9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/6kfpOUZdUCU/

website-hacker.jpgThis is a post by ProBlogger SEO expert Jim Stewart

While WordPress is a relatively secure platform, it can still be hacked. In fact, out of the 11,000 hacked websites Securi analyzed in 2016, 75 percent of them were running WordPress.

If your WordPress site has been hacked, fear not. By following these tips you can fortify your site and kick wannabe hackers to the kerb.

And provided you act quickly, your WordPress site’s SEO traffic—and even its reputation—can recover within 24 hours.

Here’s what you need to do.

Tip #1: Kick Out the Malware

The first step towards getting your site back into Google’s top SERPs is to make sure it isn’t harbouring hidden malware – malicious code the hacker has inserted into your site. If you don’t, all your repair efforts will be wasted. Worse still, you could end up infecting the computer of anyone who visits your website.

And while you’re at it, get rid of any spam, installed content or other suspect material you find.

Tip #2: Add Your WordPress Site to Google Search Console

Next, make sure you’ve entered your website into the Google Search Console (GSC). It will reveal your site’s overall status, and help you understand which URLs on your site are being affected by the hack. You can even use it to take down your site’s blacklisting.

Of course, you should already have GSC set up for your site as it can help enormously. But it can be especially useful when your site has been hacked. For example, it can send you a warning email when the message “This site may harm your computer” appears in Google’s search results — a sure sign your site has been hacked. Just make sure the email address it gets send to is one you monitor regularly.

You’ll need to go through a submission process to assure Google your site has been fixed and you’ve removed all malicious code. They will then remove the message from their search results.

Tip #3: Request a Malware Review

Google can review your WordPress site for malware and unwanted software. It’s a simple process, and it’s definitely effective. Navigate to the Google Search Console “Security Issues” report and request a review.

Tip #4: Download These Plugins

Once you’ve started recovering your website’s rankings, you should download a couple of plugins that are conducive to long-term security. Check out:

Sucuri SiteLock Wordfence

These plugins can secure your website from all angles, and give you complete control over unwanted visitors, admin permissions and keyword tampering.

However, try to minimize the number of plugins on your site. The fewer you have, the less chance there is of your site’s security being compromised.

Another option is to use a combination of Cloudflare (which hides your site’s actual IP address, making it harder for hackers to find) and a secure host such as WP Engine.

The post-hacking pick-up process is a long one. But it’s not impossible to overcome.

Tip #5: Find Out How You Were Hacked

If you’re dealing with a WordPress website hack, you need to understand how you’re being hacked. Narrow down the options, and look for inconsistencies. Ask yourself:

Is my WordPress site being directed to another website? Does my WordPress site have any illegitimate links? Has Google marked my website as Insecure?

These factors all play a major role. Once you’ve answered each questions, contact your hosting company. If your weak point was a plugin, remove it and protect your site from that vulnerability.

Tip #6: Clean up your Index

If your site has been infected with irrelevant pages, they can dilute your content and affect your rankings. Google may not recognise the hack, and take them into account when ranking your content. And if that content weakens your original content authority, your rankings will suffer.

These pages usually contain links that divert traffic away from your site. And it can be difficult to understand why why your rankings are dropping if they’re still being indexed.

To fix the problem, you need to isolate and manually remove the URLs from your index. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. Just go to Search Console, and under the Google Index section select ‘Remove URLs’.

And once they’re gone, you’ll need to monitor any crawl errors and re-submit your site maps.


Example of a Government site that has been hacked and cached by Google.

Tip #7: Move to a Secure Host

Your blog’s first line of defence begins with strong security from a robust hosting provider. That’s why we recommend WP Engine. It has exceptional security, and won’t let you install plugins that could compromise the security of your site.

Tip #8: Protect Other Avenues of Entry

If you’re using shared hosting, your other websites may have also been affected. So talk to your provider, and see if they can  identify any backdoors that may have led to your website being hacked. They may even be able to set up an additional login step that hides the real login page.

And don’t forget to change your passwords.

Tip #9: Consider Restoring your WordPress Site

Always keep backups of your WordPress site so you have the option of restoring it if necessary. If your WordPress blog is updated daily, you may have lost a lot of blog posts, comments and other content. If that’s the case, you may need to consider restoring it from a recent backup.

Even if you haven’t lost much content, it may still be worth restoring an earlier version to ensure your site isn’t harbouring unwanted content, visitors or other material.

You may also want to invest in an online security scanner, which can identify any WordPress files that have been compromised.

If you’d rather do it yourself check these files on your WordPress site:

Header.php Index.php Footer.php Function.php wp-config.php .htaccess

You should also check your uploads and wp-includes directories.

Replace any compromised files, and if necessary reinstall the WordPress core files. But be careful. And stay up to date with WordPress’ new features, updates, bug fixes and news.

Chances are you’ve put a lot of work into both the design and the content of your website. So make sure you protect it by following these tips.

But always remember that if the worst comes to worst and your site is hacked, it’s not the end of the world. And with a bit of hard work you can recover your site and your Google rankings.

The post 9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


3 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/lZIEROwY3uk/

make-blog-post-conversational.jpg

This post is by ProBlogger writing expert Ali Luke

You’ve probably heard that your blog posts need to be “conversational”.

You may also have been told why: to create a sense of connection with your reader, keep them engaged, and make your blog sound less like a lecture and more like a discussion.

That’s all true. But making your writing “conversational” can be tricky – especially if you come from a business or academic writing background.

If your blog posts tend to sound a little dry and stilted, here are three simple ways to change things.

#1: Talk Directly to Your Reader

Write your post as if you’re talking a specific reader. Picturing an actual person may help – someone you know in real life, or who comments on your blog. You could even imagine you’re emailing them, or writing a Facebook post or comment.

And use words like “I” and “you”, even though you were probably taught not to at school or work. When you’re blogging it’s totally fine to write from your personal experience, and to invite the reader to step into your post.

Here’s an example from Jim Stewart’s post 9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack. (I’ve highlighted each use of “you” and “your”.)

If your WordPress site has been hacked, fear not. By following these tips you can fortify your site and kick wannabe hackers to the kerb.

And provided you act quickly, your WordPress site’s SEO traffic—and even its reputation—can recover within 24 hours.

This is clear, direct writing that speaks to the reader’s problem. And it’s easy to read and engage with: it’s almost like having Jim on the phone, talking you through fixing things.

Note: As Jim does here, always try to use the singular “you” rather than the plural “you”. Yes, you hopefully have more than one reader. But each one will experience your blog posts individually. Avoid writing things like “some of you” unless you’re deliberately trying to create a sense of a group environment (perhaps in an ecourse).

#2: Use an Informal Writing Style

All writing exists somewhere on a spectrum from very formal to very informal. Here are some examples:

Very formal: Users are not permitted to distribute, modify, resell, or duplicate any of the materials contained herein.

Formal: Your refund guarantee applies for 30 calendar days from the date of purchase. To request a refund, complete the form below, ensuring you include your customer reference number.

Neutral: Once you’ve signed up for the newsletter list, you’ll get a confirmation email. Open it up, click the link, and you’ll be all set to get the weekly emails.

Informal: Hi Susan, could you send me the link to that ProBlogger thingy you mentioned earlier? Ta!

Very informal: C U 2morrow!!!

With your blogging, it’s generally good to aim for an informal (or at least a neutral) register, as if you were emailing a friend. This makes you seem warm and approachable.

Typically, you’ll be using:

Contractions (e.g. “you’ll” for “you will”) Straightforward language (“get” rather than “receive” or “obtain”) Chatty phrases (“you’ll be all set”) Possibly slang, if it fits with your personal style (“thingy”, “ta!”) Short sentences and paragraphs Some “ungrammatical” features where appropriate (e.g. starting a sentence with “And”)

You might want to take a closer look at some of the blogs you read yourself. How do they create a sense of rapport through their language? How could you rewrite part of their post to make it more or less formal? What words or phrases would you change?

