SEO Clarity into 2016

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SEO Search Engine Optimization Blue Squares On Top

This is going to be a two-part article about equal in size, with Part II coming next week; with so much to cover, we don’t want to overwhelm you or overwhelm ourselves in putting it all together all at once. Topics were ordered in random order, as every different site needs varying amounts of different things.

Many of these ideas are in alignment with Searchmetrics’ 2015 Ranking Factors report; which has placed extra emphasis on optimization for mobile this year.

Perhaps you are using the same SEO techniques and strategies from yesteryear? Or maybe lessons learned from 2010? 2015 was a tumultuous year in the world of SEO. It truly is hard to stay on top of it all. We have witnessed some significant shifts over the past years when it comes to getting your link landing on that coveted first page. Successful ranking optimization doesn’t happen automatically, unless you hire a professional. If you don’t have the time or ability to adapt simultaneously to Google updates and other changes in the world wild web.

Part I of this report will cover much of you will need to know about search ranking optimization in 2016.

A) Keywords within content:

Continue to use your site specific set of keywords throughout your content. One thing that likely will never change is the basic fact that proper search keywords you have identified for your site should be implemented smartly into your content; definable in the title, in headers and sub-headers, introduction & conclusion paragraphs. According to the most recent Searchmetrics report, top-ranking pages increased the total set of identifiable keywords integrated into the body of page texts. Keywords are one of the most important ranking factors, but not all of them. You should devote time to understanding the rest of the techniques listed below and in next week’s Part II.

B) Content structure:

Properly structuring content in the most logical way possible is good for both rankings and also for user experience. There are a number of ways to iron-out optimal structure for your content:

  • * Use un-ordered lists (bulletpoint; <li> tags ) to clearly section the page information into more readable chunks.
  • * Utilize internal links in your text to guide both visitors and search engines through relevant content on your site. Use of external links may also be beneficial, since Google considers that as being a good neighbor to similar-themed sites.
  • * Use interactive elements where possible; such as menus and buttons. Just stay away from hiding your content using javascript, as this past weeks article explains – Google’s search robots doesn’t read dynamic javascript content.

Searchmetrics’ 2015 Ranking Factors report goes into more detail on how we can structure our content in order to rank.

C) Mobile-friendliness:

Since Google’s “mobile-friendly” update at the beginning of 2015, mobile-friendliness has become an ever bigger ranking factor. It’s no longer enough to optimize for desktop and ignore mobile users. If you haven’t already ensured your site uses a “responsive” (mobile friendly) design; or otherwise you have a dedicated mobile site, or app, in place – keep that agenda item on a sticky note – mobile sites are here to stay. Mobile pages should load even quicker that desktop pages, as they are naturally smaller in size than their desktop twins.

Using bulleted lists can greatly help, as can using slightly larger font sizes.

Google recently announced that more searches happen on mobile devices than on desktop devices; which is hard to believe for some, but easy to believe for others.

E) Site speed & file sizes:

These factors are both important for ranking for both mobile and desktop searches. The faster your host, the higher your ranking will float. (4GoodHosting offers the fastest type of hosting possible; SSD hosting). Keep file-sizes, images, videos, etc as small as possible without diminishing proper visibility. Searchmetrics discovered that top-ranking pages loaded with an average of 1.17 seconds for desktop results, and for mobile, 1.2 seconds. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is able to help you figure out how quickly your site is loading; keep in mind this tool only works on a page-by-page analysis, not on a site-wide basis). Pingdom is another similar and reliable tool.

F) Use of <header> & <meta> tags:

This is still of critical importance. 99% of Top-10 search results have a meta-description in their pages. 80% use at least 1 <H1> Meta-description help Google and other search engine better know how to list your pages. Also ensure your <H1> tags and descriptions are unique and do accurately describe the principle subject matter of your page.

G) Word counts:

Mobile content should be shorter than desktop content. It is just easier more conducive for a person to read more on a larger screen. Word count averages for top-ranking mobile pages in 2015 was 869, compared with 688 the year before. And these numbers are of course far lower than the average content lengths for top-ranking desktop sites viewed. If your site is responsive, you will have to decide on the right balance as the same amount of content will be shown on all devices. According to the report, the average word count for top-ranking content is between 1200-1400 words per page.

