7 WordPress Plug-Ins Guaranteed to Boost SEO Big Time

WordPress continues to be the most predominant web publishing platform around, and the many years it’s had that title is a testament to just how intuitive, versatile, and capable it is for taking your content and making it presentable on the web. The old adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ certainly applies, and while WordPress is elementally the same as it was when first rolled out in 2003.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’ve always had a front row view of just how well embraced WordPress is in the digital world, and in addition to be a quality Canadian web hosting provider we also try to have our thumb on the pulse of as many aspects of the industry as we can. Page rankings are going to be important for anyone who’s on the web for commercial or promotional purposes. In fact, 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their number one priority.

So this week we’re going to share a handful of WordPress plug-ins that are a breeze to install and will serve to improve your site SEO.

  1. Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

Feel free to regard Yoast as the Maserati of SEO plugins. It’s usually the first one that will be recommended by an experienced marketer. It is incredibly easy to use and can help you optimize multiple aspects of your WordPress site, addressing and optimizing your URL, meta description, chosen tags, keyword density, internal and external links, and content readability.

It works by first selecting a focus keyword. Next, it will analyze your SEO and provide recommendations on where improvements could be made. Green indicates you’re good as is, orange means your page needs some work, and red means you need to start from scratch as there’s multiple deficiencies. Yoast will then serve up specific actions you can choose to move ‘up’ in the colour spectrum.

Even if you’re decidedly technically inept, you’ll likely have your SEO amped right up with this plugin.

  1. All in One SEO Pack

Yoast definitely takes top spot, but this is quite likely the second best overall SEO plugin (plus the 3+ million installs to date suggest it’s effective). All in One SEO pack was first developed in 2007 and has evolved over the past 10 years to meet the majority of demands today’s SEO marketers tend to have.

All in One SEO Pack includes robust features such as:

  • Automatic meta tag generation
  • Title optimization
  • XML sitemap support for a site that’s more readable to search engines
  • Prevention of duplicate content being created

Essentially, it addresses all of the major elements of effective SEO and – like Yoast – it works with WordPress like a charm.

  1. SEOPressor

SEOPressor also gets high marks from us. This plugin works under the same premise as Yoast and the All in One SEO Pack, delivering comprehensive on-page SEO analysis, as well as providing tips for improvements.

SEOPressor is great as an ‘insta-advisor’, helping you make ideal small tweaks and adjustments that will boost your overall SEO quality. Also, like the preceding two, you don’t need to be anything of a ‘computer whiz’ to get installed and going to work for you.

  1. SEO SQUIRRLY

When top SEO experts like Neil Patel of Kissmetrics and Brian Dean of Backlinko endorse a plug-in, you can A) know it’s good stuff, and B) trust it’s been designed for non-SEO experts.

How SEO SQUIRRLY differs from other plug-ins is that it puts an emphasis on helping you create content that’s designed equally for both search engines and human readers. The importance of this is in the fact that Google places a strong emphasis on positive user experience when orienting their ever-changing algorithms.

SEO SQUIRRL helps you find great keywords, analyzes your articles, offers advice on how to resolve issues, and helps you optimize your content for human consumption, plus it generates an XML sitemap for Google and Bing

  1. SEO Optimized Images

Image optimization is typically a lesser consideration for your WordPress-based site, yet it’s a critical aspect of SEO, and that’s often overlooked. It’s important to ensure that search engines are able to understand the content within your images.

SEO Optimized Images is a WordPress plug-in that makes it easy for inserting SEO-friendly alt attributes dynamically, along with adding valuable title attributes to your images. Long story short, it streamlines the often-laborious process of optimizing the website’s content.

  1. SEO Post Content Links

Any reputable and experienced SEO marketer will tell you that internal linking is of paramount importance for creating a strong link profile. This serves to create better indexing in search engines, it points visitors to other helpful content they may be interested in, which can increase the average amount of time spent on your site.

This is a plugin that takes the guesswork out of internal link building and streamlines the process very impressively. Further, SEO Post Content Links also helps you create proper anchor text that matches current best practices.

  1. SEO Internal Links

Here’s another plugin that’s proven effective for optimizing your site’s internal link structure. Directly from its WordPress description, SEO Internal Links ‘can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories, and tags on your blog.’ Enough said? Very likely. SEO internal links is ideal for anyone who’s not so savvy with linking or having a sound understanding of the value of linking and indexing for the website.