#3: Give the Reader Space to Respond

Conversations are two-way, and that means letting your readers have a say too. If you’ve decided to close comments on your blog, you may want to consider opening up a different avenue for readers to get involved, such as a Facebook page or group.

When you’re writing your post, don’t feel you need to have the last word on everything. You don’t have to tie up every loose end. It’s fine to say you’re still thinking about a particular subject, or that you’re still learning. This gives your readers the opportunity to chime in with their own expertise or experiences.

Often, you can simply ask readers to add to your post. For instance, if you’ve written “10 Great Ways to Have More Fun With Your Blogging”, ask readers to contribute their own ideas in the comments. Some people won’t feel confident about commenting unless explicitly invited to do so, ideally with a suggestion of what they could add (e.g. “What would you add to this list?” or “Have you tried any of these ideas?”)

On a slightly selfish note, if you’re not sure about the value of comments, remember it’s not just about your readers getting more out of your blog. Some of my best blog post ideas have come from a reader’s suggestion or question in a comment. And many other comments have prompted me to think in a more nuanced way about a particular topic.

There’s no one “right” way to blog, and some blogs will inevitably be more conversational than others. If you’d like to make your own posts a bit more conversational, though, look for opportunities to:

Use “you” and “I”. Talk directly to your reader, and share your own experiences where appropriate. Make your language fairly informal. Don’t worry about everything being “correct” – just let your voice and style shine through. Open up the conversation by inviting readers to comment, or encouraging them to pop over to your Facebook page (or join your Facebook group).

Have you tried making your blog more conversational? Or is it something you’re just getting started with? Either way, leave a comment below to share your experiences and tips.

Christin Hume

The post 3 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


3 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/FOwb-1nRBZs/

make-blog-post-conversational.jpg

This post is by ProBlogger writing expert Ali Luke

You’ve probably heard that your blog posts need to be “conversational”.

You may also have been told why: to create a sense of connection with your reader, keep them engaged, and make your blog sound less like a lecture and more like a discussion.

That’s all true. But making your writing “conversational” can be tricky – especially if you come from a business or academic writing background.

If your blog posts tend to sound a little dry and stilted, here are three simple ways to change things.

#1: Talk Directly to Your Reader

Write your post as if you’re talking a specific reader. Picturing an actual person may help – someone you know in real life, or who comments on your blog. You could even imagine you’re emailing them, or writing a Facebook post or comment.

And use words like “I” and “you”, even though you were probably taught not to at school or work. When you’re blogging it’s totally fine to write from your personal experience, and to invite the reader to step into your post.

Here’s an example from Jim Stewart’s post 9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack. (I’ve highlighted each use of “you” and “your”.)

If your WordPress site has been hacked, fear not. By following these tips you can fortify your site and kick wannabe hackers to the kerb.

And provided you act quickly, your WordPress site’s SEO traffic—and even its reputation—can recover within 24 hours.

This is clear, direct writing that speaks to the reader’s problem. And it’s easy to read and engage with: it’s almost like having Jim on the phone, talking you through fixing things.

Note: As Jim does here, always try to use the singular “you” rather than the plural “you”. Yes, you hopefully have more than one reader. But each one will experience your blog posts individually. Avoid writing things like “some of you” unless you’re deliberately trying to create a sense of a group environment (perhaps in an ecourse).

#2: Use an Informal Writing Style

All writing exists somewhere on a spectrum from very formal to very informal. Here are some examples:

Very formal: Users are not permitted to distribute, modify, resell, or duplicate any of the materials contained herein.

Formal: Your refund guarantee applies for 30 calendar days from the date of purchase. To request a refund, complete the form below, ensuring you include your customer reference number.

Neutral: Once you’ve signed up for the newsletter list, you’ll get a confirmation email. Open it up, click the link, and you’ll be all set to get the weekly emails.

Informal: Hi Susan, could you send me the link to that ProBlogger thingy you mentioned earlier? Ta!

Very informal: C U 2morrow!!!

With your blogging, it’s generally good to aim for an informal (or at least a neutral) register, as if you were emailing a friend. This makes you seem warm and approachable.

Typically, you’ll be using:

Contractions (e.g. “you’ll” for “you will”) Straightforward language (“get” rather than “receive” or “obtain”) Chatty phrases (“you’ll be all set”) Possibly slang, if it fits with your personal style (“thingy”, “ta!”) Short sentences and paragraphs Some “ungrammatical” features where appropriate (e.g. starting a sentence with “And”)

You might want to take a closer look at some of the blogs you read yourself. How do they create a sense of rapport through their language? How could you rewrite part of their post to make it more or less formal? What words or phrases would you change?

#3: Give the Reader Space to Respond

Conversations are two-way, and that means letting your readers have a say too. If you’ve decided to close comments on your blog, you may want to consider opening up a different avenue for readers to get involved, such as a Facebook page or group.

When you’re writing your post, don’t feel you need to have the last word on everything. You don’t have to tie up every loose end. It’s fine to say you’re still thinking about a particular subject, or that you’re still learning. This gives your readers the opportunity to chime in with their own expertise or experiences.

Often, you can simply ask readers to add to your post. For instance, if you’ve written “10 Great Ways to Have More Fun With Your Blogging”, ask readers to contribute their own ideas in the comments. Some people won’t feel confident about commenting unless explicitly invited to do so, ideally with a suggestion of what they could add (e.g. “What would you add to this list?” or “Have you tried any of these ideas?”)

On a slightly selfish note, if you’re not sure about the value of comments, remember it’s not just about your readers getting more out of your blog. Some of my best blog post ideas have come from a reader’s suggestion or question in a comment. And many other comments have prompted me to think in a more nuanced way about a particular topic.

There’s no one “right” way to blog, and some blogs will inevitably be more conversational than others. If you’d like to make your own posts a bit more conversational, though, look for opportunities to:

Use “you” and “I”. Talk directly to your reader, and share your own experiences where appropriate. Make your language fairly informal. Don’t worry about everything being “correct” – just let your voice and style shine through. Open up the conversation by inviting readers to comment, or encouraging them to pop over to your Facebook page (or join your Facebook group).

Have you tried making your blog more conversational? Or is it something you’re just getting started with? Either way, leave a comment below to share your experiences and tips.

Christin Hume

The post 3 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/XmZj2OEI1ec/

website-hacker.jpgThis is a post by ProBlogger SEO expert Jim Stewart

While WordPress is a relatively secure platform, it can still be hacked. In fact, out of the 11,000 hacked websites Securi analyzed in 2016, 75 percent of them were running WordPress.

If your WordPress site has been hacked, fear not. By following these tips you can fortify your site and kick wannabe hackers to the kerb.

And provided you act quickly, your WordPress site’s SEO traffic—and even its reputation—can recover within 24 hours.

Here’s what you need to do.

Tip #1: Kick Out the Malware

The first step towards getting your site back into Google’s top SERPs is to make sure it isn’t harbouring hidden malware – malicious code the hacker has inserted into your site. If you don’t, all your repair efforts will be wasted. Worse still, you could end up infecting the computer of anyone who visits your website.

And while you’re at it, get rid of any spam, installed content or other suspect material you find.

Tip #2: Add Your WordPress Site to Google Search Console

Next, make sure you’ve entered your website into the Google Search Console (GSC). It will reveal your site’s overall status, and help you understand which URLs on your site are being affected by the hack. You can even use it to take down your site’s blacklisting.

Of course, you should already have GSC set up for your site as it can help enormously. But it can be especially useful when your site has been hacked. For example, it can send you a warning email when the message “This site may harm your computer” appears in Google’s search results — a sure sign your site has been hacked. Just make sure the email address it gets send to is one you monitor regularly.

You’ll need to go through a submission process to assure Google your site has been fixed and you’ve removed all malicious code. They will then remove the message from their search results.

Tip #3: Request a Malware Review

Google can review your WordPress site for malware and unwanted software. It’s a simple process, and it’s definitely effective. Navigate to the Google Search Console “Security Issues” report and request a review.