Google in the past has shown a preference for more comprehensive content. The figures above is up from 903 words, in 2014. So, when creating content, focus on providing comprehensive coverage of your topic, but as concisely or eloquently as possible. Finding the right balance is key for this ranking factor.

JavaScript content isn’t indexed by Google; a recent Google admission

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image70A representative from Google tweeted out something many Webmasters and SEO-minded people have usually presumed there was no issue with. However, in the case of having your page content indexed by the Google search engine, for best results your content should be plainly visible on the page as it loads, instead of being hidden in on-screen widgets that are typically programmed in Javascript.

The representative, Gary Illyes, said in his tweet that Google doesn’t consider (or ‘index’ in search engine lingo) content that is programmed into Javascript. So, basically if important parts of your content are embedded in Javascript code, then you may want to reconsider the design of your website. This doesn’t imply that Javascript functionality isn’t ‘worth it’. It most likely is. Only if say 20% of your content is hidden by it until the viewer clicks “see more” or “expand”, then it might be worth trying another design technique. Google “won’t see the content behind tabs if the content under the tab is dynamically generated.

What did Google precisely admit in their most recent statement?

Gary Illyes of Google said on Twitter:

If you put content in a Javascript array and only expand them when you click e.g. ‘…’, those contents won’t be indexed by Google.

Here is a snapshot of his November 4th tweet:

gary-illyes-javascript
How can you check if Google is indexing your web pages?

If Google cannot index your web pages fully or correctly, your web pages probably won’t rank as high as they probably would rank otherwise.

It is a good idea to check if Google, and other search engines, are indexing your pages in full – and that your pages contain everything that the various search engine robots expect or require when spidering over your website.

If you’d like help with your SEO efforts, please write us at support (at) 4goodhosting.com and we’d gladly consult and provide a quote to you for SEO optimization for your website.

Top 10 Techniques for tuning-up WordPress and Increasing Site Responsiveness

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WordPress is a great CMS (Content Management System). Sometimes though, if the proper precautions are not taken into account or if not used in the most optimized way, you could ultimately end up with a slow loading site. For repeat visitors, that could be a major turn off – and by that fact alone, could cause you to lose subscribers and customers. Also slow loading sites, in Google’s eyes, do receive a negative ranking factor.

This article could go on for pages, but the point will be to cover the top dozen ways that have been discovered to visibly tune up and speed up WordPress.

Speed Is Important in several ways

When a visitor opens your site for the 1st time, there is really only a few seconds to capture their attention and convince them to continue navigating the site.

Microsoft’s Bing conducted a survey regarding this. The report found that a “two second” extra delay in page loading and response diminished visitor satisfaction by 4%, with as estimated lost revenue per visitor of 4.3%, and a inhibited page clicks by about 5%.

If your site just takes “too long” to load, most people will just click off or back to the rest of their search results; before your website even had a chance with them.

It is worth repeating that Google now includes site speed as a significant factor in its ranking algorithms. Therefore a websites’ speed has an effect on SEO. So a slow site is reducing your business in two major ways. If you have a WordPress site, how can we fix it?

How can you tune-up WordPress?

The following tips are not listed in order of speed or importance. I guarantee that using even a few will help speed up your site.

A. Choose 4GoodHosting to make sure you are on a fast underutilized server

When just getting your feet wet, a shared host with overloaded servers might seem like a bargain. It comes at another cost: painfully slow site speed and all too frequent down time..
Periodic stress of having your site frequently slowing or going down is enough to create a some more gray hairs. Don’t be a victim, rather invest in invest in proper, yet still economical, hosting.

B. Start with a solid framework/theme

The Twenty Fifteen theme { the default WordPress theme } is lightweight and quite speedy framework.. They keep the programming efficient & simple; compare that to some random bloated themes, which usually have lots of features that you will never use, but also slowing your site to a crawl.

C. Automatic image compression

Yahoo! Produced an image optimizer called “Smush”. It automatically and drastically reduces the file size of an image; without reducing quality.

Fortunately somebody coverted that into called WP-SmushIt which will process you images automatically – as you are upload them. This one should come standard with WordPress. There is no side-effect to installing this this plugin.

