Google Speed Insights – Get it right!

Google Speed Insights is one of the most famous tools out there to measure your website’s performance. It checks what experience your site delivers to both mobile and desktop users. There are three marks that you can get – green, yellow and red. Green colour means that your website is friendly to its users. Yellow colour indicates you need to do some work to improve your site’s performance and the red one informs you that your website needs optimization.

Google Speed Insights for SEO – does it matter?

I have come across many articles saying that Google Speed Insights results do not matter that much and that we should not be worried about them. It is true to some extent. Did you know that Google Speed Insights does not measure your website’s loading speed? It checks the overall performance of the site and gives you some good suggestions on what can be improved. What matters the most for Google is not the grade that you get from Google Speed Insights but how fast your site loads. You can measure this on GTmetrix or Pingdom.

What are Google Speed Insights recommendations?

One of the most crucial ones is to optimize images. If images are too big, they take longer to load. It affects your website’s loading speed and respectively user’s experience. Ideally, your images should be resized as much as possible without compromising too much on the image quality. For this, you can use TinyPNG or CompressJPG. Also, remember to use file name related to your entire blog post (it makes it easier for search engines to find your picture) and implement alt tags. After you optimize all your images (the ones embedded in the content, your logo, footer and header icons and other), you should notice a significant improvement in Google Speed Insights score.

Another popular recommendation is to minify CSS and JavaScript files. What does that mean? It is simply removing unnecessary spaces from your JavaScript and CSS files. You can do it manually (not recommended), use third-party websites or implement a plugin if you are WordPress user. You can use JSCompress for JavaScript and CSS Minifier for CSS. I recommend WP Fastest Cache Plugin for WordPress users. Again, after you cleaned the files up, you should see an increase in your performance score.

Last but not least is to remove render-blocking JavaScript and CSS. It means that some JavaScript and CSS files block your page from rendering before they are fully loaded. There are two solutions to this – the good one and the bad one. The bad one is to put CSS and JavaScript at the bottom of your HTML. What it does, it allows a browser to load HTML first (unstyled HTML) and then it loads other resources (CSS styles plus JavaScript). It creates bad user experience because a user can see the flash of unstyled content. Here is a great guide on how to eliminate render blocking CSS.

What is CDN and how does it affect speed?

Finally, CDN is an abbreviation for Content Delivery Network. If your business is operating on a global scale, you may consider using CDN. It will improve your website’s performance and speed for your customers located overseas. How does it work? CDN stores cached version of your website’s content in multiple locations allowing users of particular region access your resources faster.

Google Speed Insights & Leverage Browser Caching

Personally, I am not a fan of implementing plugins to make things work. They are great, but if there is another available solution – I will go for it. Leveraging browser caching is necessary as it makes your website load faster for repeat visitors. Simply, some CSS and JavaScript files are stored in a customer’s browser once they ended up on your page. It improves loading speed because when they visit your page, again and again, the resources are being loaded directly from the browser, not the server.

CONCLUSION:

All in all, Google Speed Insights is a great tool from Google that shows you where your website lacks when it comes to performance. It can be used as a recommendation to improve some significant aspects of your site such as image optimization. Remember to back up files before you manually make any changes. It allows you to restore them anytime something goes wrong. Let me know what other tools you use to check or improve your website’s loading speed? And, is Google Speed Insights useful to you at all? I am happy to hear your thoughts!

What is Screaming Frog SEO Spider?

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a tool that you can use for improving your on-site SEO. It is a software that analyses all links on your website and shows you where you have errors. It applies to meta descriptions, h1 and h2 tags, images, page titles, broken links and more. There is 500 crawl URL limit, so if your website is larger than that, then you may want to upgrade to a paid version. Let’s say you have a site that contains ten subpages. Screaming Frog SEO Spider crawls your images, external and internal links, canonicals, CSS, JavaScript and other which will result in more than ten URLs.

On-Site SEO

Let’s start with on-site SEO. Screaming Frog SEO Spider allows you to check if your page titles (it is a title tag that appears in the top of a browser window) are over 65 characters long, whether you have duplicates, and if you have multiple page titles. Next, it shows you how many duplicate meta descriptions you have and how long they are so that you can make changes if required. It will also check the same features for your h1 and h2 tags. The great thing about the tool is that it helps you to generate an XML sitemap for your website. The XML sitemap is a document that enables Google crawlers to understand how many links are there on your site. For WordPress blogs, you can also create XML sitemap by using Yoast SEO Plugin.