Tip #4: Download These Plugins

Once you’ve started recovering your website’s rankings, you should download a couple of plugins that are conducive to long-term security. Check out:

Sucuri SiteLock Wordfence

These plugins can secure your website from all angles, and give you complete control over unwanted visitors, admin permissions and keyword tampering.

However, try to minimize the number of plugins on your site. The fewer you have, the less chance there is of your site’s security being compromised.

Another option is to use a combination of Cloudflare (which hides your site’s actual IP address, making it harder for hackers to find) and a secure host such as WP Engine.

The post-hacking pick-up process is a long one. But it’s not impossible to overcome.

Tip #5: Find Out How You Were Hacked

If you’re dealing with a WordPress website hack, you need to understand how you’re being hacked. Narrow down the options, and look for inconsistencies. Ask yourself:

Is my WordPress site being directed to another website? Does my WordPress site have any illegitimate links? Has Google marked my website as Insecure?

These factors all play a major role. Once you’ve answered each questions, contact your hosting company. If your weak point was a plugin, remove it and protect your site from that vulnerability.

Tip #6: Clean up your Index

If your site has been infected with irrelevant pages, they can dilute your content and affect your rankings. Google may not recognise the hack, and take them into account when ranking your content. And if that content weakens your original content authority, your rankings will suffer.

These pages usually contain links that divert traffic away from your site. And it can be difficult to understand why why your rankings are dropping if they’re still being indexed.

To fix the problem, you need to isolate and manually remove the URLs from your index. Fortunately, it’s easy to do. Just go to Search Console, and under the Google Index section select ‘Remove URLs’.

And once they’re gone, you’ll need to monitor any crawl errors and re-submit your site maps.

qld-justice-hacked.jpg

Example of a Government site that has been hacked and cached by Google.

Tip #7: Move to a Secure Host

Your blog’s first line of defence begins with strong security from a robust hosting provider. That’s why we recommend WP Engine. It has exceptional security, and won’t let you install plugins that could compromise the security of your site.

Tip #8: Protect Other Avenues of Entry

If you’re using shared hosting, your other websites may have also been affected. So talk to your provider, and see if they can  identify any backdoors that may have led to your website being hacked. They may even be able to set up an additional login step that hides the real login page.

And don’t forget to change your passwords.

Tip #9: Consider Restoring your WordPress Site

Always keep backups of your WordPress site so you have the option of restoring it if necessary. If your WordPress blog is updated daily, you may have lost a lot of blog posts, comments and other content. If that’s the case, you may need to consider restoring it from a recent backup.

Even if you haven’t lost much content, it may still be worth restoring an earlier version to ensure your site isn’t harbouring unwanted content, visitors or other material.

You may also want to invest in an online security scanner, which can identify any WordPress files that have been compromised.

If you’d rather do it yourself check these files on your WordPress site:

Header.php Index.php Footer.php Function.php wp-config.php .htaccess

You should also check your uploads and wp-includes directories.

Replace any compromised files, and if necessary reinstall the WordPress core files. But be careful. And stay up to date with WordPress’ new features, updates, bug fixes and news.

Chances are you’ve put a lot of work into both the design and the content of your website. So make sure you protect it by following these tips.

But always remember that if the worst comes to worst and your site is hacked, it’s not the end of the world. And with a bit of hard work you can recover your site and your Google rankings.

The post 9 Tips for Recovering Your Google Rankings After a Site Hack appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


194: 5 SEO Tools for Bloggers

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/WnNrPUlTYic/

5 Blogger SEO Tools

In today’s episode, I’ve got Jim Stewart from StewArtMedia back on the show to talk about SEO tools to help you to rank your blog higher.

I had Jim on the show back in episode 94 to talk about the biggest mistakes bloggers make with SEO and since that time have had a lot of questions in the Facebook group about what tools to use in SEO.

So in this episode we talk a little about the most commonly advised tool – the Yoast plugin, as well as two great browser extensions that are useful in SEO.

We also talk about Google’s Search console and how it’s really an essential thing all bloggers should be using.

We then talk about the paid tool that Jim recommends to help you find broken links, identify duplicate content, build sitemaps and much more.

In passing we talk about an issue that faces many bloggers – what to do if you’ve got multiple posts on the one topic competing with each other in Google!

Lastly we touch on Google’s most recent updates and how they are impacting bloggers. You’ll want to listen to this part especially if you do affiliate marketing!

Resources on 5 SEO Tools for Bloggers Yoast SERP Trends Stylish Browser Extension User Styles maker of Stylish Google Search Console Screaming Frog Jim’s Site Jim’s Course Jim’s Facebook Group ProBlogger Facebook Group Listen to our previous interview with Jim on the 5 Mistakes bloggers make with SEO and what to do about them Link to the article Jim mentioned on setting up the Stylish extension

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view  Darren: Hi there, my name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com. A blog, podcast, event, job board and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you to grow a blog, a profitable blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com.

                    In today’s episode, I’ve got Jim Stewart from Stew Art Media back on the show to talk about search engine optimization tools to help you to rank higher in Google. I had Jim on the show back in Episode 94 to talk about blogging mistakes or mistakes bloggers make from an SEO perspective. Since that time, we’ve had a lot of questions in our Facebook group and via email about tools to use in SEO and that’s what today’s show is about.

                    We talked about five different tools that you can use in your blogging to help you to rank higher in Google, particularly. We talk about Yoast, the most common tool that gets mentioned. A little bit about how to set that up and what to particularly pay attention to. We talk about two browser extensions, free browser extensions that are both useful in SEO tools that Jim uses every day in his own SEO.

We also talked about Google Search Console and how essential it is for bloggers. I know it can be quite overwhelming, Google Search Console, but it is so important to have it set up and to be monitoring that. Then, we talked a little bit about a paid tool that Jim recommends to help you find broken links, identify duplicate content to build sitemaps, and a lot more.

                    Towards the end of the conversation, we talked a little bit about a really common issue that I find a lot of bloggers are facing. That is when you’ve been blogging for a while and you have posts, multiple posts that are all trying rank for the same search term. Jim gives us some ideas on what we can do there to help one of those to get a higher ranking.

                    Lastly, we talked a little bit about Google’s most recent updates and how they’re impacting bloggers. If you are an affiliate marketer, if you’re doing any kind of affiliate marketing, you want to listen to that last part of the interview as well.

                    It’s not a long show today. You can find it over on iTunes as well, if you wanted to go for a walk and listen to it. You can also find the show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/194.

                    Lastly, join our Facebook group because I do regularly update in there all our new episodes and blog post over on the blog. A couple of new posts a week and we’re having some great discussions in there at the moment. You can find the Facebook group at problogger.com/group. Okay, let’s get into today’s show. Hey Jim, welcome back to the ProBlogger podcast.

Jim: Hey Darren, thanks for having me.

Darren: Yeah. It’s always good to chat. It’s been about 90 episodes since we had you on. He was on at Episode 94. We did 5 Mistakes Bloggers Make with SEO. A very popular episode according to my stats so I thought it was time to get you back on and to talk about tools. Every time I ask people in our Facebook group what they want to learn about, search engine optimization come up and what tools should we be using because there’s so many tools being sold and available on SEO. I thought it would be good to come back to that topic. Is that cool?

Jim: Yeah, very cool.

Darren: The number one advice that everyone always gives when it comes to SEO tools is install Yoast, the plugin for WordPress.

Jim: Yeah, exactly.

Darren: I thought maybe if we start there and you can tell us a little bit about, for those who don’t know about it, what it is, also, what do you then do with it? Do you just install it and then it just looks after itself? What do we need to do once we’ve installed it?

Jim: Any of these SEO tools, they’re not going to make you rank number one. What they’ll do though is help you get you site in order, basically. Yoast is probably the most used in that category.