In a nutshell, SEO internal links is a convenient way to create internal links, while at the same time avoiding black hat SEO practices that could backfire on you big time should you choose to employ them. Quite plainly, don’t. The damage you can to your site’s credibility in the eyes of the search engine bots isn’t worth the benefits you may get, not at all.

Here’s to you trying one or more and seeing your SEO get a much-needed push up the hill!

Domain Extensions and SEO Impact

Before any website makes its way up onto the information superhighway, the domain name attached to it must be registered with a hosting provider. Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re a top Canadian web hosting provider among many and we can certainly take care of that basic and straightforward formality for you. What we’re going to discuss today, however, is the way that your domain name’s extension (.com being the most common) can have direct and measureable results on your SEO, and search engine ranking more specifically.

Let’s review the basics briefly; a domain name is a unique internet address that is made up of a name and extension (such as .com, .ca etc.). This extension is also referred to as a Top Level Domain (TLD) and it is the most relevant part of your domain name. We’ll move now to putting you in the know with factors that influence choosing the right domain extension and how it dictates your SEO rankings in a significant way.

Various Types of TLDs

In the infancy days of the Web, domain extensions were initially introduced to facilitate browsing across different domains. There were 6 general top-level domains (gTLDs) marketed to folks looking to get themselves up and running, and we saw different domain extension for different types of organizations. Some may be surprised to learn that the .com extension was actually introduced for websites for commercial purposes, and has nothing to do with the term computer.

Much more common nowadays are domain extensions with a country code, also known as country code Top Level Domains (ccTLD). These took off between 1985 and 1990, and examples of these types website name domains are .ca for Canada, .kr for South Korea (who have the fastest internet speeds in the world) .in for India, .co.uk for the United Kingdom, etc.

1998 saw the creation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit organization designed to keep the Internet secure and stable. New gTLDs were released in 2001, including .info and .pro, designed for informational websites or those representing certified professionals.

The number of domain extensions has quickly expanded since. There are now even domain extensions that utilize Arabic characters instead of the usual Latin characters. A complete list of all extensions (with Latin characters) can be referenced at the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) website.

Specific SEO Benefits for Each Domain Extension

  • Country code Top Level Domain

Advantages

A ccTLD provides Google with the strongest and clearest indication of where a website originates. Provided all other SEO factors are equal, the ‘example.com’ website will be better ranked by Google than an ‘example.ca’ or ‘example.co.kr’.

Disadvantages

The primary disadvantage of a ccTLD is that you will be required to purchase a new extension for each language, which will add to the cost quite considerably. Further, Google’s crawlers (aka ‘bots’) do not recognize multiple websites as one website because they have different extensions. Each website must develop its own authority.

By authority we mean the value that Google assigns to a website. More authority results in Google’s bots staying on the website for a longer period of time and indexing deeper pages of the site. This of course is very beneficial for SEO. Higher authority leads to a greater likelihood that your site will rank high on Google’s SERPS (search engine results pages). There are other factors that determine how well a website performs in this regard, and in fact Google uses more than 200 signals to determine which results are most relevant.

  • Generic Top Level Domain

Generic domain names are increasingly popular these days, with examples like .pizza, .amsterdam and .club, websites that distinguish the nature of the business or venture very explicitly. People continue to speculate about the advantages and disadvantages of these new extensions as they relate to search engine rankings. Google has shared that the new TLDs are not more likely to score high with Google than older TLDs or ccTLDs. However, there are several examples that suggest otherwise, at least to some extent.

Coffee.club is one of them. It climbed to the first page in Google US search results within the span of a week. That’s worth taking note of, as it takes a lot of time to get to the first page on Google US, and that can be true even if you’ve built up plenty of authority.

Coffee.club was purchased in November 2014 and received several links from authoritative websites that announced the transaction. The backlinks had 80% of ‘coffee.club’ as clickable text, and one week after the launch the website was already on the first SERP for the term ‘coffee club’. We can understand that when a gTLD (in part) matches a keyword you want to match in Google, it counts only links with the domain name in the clickable text.

Simply, ‘coffee.club’ is interpreted by Google to be “coffee club”. In such instances a TLD with a relevant keyword will indeed have an SEO advantage over a traditional TLD like those ending with a .com.

Google still insists that there is no advantage or disadvantage to having a new gTLD, stating that each gTLD has the same opportunity to rank well. With a gTLD, it is possible to specify which country the website is intended to serve within the Google Search Console. This of course is done via international targeting, but keep in mind that when you expand your website with a different language you must adjust or disable international targeting.

