the article of interest.

So instead of loading a full article everywhere on your website, use highlighted excerpts, enough to give the reader enough information whether they really want to read the article or not.

Remember, although other web pages are also affected by speed, it’s your homepage that has to be particularly fast. Once people are intrigued with your content on your homepage, they will generally wait longer for a subsequent page or archive it.

Hopefully these were some great actionable WordPress tips that you can use to drive more traffic to your website.

The post 18 Actionable WordPress Tips for Content Optimization appeared first on WP Fix It.

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