                    Originally, it was only available for WordPress. I think there’s been a Drupal version as well. Basically what it does, there’s two sides to Yoast. There’s what I call the site configuration side and then there’s a post level side.

                    The post level side is probably the part of Yoast that most people are familiar with. It gives you some guidelines on how many, whether these pages optimize for a particular keyword and has these little lights and codes to guide you into writing a post that’s optimized.

                    We don’t use that side of it. We don’t use that post level side of it. It’s good when you want to get started. It helps you understand some of the concepts behind getting a page ranked. The main reason that we use Yoast is to stop Google crawling things we don’t want it to. These can be things like archives or they might be tag pages. A lot of bloggers will use tags so that people can easily find posts with a keyword that posts are focused on.

That sounds great, but what happens a lot of the time is that people will tag a post. There might only be one post that has that tag. Let’s just say you might have a tag called teddy bears and you have one post with that tag. That tag page is basically then just duplicating the post that you tagged so you’ve got two versions of your post. You’re showing them both to Google and that’s duplication. The problem with that is that Google doesn’t know which one to rank and it makes it hard and can be confusing for the user.

We use Yoast to get rid of a lot of those things. It easily allows you to edit things like no index tags to pages that you don’t want indexed. It allows you to easily set up Google sitemaps and Bing sitemaps. They’re really important to help the search engines find the content on the site. There are other plugins that you can get to do sitemaps and things but Yoast is really nice because it allows so much flexibility over that side of things.

Darren: Excellent. There are a few things you need to I guess tweak. Once you’ve got it installed, where would you suggest people look for those?

Jim: One of the big things that people should do is make sure that they’re not allowing Google assign their titles and methods. You got to make sure that you’re not letting Google crawl things like attachment pages where you might have attached a piece of media to a page and then there’s another page created just with that image on it. Yoast allows you to switch that off so Google can’t crawl that because it’s just a page with an image on it, which is no value to anyone.

                    Make a decision about your tag pages in the text on a meet area. I would usually, for a WordPress site, not let Google index archives, tag pages, and for some sites categories as well but that depends on how you’re using categories. For the most part, those areas, you can sight just another replication of another post or whatever. You don’t need them to crawl post. You don’t need Google to index them twice. Yeah, that’s where I’d start.

Darren: We’ll link to some further reading on Yoast and setting it up in the show notes today as well. What other tools do you use? Let’s start with some free ones for bloggers because a lot of our readers are on a budget. They haven’t got a lot to spend on the SEO but any tools that you would suggest that they just have installed on their computer on their browser?

Jim: Yes. There’s two that I use all the time. Here, it’s maybe a way of the different analysts like different tools. For me, I really like one called SERP Trends which does a few things. The thing that I use it for is that it numbers every result in the search results. We have our search results page in Google set to 100 results whereas Google usually just has 10. The reason that we do that is so we can find sites that are languishing or where are they today? Are they’re moving up? Are they moving down?

This allows us to quickly say what number they are. Just a simple thing, it just numbers each result. It will tell you, “The last time you did this search, it’s gone up or down from when the last time we do the search.” You can also see sites that you’re competing with, how they have moved since the last time you’ve done this search as well. It’s a simple tool and it gives you one measure but it’s really easy to use and it’s just a plugin for Chrome.

Darren: I think it’s also on Firefox. I was just looking at their page. It’s just an extension really for Firefox, for Chrome?

Jim: Yes, it would be.

Darren: I use this one and it is interesting. You do have to keep doing the search.

Jim: Yes, exactly.

Darren: Basically it’s looking at every search that you do and then keeping a record of where things are ranked at that point the last time you searched. Would you be doing that search every day? Do you have a list of things that you search for everyday just so that you can monitor with that?

Jim: Yeah, definitely. For instance and sometimes several times a day, like if we’ve made changes during the day and re fetched it, told Google to go and refetch the page, we’ll go and have a look at it a few hours later. We use it all the time.

                    The only caveat on that is that it’s important to remember, this is sometimes a difficult concept for people to understand, is that ranking doesn’t actually happen until the request is made. A page is not ranked in the search results until someone actually makes that request. There’s no predetermined rank because the reason for that is that the search result depends on who’s doing the search, where they’re doing the search, and when they’re doing the search.

                    If for instance you’re in Melbourne today and then you go to New York tomorrow, you’re going to get different results on those different jurisdictions. Just keep that mind.

Darren: Yeah. It’s not like you’re ranking number three for wedding photography in the world. It used to be a lot more global, didn’t it?

Jim: Yeah, definitely.

Darren: Back in the day, if you rank number one for something, you are pretty much ranking almost everywhere for it.

Jim: Yeah.

Darren: That was nice in some ways. Okay, so that’s our SERP Trends which we’ll link too in the show notes. You mentioned another one you use?

Jim: Yeah, Stylish. Stylish is actually another plugin for Chrome. I think there’s probably one for Firefox as well. It is a design tool so it allows you to basically put a little bit of code to highlight different things on a page when you hit them.

What we use it for is highlighting where heading tags are on a page because what happens with a lot of themes, this is the H1s, Hs2, and H3s. A lot of themes don’t use those as they were intended. They’re designed as the description suggest, they’re heading tags. Headings on posts and subheadings on posts, and those sorts of things. That’s how we like to see them used because that’s good document structure.

What this tool does is it shows you on a page, if you can figure it in this matter. I’ve got a bit of code which I will give you. It’s on a blog post so you can share.

Darren: Yup, we can link to that.

Jim: It allows you to quickly easily see where a heading one tag is. Sometimes with some things, you’ll see that you have a heading one tag on every page and it might be a logo, which really isn’t a good use of a heading tag because there are no words in a logo. Obviously, it’s a picture so it doesn’t make sense to have it in a heading tag.

                    It highlights things like that that you can see. Sometimes you’ll have the H5s all down one side on all your widgets, which really doesn’t help Google understand what the page is about because you’re using the heading tags inappropriately. We’ll tend to ignore them in that situation.

                    If you can use a tool like this to see where your heading tags appear in your site around, you can start to use them in a way that helps Google understand what the pages are about.

Darren: Just for those who don’t really understand heading tags from an SEO perspective, they are telling Google what your site is about and H1 carries more weight, I guess. Is that a simple way of saying it?

Jim: Yeah. I try to explain it to people, think of it as a good document structure. If you’re writing a Word document, you might have a heading one at the start of the document. That’s a title.

Darren: It’s the title.

Jim: Yeah. You’ll have subheadings and they’ll be H2s. If you have a subheading of the H2, becomes a H3, it becomes indented. That’s the same thing for a web page or a blog post.

                    Having that structure is good for the user to read but it also helps machines understand the importance of what’s following in the content.

Darren: That’s a tool called Stylish. I just looked it up. userstyles.org is the people who made it. For me, Install Chrome came up but I suspect it will come up depending what browser you’re using with a different option there. Again, we’ll link that in show notes.

                    You also touched on when we’re talking early at Google Search Console. This is something that I know a lot of bloggers look at and they become incredibly overwhelmed. I don’t really know what to do. Can you give us the beginners guide to the Google Search Console? What do we do with it and how important is it if we sign up for that?

Jim: It’s incredibly important to sign up for that. It’s basically telling you everything that Google knows about your website. It’s telling you, “This is the only place you can get this data. You can’t get in Google Analytics. There’s nowhere else you can find this information.” It’s basically Google saying, “Here’s everything that we know about your site.”

                    It does a lot of things. It will tell you speed, it will tell you errors on your sites, it will tell you what’s being indexed on your sites. It’s where you put your sitemaps after you’ve used Yoast to set them up.

The most important thing I think bloggers should look at because it can be a real eye opener, especially if you’ve been blogging for awhile and you haven’t looked at this, go and look at this because it’s going to open up some massive opportunities for you and specifically the area you should look at is Search Analytics.

                    Have a look in Search Analytics because that will tell you all the keywords that people have been typing in and that your site has appeared for. It not only tells you if someone has clicked, but it will tell you if your site has just appeared and they haven’t clicked.