Images

If your images are too big, they may slow down the loading time of your website. Slow sites do not rank high in Google. Screaming Frog shows you which images need to be resized. Resizing images in the dashboard to desired dimensions will not help at all. Their actual size is still big. They will be loaded with their exact size first and then will get scaled by the browser to dimensions you set in the dashboard (if you are using WordPress or other CMS system). All images should also have an alt tag. The alt tag is important for search engines because it helps them to understand what an image displays.

Broken links and Canonicals

A broken link is when a link on a web page does not work. It may be due to incorrect URL or because the destination page does no longer exist. Screaming Frog SEO Spider allows you to check for broken links on your website. You can also generate reports in CSV file format so that you can work in Excel if it is better for you. Canonical URL tells search engines that particular URL is the original one. It is very helpful when you have several pages with the same content (good for e-commerce websites with multiple pages displaying certain product category in different colors, for example). You set canonical URL for the subpage of your choice, and you point other subpages (with the same content) to that one. It allows avoiding the duplicate content issue. Screaming Frog SEO Spider checks your website for any errors regarding your canonical links.

Response Codes

Whenever you type your website address and press enter, your browser makes a request to a server. The server is another machine (just like your computer) that is connected to the Internet. When you make a request, you get a response from a server. It can be anything from an image, CSS file, JavaScript etc.) The browser knows what the server gives by the content type (for example, HTML document) There are a couple of status codes that you can get when you receive a response from a server. Anything between 200 means that everything is okay and 300 and above relates to redirects. Anything starting at 400 indicates an error. And, finally, 500 status codes refer to server errors. Screaming Frog SEO Spider shows you if there are redirects or client-side errors on your website.

CONCLUSION:

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a great tool for on-site SEO. It will crawl your website and will show you where you can introduce changes. You can filter data by categories such as duplicates, character limit, missing descriptions and more. The tool will check your meta descriptions, h1 and h2 tags, meta keywords, page titles, internal and external links and more. You have an option to open listed links in a browser as well as export reports on individual data (canonicals, error codes, images missing alt tags, internal and external links and other). You can use the tool to create an XML sitemap. It will help search engines understand better how your site works. You then need to upload your sitemap to Google Search Console. There is also an option to integrate Screaming Frog SEO Spider with your Google Analytics Account. All in all, it is a perfect tool for either competitor analysis, your website improvement or both.

How Can You Improve Your Content Marketing?

They say that content is king in today’s marketing and it is not wrong. In the past years, people have changed their perception of how they search for products. They used to call a company of their interest and ask about the services directly, but not anymore. Nowadays, people look for a company that they can trust. They look for valuable information, and they expect the company to provide a solution to their problem. It is why your content should be of good quality. People look for tips nowadays. They want you to help them, not sell stuff. Here are a few tips on how you can make your content better.

Create valuable content

There is no doubt that information is what makes the content valuable. However, your content should be well-written as well. If your writing style is poor, it makes it harder for others to read. Writing good and educational articles takes time, and it is a skill. As with every skill, it needs to be developed. It requires practice to get better. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation matter. Some apps can improve your writing style. They will pick up all the spelling mistakes and simple grammar errors so that you can correct them. These apps will not teach you grammar and the language structure, though. You already need to have decent writing skills and a good understanding of a language. It is always a good idea to invest in a grammar book, especially if you are not a native English speaker – like me. Let me introduce you to a few writing apps that I find extremely useful.

Invest in good writing apps

If you have written an article and need to proofread it now, you can check out some online resources like Grammarly or Hemingway App. You can use Grammarly as a Google Chrome extension or download it as a desktop or a mobile app. Grammarly will point out basic grammar mistakes you made, all incorrect spelling and it will check your work for plagiarism. The difference between a free and a paid version is that the latter one will give you synonyms suggestions and will offer free plagiarism checker. Another app worth mentioning is Hemingway app. This app is a bit different from Grammarly. It does not necessarily show exact grammar errors you made, but it will check your text for readability. It will underline all sentences that are difficult to read, have a passive voice and include sophisticated vocabulary. Hemingway app uses different colours to underline what you did wrong so that you know where to introduce changes.