D. Install an effective caching plugin

WP-plugins, some of the best, fall under the caching category – as they drastically improve page loads times. All of them on WordPress.org are free & easy to use.

But our favorite, bar no others so far, is W3 Total Cache; it has all of the features you’ll need – and is extremely easy to install & use.

Simply install & activate, *and watch your page load faster*, as elements are cached.

E. Add LazyLoad to your images

LazyLoad is only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window are downloaded. Subsequently when reader scrolls down, the other images are then fetched; just before they scroll into view.
This will not only increase the speed of your page loads, it will also save bandwidth through loading less data for those who don’t scroll all the way down page.
To enable LazyLoad, install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin.

F. Optimize your homepage to load quickly

Your homepage is the most important part of your site, because people will be loading that page the most often.

Various things that you can do include:
· Reduce the number of posts on the page, such has showing between 5-7
· Showing excerpts instead of full posts
· Showing excerpts instead of full posts using the <p>read_more</p> tag.

How you may get the domain name you want (even if it is unavailable)

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Domains Colorful Stripes Banner

Recently thought up a brilliant idea for a new website and/or product?

Maybe you have already brainstormed a fantastic new website name, come up with a clever slogan, and dreamed up the website design… Then the moment of truth, after typing it into a “whois” search, you find out that the domain is “already taken” or “unavailable”.

Generic domain names are often held by domain brokers, or individual domain holders, so many of the best names are either already being used, or are sold at a premium price for thousands of dollars. This is amazingly all too common.

Despite all the doom & gloom, stories like these can have happy endings. Rather than having to make your choices from a limited selection of generic domains, now you can choose from other domain extensions, known as TLD (top level domains). By thinking outside the box, you can choose a domain name that you like and serves the full purpose of your website.

For example, maybe your passion in life is playing folk music on acoustic guitar and making the world a better place through your music. You dream up the perfect domain name and it is meandmyguitar.com, but when you go to register it you find out that is already ‘taken’. Oh no! Now you are faced with a number of options….

Solution #1

Add hyphens, numbers, or any 1 character of difference so you can register something similar to your intended domain.

For example, me-and-my-guitar.com or perhaps myguitarandme.com. However these URLs are slightly more difficult to remember and users might have a hard time navigating to your website; unless they are looking you up through a search engine like google.

Solution #2

Add 1 or a couple more words to your desired domain until you find one that is available.

After some experimentation you’ll find that, and meandmytrustyguitar.com or justmeandmyguitar.com are both possibilities. However, short domain names are best of course; a domain name that is too long can be difficult for some people to type in correctly.

5 Ways to turn your Blog into a Revenue Stream

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Make Money Blogging presented in the form of binary codeDo you already have a blog? If so, you might have a potential money-maker on your hands. When you find yourself investing your time & energy into something like a blog, it’s only natural that you eventually get paid for it, not only to help sustain yourself, but to also be able to push yourself further to offer more.

A blog by itself meets all the criteria of a full website, and therefore it is possible to use it to create a small business.

By posting interesting, high-quality content, and by adding in the right measures for optimizing SEO (Search Engine) exposure, you can gain hundreds if not thousands of visitors. If you have a stream of visitors, you can you convert that into a revenue stream.

So how do you go about making money with blogs?

Here we list the most popular advertising techniques that paid bloggers utilize daily:
The quality of your content should never be compromised for the sake of advertising revenue. If your content becomes overpopulated with advertising techniques then it will only corrupt the flow of your content, it will seem too commercialized and you will surely lose readers over it.

1. Create or Promote a Product

A great way to earn money is to produce and ship a product and make some extra money from that. It can be a digital (downloadable) product too; such as e-book or even an online course. Creating your own digital or physical product as a blogger should be an exciting path to online success.
Types of products a blogger might create and sell:
· Retail (or wholesale) merchandise
· Ebooks, Webinars, Online Courses
· Software, Plugins, Apps
· Video, Audio, DVD
· Reports

Note: a successful product launch also begins with great timing. You probably will feel a sense of urgency in introducing your service or product, but rushing could also foil your ambitions. If after second thought, postponing your product launch until everything is perfectly in place could mean the difference between experiencing no traction or receiving glowing reviews.