                    For instance, I was looking in a blogger site this morning. I’ve just found about another 30,000 or 40,000 potential clicks per month we can get to the site just by optimizing two phrases. They’re on bottom of page one for those phrases.

What the Search Analytics shows is that there are so much opportunity because I can see how many impressions they’re up a month. They’re getting maybe 5% of that. It allows you to go and see those. You can see opportunities. You can also see which posts are driving that keyword traffic. You can pick a keyword and then go and have a look at all the pages that have appeared when someone has typed that in.

                    For instance, as the case with the blogger this morning, you might look, let’s just say a chocolate truffle recipe. You might go and have a look at the word in Search Analytics and you find that there’s actually three or four pages all ranking for that phrase. Basically what that does, it dilutes the authority of one page. In the case of the blogger this morning, they had 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. They had five pages ranking for this one phrase. That would be the only site that had multiple pages.

What our job now is to funnel the authority to one page so Google ranks that one page higher. We’re not dispersing the authority across five pages. We wouldn’t have known to focus on that or even go and search for that had we not looked in Search Analytics, because it wasn’t a phrase, the one we’re looking at this morning, that the blogger said they really want to rank highly for that. It was only because we had a look at Search Analytics and we looked at the volume of search. You can use tools like AdWord Planner and those sorts of things as well to get keyword volume.

When you see it in your own site ranking, you can go and then drill down and see which post it’s ranking for. You can see the position over time, over the last 90 days, it gives you a much better idea. That’s really in your face and you can sort this data any way you want. If you like data, you’ll love Search Analytics.

Darren: Yeah. There’s so much to dig into there. It can be overwhelming. Do go and make sure you’ve got your site is set up and begin to dabble in there a little bit. It is probably the only place you ever get a message from Google?

Jim: Sure, sure, sure.

Darren: I’m looking in there now. I can see a few months ago, we got an alert that we were getting a lot of 404 errors. We wouldn’t have known that if Google hadn’t told us. If there is a problem with your site or if you’re being penalized, I think they’ll let you know in there. This is a good place to go digging if you do notice that you’re getting a lot less search traffic because the answer might actually be there waiting for you.

Jim: Exactly. It’s a good idea to explore that because that data only lasts 90 days. It’s a 90 day window, basically. It’s a good idea to explore it so you’ve got a point of reference and then you can go back and look back at that data as well.

Darren: Great. If our listeners have a little bit of money to spend on search engine optimization, what tool, if you had to choose one, would you recommend they go and have a look at and begin to use?

Jim: Just spend money on, you’d have to say Screaming Frog. There is a free level of access. There’s a lot of rank tracking tools out there but they can be a little bit inconsistent in the data that they provide, because Google’s constantly changing the algorithm.

There are a lot of paid tools. We’re just switching with one of our paid tools at the moment because the data on the one we’re currently using has become unreliable. That’s not uncommon. It’s a tough job building ranking tools. Don’t spend a lot on your ranking tools but you may have to spend some money and just keep double checking and cross checking the results.

Darren: Okay.

Jim: Screaming Frog is the big SEO tool though. There is a free level access that will only do I think 500 pages now. The yearly rate isn’t cheap, I think it’s ?£100 sterling a year, something like that.

Darren: ?£149.

Jim: It just went up. Okay. It’s not a cheap tool but it is the best one out there. If you are using it, one of the things that is invaluable, that you can just do quickly, you do a crawl of your site and then you just sort by status code. That will bring up any broken links that you’ve got on your site. You’ll see them quickly. You’ll see things like redirects that are happening in your site quickly. It is a very complex tool but it can give you some very, very simple valuable information as well.

Darren: It’s basically a Crawler. I’m just going off of their page, you find broken links, auto redirects, discover duplicate content, review robots and directives, integrates it with your Google Analytics, and generate sites maps as well. It does do some things there that if you are wanting to take that SEO to the next level, it can really help, particularly that finding the broken links. It’s tough to find those.

Jim: Yeah, yeah, I know. You gotta start somewhere. That’s probably the best tool for it. Also, just on that duplication, one of the things that we look at as well is finding duplicate titles throughout the sites. You might have written a post five years ago and then you got to write another post on the same topic again. You don’t realize but you’ve used just very, very similar page title.

Darren: Interesting. Just on that question, you mentioned that example before of a blog at ranking for four or five different things. I suspect particularly niche blogs, a lot of bloggers would have that issue of having written almost the same article five times over ten years.

Jim: Yup.

Darren: How are you going to approach fixing that for that particular blogger? Is that a matter of deleting some of those post or linking from one to another? What’s the strategy that we should be looking at there?

Jim: Initially, usually what we will do is, for instance, the one this morning was, it’s just about those recipes. There were five different recipes ranking for this one recipe because they had similar ingredients basically. What we would say in that situation is, “Well, there’s only one of those pages that really is accurate for the user for that particular search.” That’s what we take it back to.

It’s like, “For this search, which page is best for the user?” Then, we would call that our target page for that phrase. Then, we would look at those other posts and say, “Okay, how can we put a little bit of information in here for the reader if they’re interested in our target page post? What do we want to say?” And then we’d link to that tagged page post.

                    For instance, in the case of recipes, I would say, “Hey, if you’re interested in the savory version of this, then here’s the page.” We just put that at the end of the post or whatever. By that, it doesn’t only help the user, it gives Google a better idea of that this page over here is important as far as you’re concerned for the user.

Darren: Sure.

Jim: I don’t like to delay content unless it’s not getting any traffic. If it’s not getting any traffic, it doesn’t have any traffic, it’s up to you how to want to judge that. For me, if it doesn’t have any traffic for six months, I’m probably going to delete that post because I can’t see adding any value. I think that’s a better experience for the user as well because they’re not finding posts that are of no interest or whatever else.

Darren: Sure.

Jim: Usually we will use interlinking strategies. We will look at that tag, a page and say, “Can it be further optimized for this page? Are we just using descriptive file names, images, and those sorts of things? Is the name of the post exactly what the people are searching for? Is there a difference between singular and plural and all those sorts of things?” Typically, we try to make the tagged page more authoritative, and then link from the other pages to that page.

Darren: Great. Work out what you want to rank for, what’s most useful, link to that from the other places and optimize that page the best that you can.

Jim: Yup.

Darren: Yeah, excellent. Last question, not really tools related but it came in our Facebook group a couple of times in the last week, it’s around Google’s latest updates. Can you give us a really quick update on what Google seemed to be doing there and how it might impact bloggers?

Jim: Yeah. A lot of quality type stuff. When I talk quality, I mean is this a good experience or bad experience for a user? There was someone in your group that got hit back in March. I lost that 80% of the traffic overnight.

It was an update that Google rolled up but didn’t announce, and was probably multiple updates. What we found was for that particular blog, was that they were overusing keywords in all the headings. Pretty much every post had a key phrase in every main heading and every subheading.

Like what we were talking about before, they would have the keyword in the H1s, the H2s, the H3s. It was just overly optimized. He went through and he basically called one of the key phrases that he was using and all his rankings and traffics came back. That was globally too.

The other one that we’ve seen is affiliate marketing. If you’re doing a lot of outbound affiliate links, just be careful that they’re not deceptive. The ones that we’ve seen drop have been once where you’re just reading this article and you click through to this thing, and you don’t know it’s an affiliate link. It’s not clear it’s an affiliate link.

It looks like Google was punishing those sites. Because when they took away the affiliate links, their rankings came up. That isn’t to say you cannot have affiliate links but just don’t be deceptive that, “Hi, I’m independent.” Make it clear. There might be a relationship.

Darren: Yup, which is legal anyway.

Jim: Yeah, there you go.

Darren: Yeah, very good. Thanks for that.

Jim: Alright.

Darren: You have your own Facebook group. As much as we keep promoting people to come and join, we actually quite often recommend yours as well. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that? Where people can find it?