Check for plagiarism

Always check your work for plagiarism. If you find something on the Internet and you put it into your article, you should remember to cite the source. If you use someone else’s work, you need to reference it. It will point out readers to the original copy so that they can gain more information on the topic if they want to. If you research a particular topic, make your points. Go and check more than one resource. It will give you a better understanding of a subject and will let you create your own opinion on it. Finally, you may use a plagiarism checker. There are plenty of free plagiarism checking tools on the Internet. Some of the tools worth recommending are Grammarly and Copyscape again. Evernote may help you to save some of the sources that you find on the Internet for later. This app is perfect for note taking, organizing and archiving.

How to structure your text?

Besides valuable information and proper grammar skills, there are a few other things that you should be aware of. If you create a longer piece of work, make sure you divide it into paragraphs. It makes it easy for people to skip through your text and focus on what interests them the most if they do not have the time to read all at once. Shorter sentences are better on average too. They make the whole text easier to read again. Use active instead of passive voice if possible. Passive voice is wordy, and it often emphasizes the subject instead of an object. Among other things, make sure your content is original. Creating a unique piece of work helps in SEO because Google does not like duplicates. It searches for fresh and valuable information. Ideally, your article should give people answers. If you tested something yourself, you could recommend it to someone else. Ultimately, you know if it worked for you or not and if someone has a similar problem, they can find it useful too.

CONCLUSION:

Writing a good quality content takes time. You need to put in the effort to do the research, analyze what you have learned and finally put all your ideas into paper. Next, these ideas should be easy to read and grammatically correct. Your content should be original and well-structured. Ideally, you should include some keywords in both your content and subheadings. Once you are done with your copy, check it for plagiarism. Take a break and come back to it in a few hours. Revise it again. If all is okay, you are ready to publish it. Once the article is live, you can market it on your social media profiles. As mentioned above, writing is a skill, and it takes time to improve. The only way to get better is practice. Let me know what apps you find useful? How do you practice your writing skills? Maybe you have a specific routine that you follow and are willing to share. I am happy to hear your opinion.

Are You Currently In Facebook Jail?

Facebook is the most popular social media platform with more than two billion users nowadays. Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook. In 2003, he wrote a website called Facemash. The idea of the website was to compare two student photos and decide which one is better looking. It was a “hot or not” type of site for fellow students. To do that, Zuckerberg stole ID images from Harvard University by hacking their security system. Facemash was closed a few days later, and all charges against Zuckerberg were dropped. It is how the idea of Facebook eventually came out. In the beginning, Facebook name was TheFacebook. Then, Sean Parker bought facebook.com domain for $200,000 and in 2006 anyone with a valid email address and at the age of 13 could join the network.

Why is Facebook good for business?

Facebook is the fastest growing social media platform among all. It requires no money to set up business Facebook page. It allows to build your brand online and enhances your SEO strategy. One of the best features of Facebook is that it allows for targeted marketing. You can promote your ads to the specific audience which makes it better for you to reach people who may potentially be interested in your products. Thanks to Facebook Insights you may see how many people are engaging with your site and which of your posts are the most popular. You may also run your customer support via Facebook. Social media are a great way to communicate with your customers.

What are Facebook requirements?

Facebook is a social media platform that does not allow fake accounts. Their policy is very clear about it. If you are an artist or an entrepreneur and you want to promote your business on Facebook, you need a personal account first. Your business page is linked to your personal account, but it is not visible to other people if you do not want that. You can set privacy security settings for your profile according to your preferences. Facebook has some requirements, and if you do not obey them, you may be temporarily banned or completely disabled from the platform. First of all, you should not spam on your account. By spamming, I mean sending a large number of promotional messages to people. You also cannot send too many friend requests at once. Remember to complete your account by posting a photo of yours, real date of birth and other relevant information about your background or education. It is up to you to how much information you want to reveal.

Did your Facebook account get banned?

