07/12/18 SEO

Why Get SSL for Your Website

The internet is always evolving to provide many opportunities for online activities. Unfortunately, it has attracted the attention of cybercriminals who see it as a means of quick cash such that the more the internet advances, the higher the creativity of such criminals gets. Therefore, to avoid falling victim to the numerous tactics that cybercriminals employ, you should change your website protocol from HTTP to HTTPS to encrypt and protect any data you transmit online. So significant is this move that Google marks any site without an SSL certificate as insecure. Browsers can quickly tell if they are visiting a secure website if the https letters in its URL are green.

What is SSL?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) has been in use for over two decades, and it encrypts data to secure the transmission between your server and visitor’s browser. Its adoption over the last 20 years has been slow since it was quite complicated to install and was available at a high price that locked out website owners. Fortunately, nowadays you can get one for free and fix it without much of a hassle.

Benefits of SSL

HTTPS Graphic

Increased security of your website

The primary function of an SSL certificate is to secure any communication between server and clients. Therefore, upon SSL installation, all information be it login details, payment information or any other personal data undergoes encryption. That way, only the intended recipient can unlock the data which locks out the cybercriminals from misusing your data.

Protect your website’s reputation

SSL offers your site some authentication. Before getting an SSL certificate, you must undergo a validation process carried out by an independent third party known as Certificate Authority or CA. the CA will validate your identity as well as that of your organization before issuing you with a certificate. If you can prove your identity, they will give your website trust indicators to vouch for your integrity and prevent hackers from pretending to be you through a fake website. It facilitates clients to visit your real website which reduces cases of phishing emails. Such emails are usually on fake replica sites and entice people to input credit card information.

Ranks you better in Search engines

Google has since 2014 given HTTPS-enabled websites a slight advantage in rankings. Although it is not a significant boost, it still plays a part in improving your ranking and beating your competitors. After all, it is better to be on the first page, top of the list than on the second page.

Creates trust in your customers

Once a visitor to your website sees the tiny padlock on the browser address bar, they will get reassurance that whatever they will send will be secure. Such trust especially applies when they have to enter their private and sensitive information such as passwords and credit card information. However, once they know you are running a legitimate website, it becomes easier for them to do business on your site. Besides, if your company accepts online payments, you will have to comply with the Payment Card Industry requirements, one of which is getting an SSL installed on your website.

Guarantees safety for your subdomains

SSL certificates are available in different types one of which is the Wildcard that allows you to secure not only your main website but also all other subdomains. With such a feature, this particular SSL becomes more convenient if you run a business or own large sites that have several subdomains. However, only the Wildcard offers this fantastic benefit, and if you chose to install a standard SSL, you would have to install a separate one for each subdomain.

Future-proofing your business

Cybercriminals will never tire to find ways to scam you out of your hard-earned money. You should, therefore, take greater security measures in readiness for their illegal activities. With so many SSL certificates such as EV offering more advanced features, adopting such steps will help protect your business in its online dealings.

Ranking Factor

Having your website secure is undoubtedly a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. We have seen boosts in traffic based solely on this important signal. If you want SEO implemented on your site, this is essential.

Parting shot

An SSL certificate will go a long way in helping your website retain a significant traffic flow. Besides, with its ability to improve your rankings, you can enjoy better ratings than your competitors which may also translate to more customers. With the many benefits, an SSL certificate offers, you cannot go wrong by installing one on your website today.

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04/06/18 SEO

4 Overlooked Schema Markup Opportunities That Shoot Your Rankings Upward

Ever heard of schema?

You might if you’ve read my blog before.

Schema doesn’t get a lot of publicity – although it does make a difference to your search rankings.

Smart SEOs and SMBs know not to overlook schema.  

And here’s 4 things you can do to make sure schema boosts your rankings as much as it should:

Increase Your Chances of Getting a Knowledge Graph Card

You can’t control whether you get this or not. But you can certainly improve the odds.

What is a “Knowledge Graph Card?”

It’s this big, huge, way-too-obvious thing to the right in this image:

Snapshot of Google search results

Clearly, if you can get a listing with a Knowledge Graph Card for some searches, that’s going to increase your clicks – and clients.

Schema also allows you to add more items and information to that card.

Again, you can’t fully control this. But, it gives you an edge over competitors.

Get Listed for More Results with ImageGallery Markup

This works especially well if you sell products online. But there’s no reason to think you can’t also include a gallery of images for various services you offer too.

Basically, it helps Google understand the different images and then display them for varying results.

Since some of those you might not otherwise appear for, you’re increasing your exposure and the odds of picking up more sales.

Person Markup for Employee Profiles

Do you list your employees on your website…or at least the ones your customers will interact with most?

It’s a way to start building relationships with your customers.

This works especially well if you’re trying to build a local brand.

Schema person markup allows you to add your employee’s name, title, photo, and a short description.

So if someone does a search for your company and employees, suddenly a huge, can’t-miss card may pop up like the one you saw earlier.

This time, it has your employee’s info.

Breadcrumb Schema

This schema is less noticeable than the others mentioned.