Jim: Yeah. It was after PB Event last year, I came away thinking, “Oh, I need to set up a group to go further in depth with SEO because we’ve got a short course at the moment as well.” The idea of the group is just throw your site in there, tell us what you’re doing, what problems you’ve got. We do live training in there as well. It’s all free. We do have paid products if you just want to cut the chase.

Darren: Yup.

Jim: Yeah, we’ll go and have a look at your site. There’s a team of 20 of us here in the office and if I can’t get to the site, someone else will.

Darren: That’s great. That’s called the Bloggers SEO Support. I’ll link to that in our show notes as well. Our listeners can also find you at stewartmedia.com.au.

Jim: Correct.

Darren: You mentioned a course as well. What’s the course?

Jim: Yeah. bloggersseo.com, you can head across to bloggersseo.com. That’s where we’ve got the training there. Basically it’s a system. It’s a step by step system where you can first of all work out what’s wrong with your site, and then have the tools to know how to fix it.

Darren: Excellent. I will link to that in the show notes as well. I am not an affiliate so I’m just placing that so Google doesn’t penalize me.

Jim: I should make you one.

Darren: There we go. Well, maybe by the time this episode comes out. Thanks so much, Jim. I appreciate your time today. We’ll get you on in another 90 episodes.

Jim: No worries. Thanks, Darren.

Darren: Thanks man.

Jim: Okay, bye.

Darren: I hope you enjoyed listening to today’s show with Jim Stewart. You can find Jim and more of what he does over at stewartmedia.com.au and his Facebook group, Bloggers SEO Support. I’ll be linking to Jim’s site, his course, his Facebook group over on the show notes today. It’s at problogger.com/podcast/194.

You can also find the other episode that I did with Jim over in Episode 94. It actually was 100 episodes exactly since I last had Jim on the show. You can find that one at problogger.com/podcast/94 or back in iTunes as well.

Lastly, do check out our Facebook group at problogger.com/group. We’re almost at 5,000 members. We do a weekly live video into the group. We have some great discussions every week. We’re doing some challenges and do some monthly accountability stuff as well. If you are looking to connect to other bloggers, to learn from them, to share what you know about blogging, that’s important as well, do head over to the group, do a search on Facebook for ProBlogger community or hit the problogger.com/group.

I look forward to chatting with you next week in Episode 195 where I’m pretty sure we’re going to be talking about a tool that we use at ProBlogger on creating an editorial calendar. That helps us to really work as a team together but also plan the content that we are creating. I’m going to have Leni on the show who works with me on the ProBlogger team to talk about this particular tool. Look forward to chatting with you next week on the ProBlogger podcast.

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The post 194: 5 SEO Tools for Bloggers appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


The Site Speed and SEO Connection

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/ormCT-cngY4/

From ProBlogger SEO expert Jim Stewart of Bloggers SEO

Last year the Australian retailer Booktopia gave a presentation where they shared that speeding up their page load times by 1 second, equated to an extra $600,000 on the bottom line.

Today, speed matters. Turning your blog into a highly optimised, relevant, platform takes time. Fortunately, SEO has shortened the distance between blog owner and reader. In 2017, users will ‘reject’ websites that don’t stack up, speed-wise. While acceptable load page times range from .5 seconds to four seconds, most support a 1.5-second load time for continuous success.

Today’s top 20 websites have lead times under this at less than one second, and they’re only getting faster. So, how can you make your site rank higher, perform faster, and remain popular? SEO, still, is the answer. It’s also an incredibly reliable one.

Speed and SEO: What’s the Connection?

The Googlebot crawls sites independently, judging their worth based upon several factors. Of these factors, site speed is the easiest to control. Speed, itself, is derived from the time it takes between site clicks and views. If your website is fully optimised, it’ll take only half of a second to load. Google research suggests that pages can lose as much as 40 percent of traffic when they take over three seconds to load; a powerful SEO option is unbeatable. Simply put; you need to clear your database—and often. Having a fast database will speed up the site. There are many quality WordPress database cleaners available. I recommend the rvg database optimiser plugin that is a simple ‘One-click’ WordPress database cleaner and optimiser that assists you in crucial tasks such as deleting old posts, optimising database tables, and creating optional log-files.

How Can You Measure Speed?

Because speed is an all-important website factor, it’s important to check it often. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights, entering your page’s URL to check its response speed. Once it’s been analysed, you’ll be presented with a page report. This report assesses your page and delivers a rating out of 100, taking into account factors such as user experience, and makes suggestions for faster speeds. Each recommendation is clickable, linking you to additional advice. You can also use Google Search Console’s Crawl Stats report. Under crawl stats, you will see a green line graph. This is the average speed it takes the Googlebot to download a page. Try to get this under an average of 500ms.

Further Optimisation

Once you have your SEO plan, optimised the database, and have created a speed benchmark, you should further boost your site’s speed by making sure you have a good workflow for optimising images. So many blogs upload huge images when they don’t need to. Make sure the images you upload have a resolution no larger than what they need to be displayed. I have seen thumbnail images on a webpage that were huge files just because they were not re-sized before upload. With images, you can also use compression plugins such as WP Smush that will compress the files once you have uploaded them.

Render Blocking

When you use PageSpeed Insights, you’ll most likely see a reference to “render-blocking.” This is referring to code that is stopping the page from rendering until it has been executed. Usually JavaScript but CSS as well. Often these can be moved in the code, say to the footer, so that the user gets to see the page quickly and then the JavaScript does its thing in the background.

Hosting

There are many ways of optimising your page’s speed. That said, few come close to the power of hosting your WordPress site with WP Engine. They offer today’s best-in-class customer service, which is vital to website upkeep. WP Engine is built on EverCache, an architecture that creates reliable, scalable sites. Remember: Your site’s visitors are an impatient bunch. If your site loads slowly, they’ll seek business elsewhere. The EverCache platform helps sites run up to six times faster, using effective front-end technology. All WP Engine users benefit from the enterprise-grade software capable of continuously improving a website.

A Step Above the Rest

Note: We’re hearing a lot of very good things about WPEngine if you’re looking for hosting of an established site with more traffic (or want to position yourself for that in the future). They are more expensive but, as WordPress specialists, they are doing some great things for bloggers. Use ProBlogger’s partner link and you’ll get 2 months free when you sign up for an annual plan.

WP Engine is also designed for completely scalable WordPress hosting. Its proprietary, front-end build operates upon a slew of carefully designed rules. Each rule is continuously checked for maximum performance, so you don’t need to worry about outdated solutions. Offering one of the best caching mechanisms available, WP Engine also reduces server load. Really, it’s a win-win situation in terms of boosting speed. By being instantly accessible while handling high concurrent traffic numbers, WP Engine isn’t only one of the fastest-working options around—it’s one of the most reliable.

At the end of the day, your website’s speed will determine its memorability, popularity, and use. Forty seven percent of consumers, in fact, expect a web page to load in under two seconds.

The post The Site Speed and SEO Connection appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


The Site Speed and SEO Connection

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/wYpBZSp9LWc/

From ProBlogger SEO expert Jim Stewart of Bloggers SEO

Last year the Australian retailer Booktopia gave a presentation where they shared that speeding up their page load times by 1 second, equated to an extra $600,000 on the bottom line.

Today, speed matters. Turning your blog into a highly optimised, relevant, platform takes time. Fortunately, SEO has shortened the distance between blog owner and reader. In 2017, users will ‘reject’ websites that don’t stack up, speed-wise. While acceptable load page times range from .5 seconds to four seconds, most support a 1.5-second load time for continuous success.

Today’s top 20 websites have lead times under this at less than one second, and they’re only getting faster. So, how can you make your site rank higher, perform faster, and remain popular? SEO, still, is the answer. It’s also an incredibly reliable one.

Speed and SEO: What’s the Connection?