There are many reasons why your account is disabled. If you violated any of their rules, they probably sent you a warning. If you still decided to carry on with the unwanted activity, you may be suspended now. Is there a chance to recover your profile? Yes and no. It depends on what you did. In most cases, you can make an appeal where you send them a valid document that allows the identity check. It may be your ID card, driving license, or a school certificate. Many people disagree with that and get angry that Facebook should not ask them for personal data. The thing is that most of this information is already in the system anyway. You do not necessarily need to send them ID for verification purposes. Some other alternative documents can still be accepted by Facebook such as library card, diploma, school ID card, or address proof card. You are free to cover up any information you do not wish to reveal. Recently Facebook got very sensitive when it comes to security procedures. It was not like this in the past. If you log in via different devices at the same time and sometimes from a different location, you may be locked out from your account. It may be temporary, or you may never get back access to your account.

How can you recover your Facebook profile?

There are a couple of ways how you can recover your account. They may not necessarily work for everyone, though. Many people when they are automatically locked out, they try to log in over and over again. It may make the whole process worse. As difficult as it may sound, you may want to resist from accessing your account for the next 96 hours. It can get back to normal by itself. There are some stories of the people who when got asked for their face showing photo upload from Facebook did not do that but provided a random picture from Google search instead. All of a sudden, it worked, and they got access to their account. It may actually prove that there is a temporary block that gets deactivated once a particular action is performed or a specific time passed. Did you know that once even Guy Kawasaki had his account blocked because he appeared to be too enthusiastic in his evangelism? It may happen to everyone. Also, there is a direct phone number to Facebook, but you cannot get any help from that. The number is (001) 650-543-4800. You may instead try to email them at disabled@facebook.com or appeals@facebook.com and describe the situation. Sending more than one email does not speed up the whole process. The only thing you can do is to wait in a queue for their response.

How long will you wait for a reply from Facebook Support Team?

As much as I would like to provide one, there is no direct answer to this question. If you do your research, you will find out many UK customer service numbers, but none of them works. I have even come across articles where people claimed to have a chat with one of Facebook representatives. How is it possible if there is no chat option available in their help center? Interesting. There are some situations where people got back access to their accounts while others never recovered their profile.

CONCLUSION:

Facebook is a number one social media platform that has plenty of advantages. Many business owners, artists, YouTubers, and others use Facebook for self-promotion. It is good that service of this kind exists and that people can unite and share opinions and ideas with mutual respect. There is, however, this other side that I find surprising. Many accounts have been blocked for no apparent reason or by mistake, and people never got them back despite making many requests. If someone violates the rules, it obviously makes sense to ban them, but they should be informed about it. Shouldn’t they? What is your personal experience with Facebook? Do you find it useful for promoting your brand? Did you get banned from Facebook in the past? If so, did you recover your account?

Duplicate Content Problem Solved – Technical Issue

There are two types of duplicate content – external and internal. External duplicate content appears when you copy someone else’s work, and you put it on your website as your own. The internal duplicate content is when you have the same piece of information on several pages on your site. In both cases, it can decrease your website rankings in Google searches. There is a myth that Google penalizes for duplicate content. Let’s make it clear – no it does not. Google realizes there are and will be duplicate content issues around the web. Matt Cutts, an American software engineer, said that somewhere between 25% – 30% of the content on the Internet is duplicate and that is okay. Sometimes companies post the updated version of their terms and conditions, or they have the website translated into another language. Is that treated as the duplicate content issue? No, it is not. Matt Cutts explains that Google takes duplicate content and groups it into clusters and it will then show the best result from these clusters. Google does not penalize for duplicate content, but it can decrease your rankings if you violate the rules. It means that if you continually copy someone else’s work or ideas.

How can you check if your website has duplicate content?

Plenty of tools on the Internet enable you to check if your website has duplicate content. Some of the best ones are Copyscape Plagiarism Checker and Siteliner. The first one will tell you if there is any other content similar to yours on other websites and the second one will identify if you have internal duplicate content on your site. The nice thing about these tools is that they are free. If you need more in-depth analysis, you can upgrade to a premium account. Siteliner is simple to use. You just go to their website. You type in your website address and press enter. The site will show you how much internal duplicate content you have, where on the site you have broken links, what is your average page load time and other. You run the SEO audit, and it shows that you have a significant amount of duplicate content. Let’s say you are a blogger and every post you create is unique. Where does the duplicate content come from then? Well, the answer is in the next paragraph.