Nonetheless, it helps your cause.

See this example:

Screenshot of SERP example

Again, it seems like it wouldn’t make a huge difference.

However, adding this with all the other schema markup opportunities definitely gets you an edge.

And then combine that with the fact that most SMBs do not include schema markup on their websites at all, and you suddenly have a strong rankings advantage that they may never even choose to capitalize on.

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14/05/18 SEO

How to Optimize for Voice Search in Adwords Campaigns

In 2017, 20% of all searches happened with voice search, reports the Internet Trends 2017 Code Conference.

If you think about it, what do consumers always value? You’re a consumer…what do you value?

Convenience.

Voice Search InfographicAnd entering search commands with your voice, rather than opening an app, making a few typos, and then finally entering the search terms you want, is a lot more awkward of an experience.

You can also do voice searches while driving, without taking your attention off the road.

And most people don’t like to write for any reason, either.

Google’s voice search recognition is now 95% accurate, making it more useful and convenient than ever before.

So you can bet this voice search trend won’t weaken any time soon.

If you want to win your share of voice searches, how do you prepare your website and Adwords campaigns for those?

Here’s how:

First, See Which Campaigns Already Get Voice Search Traffic

Look back in your Google Adwords search terms for the past 30 days to see what you’ve ranked for.

Voice searches typically run more than 6 words. They also begin with “Ok Google, Siri, and Alexa.” And they’re also questions that begin with how, what, when, where, and why. They frequently end in “near me.”

Eliminate The Least Relevant Searches by Adding Them to Your Negative Keywords

As you pour over the many search phrases your Adwords ads appear for, you’ll certainly find some that don’t make the best fit. A few may be wildly irrelevant.

You’ll have to judge for yourself what makes the most sense for your campaigns.

Add them to your negative keywords list so you don’t have costly, low-revenue keywords chewing up your budget.

Optimize Your Pages with the Words and Phrases People Use to Search

Your website should already be relatively conversational in tone. That’s what consumers in any niche want to see.

No one comes to your website, reads it, and complains,”That was too easy to understand.”

When optimizing pages for voice search, you can take this even a step further. You wouldn’t add in the command to activate the voice search.

For example, the title of your page wouldn’t say,”Ok Google. Find the Top-Rated HVAC Company in Dallas.”

But you might have a page titled,”How to Find the Top-Rated HVAC Company in Dallas,” or,”The Top-Rated HVAC Company in Dallas.”

The specific phrasing you use comes from your review of your Adwords data.

Then, Create A Series of Landing Pages Focused on These Terms

Using the above example, you could create a landing page called “The Top-Rated HVAC Company in Dallas.

Remember, landing pages cannot be navigated to from a menu on your website. You can only access them by doing a Google search, appearing for a term, and then having someone click on it.

Then, that page cites customer stories, testimonials, local association memberships, pictures of your work, and other forms of evidence that show why you indeed are the top-rated HVAC company in Dallas.

You then close with an offer and call-to-action to call you for a free estimate.

You then simply apply the same concept over and over to various searches – making sure the content on your page drives the visitor to the primary goal of the intent of their search.

That sounds easy. But it definitely takes time and practice to master.

Make Optimizing for Voice Search Your Next Marketing Secret Weapon

If you want to stay on top of your local market, you just can’t ignore voice search.

It’s here to stay. It won’t go anywhere. And it’s only working better and gaining more popularity.

View our SEO services to learn more about how we will help rank your site for voice search.

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23/03/18 SEO

How to Turn “Keyword Cannibalization” Into Your Next Big Ranking Opportunity

What is “keyword cannibalization?”

“Cannibalization” doesn’t stir up good images.

So, you know it’s not good.

But what is it?

It’s when multiple web pages under your control target the same keyword. The thinking is that your pages compete against each other and actually hurt your own rankings. And some people believe Google won’t rank any of your pages as a result.

It seems to make sense on the surface.

But in reality, it doesn’t happen.

Gary Illyes, a leading Google spokesperson, said this about keyword cannibalization:

Twitter screenshot about keyword cannibalism

For added evidence, just look at this screenshot for the search “technical SEO:”

Screenshot SERP

 

Search Engine Land owns 5 of the top 10 positions for that term!

So this “keyword cannibalization” argument doesn’t hold any water.

What Might Be Really Going On?

I’m not entirely sure. But some SEOs claim to experience this.

It could be that they simply don’t want to accept responsibility for the fact that they can’t get multiple pages to rank for the same term.

Or it could be that they want to blame Google and make excuses to their clients so they don’t look bad.

I don’t know.

But that’s the way people’s minds frequently work.

So when some observe this phenomenon, they may actually be inventing it themselves!

How to Turn This Into Your Next Big SEO Ranking Opportunity

Since “keyword cannibalization” doesn’t actually exist, you can do a lot with content related to the same topic.