Choosing the most appropriate domain extension

Your best choice for a TLD will depend on a number of factors. Want to score well on Google.com? Then you’ll be best served by choosing the overall top level domain, a .com. Conversely, if you only sell products in Canada, you’ll be wise to choose the .ca extension. Google will then recognize that your website is intended for the Canadian market and that your aim is to score better on Google.ca.

It continues to be that SEO is often not taken into account when people are weighing which TLD extensions is best for them. For example, there are websites that buy a ccTLD so the website has a nice name and is easy to remember. For example, ‘autorepair.ca’ may seem like the ideal choice for the nature of your business, but it’s probably not going to score well on Google.com. This is because you indicate to Google with the .ca extension that your website is taking aim at the Canadian market explicitly.

When your website is in fact targeted to a specific country, though, it is advisable to choose the ccTLD of that country. In this case, you may need to purchase a new domain with another TLD at any international expansion. The country-specific nature of the ccTLD will definitely have a positive impact on your search engine results.

When you go with a gTLD, Google will not see it as a .com, .pizza, or .whateveritmaybe. GTLDs have as much chance to score well and as a result do not affect SEO status of your website. And yet, even while Google insists on the validity of that, there are cases like those coffee.club mentioned above that show that links with only the domain name in the clickable text are counted in Google search results. This is the case when a gTLD will create a partial match with a keyword you want to match.

The important thing to keep in mind when using a gTLD is that you communicate this choice to the consumer. Consumers will often undertake searches including the domain extension in the search terms. If you choose a gTLD, make sure that you make that fact very clear to your target audience, and that’s most commonly done by presenting your company name WITH the extension attached in Headers or any other component of the communication piece that will be visually grabbing and readily identified

Also – last but not least – go into your Google Search Console and make sure to set the international targeting to the right country.

SEO Clarity into 2016

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.

Google Analytics: Various ways empower your marketing efforts

Google-Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular website statistics and analytics application used by almost every other webmaster; 60% of the top million websites use it.

However, most use it lightly, and don’t use GA to it’s potential. Some studies have shown that 8 out of 10 of ecommerce webmasters are using GA in a non-optimal manner. Simply viewing daily/hourly traffic statistics, page views, and identifying sources of traffic is only a very basic way of using GA.

As a webmaster, you can utilize GA in a more advanced manner to derive useful insights that you can use to fine tune your marketing campaigns and traffic strategy.

In this post, we will discuss a few ways to use the information generated by GA to fine tune your SEO, improve your website’s content structure, and thereby generate increased traffic.

A) Keyword Reports

You can increase your website’s traffic by using the most relevant keywords within your content; you can use the keyword report in GA.

To view this report, click on “Traffic Source Keyword Report” within GA. This is where you can locate the top keywords that are bringing traffic to your website or blog. We suggest you focus on just the top ten keywords, those bringing in the most traffic. These are the keywords that your website ranks well in Google.

The objective is to improve the click-through rate, CTR, for these keywords. To improve the CTR keywords:
· Use these high traffic keywords in your page title and description. Keep your page titles about 55 characters, and meta descriptions less than 156 characters.
· Create more blog content using your high traffic keywords.
· Use these keywords in the titles of the images on your website.
· Use these keywords as alternate tags in the images on your website.
· Make these keywords a part of the anchor text of your internal website links.
· Understand the ways in which people are searching for high impression keywords, then create content that is useful for those people.

MarketGoo is a slick and powerful solution to optimize your website for search engines

Dear 4GoodHosting customers and visitors ,

We have replaced the “Attracta” search engine optimization tool with a more modern and effective “seo” optimizer for your website. With this new included tool, MarketGoo, you will be able to get your website ranked faster and higher; helping you with your overall website marketing.

marketgoo-logo

We hope that you decide to take advantage of the new service. As with most new services we offer, this one comes with your hosting package at no additional charge.

How does the Marketgoo application work?

MarketGoo’s unique toolset will analyze your website regularly. It will suggest from an assortment of about 200 actions and recommendations; which will be tailored specific to your website and industry. So every single task that you complete while using MarketGoo will be driving your website closer to online success.

Where will you be able to find it?

If you remember seeing the “Attracta” icon, you will now see “MarketGoo” there instead, in the “Marketing tools” section.

How can it benefit you / your website?

The Marketgoo application helps you market your website and enables you to improve your website ranking in google and other search engines by “optimizing” your website’s Search Engine Visibility, Link Building, and Social Media marketing; and it also benchmarks your site against your competitors. It will help you perfect your website’s structure and content and to help you with promoting the relevant keywords associated to your business.