The Googlebot crawls sites independently, judging their worth based upon several factors. Of these factors, site speed is the easiest to control. Speed, itself, is derived from the time it takes between site clicks and views. If your website is fully optimised, it’ll take only half of a second to load. Google research suggests that pages can lose as much as 40 percent of traffic when they take over three seconds to load; a powerful SEO option is unbeatable. Simply put; you need to clear your database—and often. Having a fast database will speed up the site. There are many quality WordPress database cleaners available. I recommend the rvg database optimiser plugin that is a simple ‘One-click’ WordPress database cleaner and optimiser that assists you in crucial tasks such as deleting old posts, optimising database tables, and creating optional log-files.

How Can You Measure Speed?

Because speed is an all-important website factor, it’s important to check it often. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights, entering your page’s URL to check its response speed. Once it’s been analysed, you’ll be presented with a page report. This report assesses your page and delivers a rating out of 100, taking into account factors such as user experience, and makes suggestions for faster speeds. Each recommendation is clickable, linking you to additional advice. You can also use Google Search Console’s Crawl Stats report. Under crawl stats, you will see a green line graph. This is the average speed it takes the Googlebot to download a page. Try to get this under an average of 500ms.

Further Optimisation

Once you have your SEO plan, optimised the database, and have created a speed benchmark, you should further boost your site’s speed by making sure you have a good workflow for optimising images. So many blogs upload huge images when they don’t need to. Make sure the images you upload have a resolution no larger than what they need to be displayed. I have seen thumbnail images on a webpage that were huge files just because they were not re-sized before upload. With images, you can also use compression plugins such as WP Smush that will compress the files once you have uploaded them.

Render Blocking

When you use PageSpeed Insights, you’ll most likely see a reference to “render-blocking.” This is referring to code that is stopping the page from rendering until it has been executed. Usually JavaScript but CSS as well. Often these can be moved in the code, say to the footer, so that the user gets to see the page quickly and then the JavaScript does its thing in the background.

Hosting

There are many ways of optimising your page’s speed. That said, few come close to the power of hosting your WordPress site with WP Engine. They offer today’s best-in-class customer service, which is vital to website upkeep. WP Engine is built on EverCache, an architecture that creates reliable, scalable sites. Remember: Your site’s visitors are an impatient bunch. If your site loads slowly, they’ll seek business elsewhere. The EverCache platform helps sites run up to six times faster, using effective front-end technology. All WP Engine users benefit from the enterprise-grade software capable of continuously improving a website.

A Step Above the Rest

Note: We’re hearing a lot of very good things about WPEngine if you’re looking for hosting of an established site with more traffic (or want to position yourself for that in the future). They are more expensive but, as WordPress specialists, they are doing some great things for bloggers. Use ProBlogger’s partner link and you’ll get 2 months free when you sign up for an annual plan.

WP Engine is also designed for completely scalable WordPress hosting. Its proprietary, front-end build operates upon a slew of carefully designed rules. Each rule is continuously checked for maximum performance, so you don’t need to worry about outdated solutions. Offering one of the best caching mechanisms available, WP Engine also reduces server load. Really, it’s a win-win situation in terms of boosting speed. By being instantly accessible while handling high concurrent traffic numbers, WP Engine isn’t only one of the fastest-working options around—it’s one of the most reliable.

At the end of the day, your website’s speed will determine its memorability, popularity, and use. Forty seven percent of consumers, in fact, expect a web page to load in under two seconds.

The post The Site Speed and SEO Connection appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/i2wXYv9PPsE/

How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well

In the final part of our three-part series on the What, Why and How of SEO and how it can be used to improve your blog’s rankings, we’ll be exploring how SEO can help your blog rank well.

Ranking well in the major search engines means added visibility for your blog. Visibility should eventually turn into conversions, so you are making money by learning SEO. The rules change often. The major search engines, led by Google, generate somewhere in the neighbourhood of 90% of all web traffic on the Internet. New viewers are much more likely to find your blog through Google than through any other medium, including friendly word of mouth. Obviously, ranking well is of vital importance!

Learning the nuances of how SEO helps the search engines rank pages can be incredibly helpful for SEO noobs. Once you learn the basic rules of why other blogs are winning, you can modify your strategies to win as well! Here are the ways that SEO can help your blog rank well.

Natural Organisation / The Macro theme

The major search engines are always looking to provide the most relevant results to its audience. To this end, Google created an unofficial ‘trust’ system, that takes into account a site’s trust, authority and expertise. The purpose is to give greater visibility and rankings to sites that are widely acknowledged as leaders or authorities in their chosen fields. While it has to be said that no one can say with certainty the metrics used to determine ‘authority’ it is thought to be based on aspects such as your social presence and quality of links that your site receives. It is Google’s way of recommending a site, or piece of content, that it determines would best answer a search query.

Part of SEO is learning how to organise your blog around relevant keywords so that the search engines associate your entire blog with an overall theme. Blogs that skip around from dog food to beach living to auto parts will find it difficult to rank for any of those subjects.

In Australia we have a saying: “jack of all trades, master of none.” The same applies to your blog. The blog that picks one subject and talks about every nuance of it will gain more visibility by becoming an authority on the subject. Creating a theme (the macro theme) is your first discipline when learning SEO.

Relevant Keywords in Individual Blogs

Within a macro theme, the search engines are looking to drill down even more. In order to provide even better results for their audiences, the search engines will place special relevance on blogs that answer a specific query. What are people asking about? Local topics and specific questions. As you write your blogs, you should look to answer specific questions in each of your pieces. This is what people are looking for, and if the search engines match your topic to a popular question, you will gain a great deal of visibility and may even achieve a Featured Answer position.

You signal the topic of your blogs to the search engines through keywords. Keywords are words that are the focus of your blog. For instance, if you are blogging about cat food, you are likely to use the terms “chicken” or “flavouring” more than “ignition” or “light fixture.”

Google has been around long enough to have accumulated masses of data regarding search terms and the predictive nature of searchers. Their algorithms can accurately predict relevant keywords associated with previous searches, making it easier for searchers to find relevant content that answers their query. It is imperative that you include accurate keywords relevant to your content, as the search engines will be looking for those keywords and phrases when determining the relevancy of your blog. Matching your keywords to the search engine’s assumptions of what your blog should contain is great SEO technique and boosts the visibility of your blog post.

How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well | Featured Answer vs Number One Organic

Bringing Relevant Traffic to Your Blog

While the search engines are checking for keywords and other technical aspects of your writing, you should also check what real human traffic is doing. Search engines have the ability to track how long a visitor stays on your page with a metric known as the bounce rate. A high bounce rate means a visitor has left the page quickly, while a low bounce rate means the opposite. While the question of whether the bounce rate affects your rankings has long been dispelled (it doesn’t!), you can still use it to your advantage.

Bounce rate is not an accurate metric in the first instance, as many sites don’t utilise Google Analytics, leaving Google unable to track bounce rate information across the board. In other instances, a high bounce rate may be good for one page and bad for another. For example, if a contact page has a high bounce rate, then it may simply be that it is fulfilling its purpose; visitors complete the contact form before leaving.

What you can use bounce rate for is to monitor the quality of your site. Bounce rate can be an indicator of quality, but not as a weighting factor. A high bounce rate doesn’t equate to low rankings, but you can monitor pages on your site for a high bounce rate. That high rate may be due to low quality pages that you can improve to lower the bounce rate and improve your overall ranking.

Search engine optimisation is a complex discipline that people have written entire books about. There are entire blogs dedicated to the subject and the nuances of the process are only becoming more complicated as time goes on. However, the basics of SEO will never change.

Your main job is this: Create content that people want to see, and market it to them honestly! Do this, and SEO will work in your favour to make your blog rank well!

Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.

The post How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/qRMMuDg4wyo/

How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well

In the final part of our three-part series on the What, Why and How of SEO and how it can be used to improve your blog’s rankings, we’ll be exploring how SEO can help your blog rank well.