Here are some strategies:

 

Go Right Ahead and Create Content Related to the Same Topic

 

When you do create content, you almost always have multiple angles and related tangents to discuss. So, if you have a small e-book’s worth of knowledge on a topic (10,000 words or so), just create 5-10 articles on the same topic – each with their own in-depth unique content. You’ll be fine.

 

Target Semantically Related Keywords

 

Now let’s say you still feel a little uncomfortable with the whole idea of targeting just a single keyword.

No problem! You simply look at other related keywords to target.  

Let’s go back to the “technical SEO” search from before. Simply scroll to the bottom of that page, and you get a list of other related searches that interest users:

Technical Search Screenshot

This tool focuses on more long-tail search terms that small businesses have an easier time ranking for.

And last, you could even take a look at what Google’s keyword planner shows:

Keyword planner screenshot

 

It gives you every search – large and small. For the head terms like “technical SEO,” you likely don’t have any realistic chance of ranking for those.

Typically, they’re dominated by large websites with dozens of authors and 100,000 or more readers.

But, you might be able to rank for a term like “SEO audit” or “website audit” after a year or so.

Why Is This Your Biggest Opportunity?

It’s probably because of the misunderstanding among SEOs and website owners.

If you’ve known me or read this blog for any amount of time, you know about all the misinformation out there.

With only some understanding the reality of SEO, and the fact that you’re one of those, you have a nice advantage over the lost, mistaken, and confused.

That’s why an SEO who charges a high hourly rate becomes worth every penny.

…Otherwise, you spend years wandering around, trying to figure out what works.

So for now, realize this concept doesn’t exist. And continue creating amazing content other websites can’t match that also fills a need for your audience.

And you’ll do just fine!

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12/03/18 SEO

How to Evaluate the Value of a Link

If you have a thousand links today versus the one you had just a year ago, will you be far better off in search?

…Maybe.

It’s easy to think “more is better” with just about anything.

But with links…more could be a total nightmare.

So when your SEO informs you of a new link you have, should you jump out of your chair for joy, go home, and kiss your wife?

Or should you simply raise your eyebrows in mild excitement?

Honestly, …it can be hard to tell.

So take a minute to learn how to evaluate the value of a link:

The Most Valuable: A Link That Provides Value Beyond SEO

A high-SEO value link is great to have, no doubt. But even better is one that drives you a flood of traffic.

Because you ultimately want sales from SEO, right?

And typically it works such that as you keep attracting links, you rank higher in the search engines, more traffic comes your way, and eventually, you have more sales.

Well, a link to a well-read website short-circuits that process and gives you both the SEO value – and the traffic too.

And you can get a massive gush of traffic and sales fast.

…But, it’s exceedingly difficult to earn these types of links because you have to write one heck of an amazing piece of content at popular blogs that get bombarded by suggestions all the time.

Relevancy of the Website to Your Niche

Google has to see that your new link comes from a website relevant to your niche.

In the past, SEOs would simply bombard their clients’ websites with hundreds of thousands of links. These could come from all sorts of bizarre places from around the web…like payday loan sites, cell phone websites, and other regions of the web’s underworld.

It was fine. It worked.

…But it’s a complete waste of your time today.

And in fact, it could get you penalized, which costs you more time and money.

The more relevant the website to your niche, the greater the value of your link.

Domain/Page Authority

Fortunately, both are easy to measure. You can use Moz’s online tool, or their Chrome extension.

“Domain Authority” measures the domains that link to your domain, the number of total links, and then tracks them over time.

Moz’s idea is to give you an idea of your website’s ability to rank high in Google in comparison to other websites.

The higher the better.

“Page authority” refers to exactly the same concept on a page-by-page basis.

Small websites have a DA of 20-30. And they’re helpful.

Large corporations everyone knows rank 90+.

And large online brands that offer an amazing amount of value, but maybe that you haven’t heard of, are around 40-60.

How You Got the Link on That Website

The more effort it takes to get a link on a website, the more reward you get from Google.

Yes. Google prefers hard work.

Let me clarify (and qualify) this concept a little.

It stems back to how link building used to work. Back several years ago, an SEO might create an account at several internet forums and add your link to their signature. They’d go nuts posting messages on forums.

But that’s easy…anyone can do that.

Those links counted for quite a bit back in their day.

Now, just a handful will get you in big, possibly irreparable, trouble.

Compare that to writing a 1,500-word blog post at Forbes and getting published.

…That takes a lot of work. 20-30 hours or so.

Google recognizes that.

And what if someone else posts your link in a blog post of their own?

That’s good too.

You did the hard work of creating and promoting a blog to the point where someone did your promotional work for you.

Google doesn’t want to see posted links making up the majority of your link profile.

They want to see you earning and winning permission from others. That means searchers value what you say.

And that’s the type of site Google wants at the top of its search rankings. Not something that just about anyone can manipulate to the top.

Links are the Lifeblood of Your Search Rankings…Work on Earning Them

Online, you earn attention.

People read or watch what you have to say.

And if you don’t offer enough value, they quickly turn you off, forget you forever, and go to your competitor.

The more you do to offer valuable information your competitors do not, the higher and more secure you remain over the long haul in a search.

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