Ranking well in the major search engines means added visibility for your blog. Visibility should eventually turn into conversions, so you are making money by learning SEO. The rules change often. The major search engines, led by Google, generate somewhere in the neighbourhood of 90% of all web traffic on the Internet. New viewers are much more likely to find your blog through Google than through any other medium, including friendly word of mouth. Obviously, ranking well is of vital importance!

Learning the nuances of how SEO helps the search engines rank pages can be incredibly helpful for SEO noobs. Once you learn the basic rules of why other blogs are winning, you can modify your strategies to win as well! Here are the ways that SEO can help your blog rank well.

Natural Organisation / The Macro theme

The major search engines are always looking to provide the most relevant results to its audience. To this end, Google created an unofficial ‘trust’ system, that takes into account a site’s trust, authority and expertise. The purpose is to give greater visibility and rankings to sites that are widely acknowledged as leaders or authorities in their chosen fields. While it has to be said that no one can say with certainty the metrics used to determine ‘authority’ it is thought to be based on aspects such as your social presence and quality of links that your site receives. It is Google’s way of recommending a site, or piece of content, that it determines would best answer a search query.

Part of SEO is learning how to organise your blog around relevant keywords so that the search engines associate your entire blog with an overall theme. Blogs that skip around from dog food to beach living to auto parts will find it difficult to rank for any of those subjects.

In Australia we have a saying: “jack of all trades, master of none.” The same applies to your blog. The blog that picks one subject and talks about every nuance of it will gain more visibility by becoming an authority on the subject. Creating a theme (the macro theme) is your first discipline when learning SEO.

Relevant Keywords in Individual Blogs

Within a macro theme, the search engines are looking to drill down even more. In order to provide even better results for their audiences, the search engines will place special relevance on blogs that answer a specific query. What are people asking about? Local topics and specific questions. As you write your blogs, you should look to answer specific questions in each of your pieces. This is what people are looking for, and if the search engines match your topic to a popular question, you will gain a great deal of visibility and may even achieve a Featured Answer position.

You signal the topic of your blogs to the search engines through keywords. Keywords are words that are the focus of your blog. For instance, if you are blogging about cat food, you are likely to use the terms “chicken” or “flavouring” more than “ignition” or “light fixture.”

Google has been around long enough to have accumulated masses of data regarding search terms and the predictive nature of searchers. Their algorithms can accurately predict relevant keywords associated with previous searches, making it easier for searchers to find relevant content that answers their query. It is imperative that you include accurate keywords relevant to your content, as the search engines will be looking for those keywords and phrases when determining the relevancy of your blog. Matching your keywords to the search engine’s assumptions of what your blog should contain is great SEO technique and boosts the visibility of your blog post.

How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well | Featured Answer vs Number One Organic

Bringing Relevant Traffic to Your Blog

While the search engines are checking for keywords and other technical aspects of your writing, you should also check what real human traffic is doing. Search engines have the ability to track how long a visitor stays on your page with a metric known as the bounce rate. A high bounce rate means a visitor has left the page quickly, while a low bounce rate means the opposite. While the question of whether the bounce rate affects your rankings has long been dispelled (it doesn’t!), you can still use it to your advantage.

Bounce rate is not an accurate metric in the first instance, as many sites don’t utilise Google Analytics, leaving Google unable to track bounce rate information across the board. In other instances, a high bounce rate may be good for one page and bad for another. For example, if a contact page has a high bounce rate, then it may simply be that it is fulfilling its purpose; visitors complete the contact form before leaving.

What you can use bounce rate for is to monitor the quality of your site. Bounce rate can be an indicator of quality, but not as a weighting factor. A high bounce rate doesn’t equate to low rankings, but you can monitor pages on your site for a high bounce rate. That high rate may be due to low quality pages that you can improve to lower the bounce rate and improve your overall ranking.

Search engine optimisation is a complex discipline that people have written entire books about. There are entire blogs dedicated to the subject and the nuances of the process are only becoming more complicated as time goes on. However, the basics of SEO will never change.

Your main job is this: Create content that people want to see, and market it to them honestly! Do this, and SEO will work in your favour to make your blog rank well!

Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.

The post How SEO Can Help Your Blog Rank Well appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


Why Your Blog Needs SEO

Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/L9iWFH5ub8I/

In the second part of our three-part series on the What, How and Why of SEO and how it relates to your blog, we’ll be exploring why your blog needs SEO (you can find the first post SEO For Bloggers: A Basic Explanation here).

The reasons for writing a blog are varied, from sharing your knowledge to earning income, but they all depend on attracting, maintaining and growing an audience. You can have a blog filled with great writing and information, but if no one reads it, all you have is a diary.
Why Your Blog Needs SEO | ProBlogger

The Importance of SEO

Now for some sobering facts. At any given time there are approximately 164 million blogs in circulation, yet 80% of those stagnate with readership numbers of less than a thousand, and many with, as the industry maxim goes, readerships of one.

A common process with bloggers, especially when starting out, is to pump out content, a “build it and they will come” approach. This is pointless and an approach that will only dishearten your efforts in building a loyal readership. If you weren’t attracting readers with five blog posts, what makes you think writing ten more will change anything?

So how do you increase your readership base? Well, promotion is the key, along with the ability of your blog to be found. That’s where SEO comes in.

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process used to write and structure your blog in such a way as to raise your search engine rankings. When done correctly it means more people finding and reading your blog. Here’s why:

SEO Is Cost-Effective Marketing

In the search for more readers, many blog owners resort to advertising on social media or paying for ads on other blogs. This approach will usually cost you money. Typically, not what a blogger wants. Utilise the power of SEO to:

Accurately pinpoint your audience – achieving better results than ads Save money by researching and writing your own campaign Customise your SEO campaigns to target exactly the type of reader you want visiting your blog Increase Return-On-Investment with custom marketing using SEO techniques and keyword analysis Be Searched. Be Found.

Readers looking for blogs like yours have a great way to find them, and that is using search engines. Google and the like are this generation’s phone books, handy ways to look up any business or entity to find out where to contact them. Google does its part by sending out its robot (Googlebot) to crawl your site, searching for relevant information. It then uses this information to catalogue the individual pages. The closer your blog posts come to answering reader’s questions, the more likely they are to rank high.

Search engine optimisation is just that: optimising your page to get the best possible rankings for a given search phrase. By following simple SEO principles, traffic from Google and other search engines can grow quickly. Even tweaking small details, such as making filenames descriptive instead of image009.jpg can help posts rank higher.

A Better Reader Experience

Structuring your blog posts with SEO in mind makes for a much better reader experience. Informative, entertaining, and succinct posts will keep readers returning and help build a loyal following. Other points to follow that create a superior reader experience are:

Focus each post on a single key phrase group, to avoid posts wandering off topic Make your site uniform across all pages to appear more professional Compress your images to ensure faster load times Match all page and image titles to relate to the page content Links on your pages should only lead to legitimate, relevant posts and sites Roll With The Changes

SEO is in a constant state of flux. Every time you think it is perfect, a Google update can upset the balance. The regular updates that Google conducts means your SEO must be a dynamic process to maintain high rankings. Keep abreast of Google and its various updates and tweak your site accordingly. Evolving your SEO will ensure you continue to deliver quality posts to your readers.

Leading The Competition

If you have competition in your niche that you’re eager to overtake, SEO is one of the simplest ways to do it. This works especially well if your competitor has poor quality search engine optimisation. They may have a greater budget or more time to work on their site, but if their pages aren’t optimised as well as yours, you will hold the SEO advantage. That means a greater opportunity for your site to rise in the rankings with a potential drop for the competition.

A simple, successful search can lead a vast amount of readership to your blog. To be searched and found entails you spending some time understanding and implementing an SEO strategy that makes your blog easier to discover. You want your blog to stand out from your competition, increasing your readership base and offering you the chance to monetise your blog. SEO is a powerful tool that can leverage your efforts for great returns.

Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.

The post Why Your Blog Needs SEO appeared first on ProBlogger.