Identifying the issue with duplicate content

Many CMS systems such as WordPress, Magento or Joomla can create an internal duplicate content issue. Here’s the thing. Do you have categories on your blog? Do you use tags? Is there recent posts section or maybe you have a website and a blog page with short snippets redirecting people to the actual blog post? Whenever you create a post, there is a link assigned to it. Then, you attach the post to a certain category – this is where another link is created. Next, you add tags to your post for your readers to identify what it is exactly about. You may also think that it will help in SEO. Well, it depends on how you use your tags. Let’s say that you run a blog about aging and dementia. The categories for your posts can be, for example, older age, Alzheimer’s and dementia and disability. Then, if you write a blog post and place it in the disability category, you may want to use one of the following tags: mental illness, autism, vision impairment or brain injury. In other words, categories help you to sort out the content on your website and tags even more specifically explain the nature of your blog post. Every single of these elements creates an additional link. See below:

www.yourwebsiteaddress/what-is-disability/
www.yourwebsiteaddress/category/disability/
www.yourwebsiteaddress/tag/autism/

You created one blog post that is accessible via three links. It is unique for a human being, but it is not for Google crawlers. They treat each link separately. Therefore, they think that two of these three links are duplicates. What can you do?

Duplicate content solutions

If several URLs lead to the same content, it can be solved! The answer is a canonical URL. Canonical URL tells Google crawlers which URL is the original one. Once you have that done, Google will direct all other URLs to the original one, and no duplicate content issue will appear on your website. It is a good idea to noindex your tags if you run a blog or website on WordPress. As previously mentioned, tags create additional URLs that are then treated as a separate page with a “unique” content. This unique content obviously exists under the original URL of your blog post. It is when the duplicate issue arises. There is a great plugin for WordPress that is called Yoast SEO plugin. The taxonomy section allows you to noindex your tags. Also, it is good to remember that title tags and meta descriptions matter to Google and you should write them individually for every page. Also, when you login to Google Search Console, you will be able to see how much duplicate content you have.

CONCLUSION:

All pages on your website ideally should be unique. You should have individual title tags and meta descriptions for every page. Your posts are better if you divide them into smaller sections and include subheadings. Duplicate content cannot be avoided in many cases. The perfect example is e-commerce website where the individual product page can be reached under many categories. Google understands that there is duplicate content around the web and it does not penalize it. It can, however, impact your rankings if you abuse the general rules and become spammy. It is when you copy large pieces of information from other sources. The ideal solution for on-site SEO work and duplicate content issue prevention for WordPress websites and blogs is Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin is free, and the Yoast website offers great articles on how you can configure the plugin. Did you come across duplicate content on your site? If so, how did you solve the problem?

How Does Google Analytics Work?

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that allows you to measure the effectiveness of your website. While setting up a Google Analytics account, you put the tracking code on your site. This small piece of JavaScript tracks people every time they open your web page. It checks for the information stored in cookies, and if it finds any, it sends it to your Google Analytics account. This information is usually browser and computer settings (screen resolution, operating system, language settings, etc.) Knowing your audience and what they are interested in is essential for growing your business. Digital data has the advantage to traditional marketing. It allows for tracking what visitors are doing on your site. Thanks that you can increase your sales, marketing efforts and tailor a better marketing strategy for your company.

What are the advantages of Google Analytics?

One of the most apparent advantages is that the service is entirely free of charge. Several features help you to understand your customer preferences. You may track your visitors in real-time settings. You will be able to see what page they are browsing and how long they stay on it. Besides that, you will see what source referred them to your page and what is their actual location. Real-time reports, however, are not the only ones available in Google Analytics. The tool reveals data about demographics and acquisition. In other words, you will see what your visitor’s age and gender is. Also, you will be able to check what devices and technology they use when visiting your website. Acquisition feature gives you information on how you acquire your customers. It will show how your visitors end up on the site, whether it is through social media, your AdWords campaigns or organic search. Google Analytics also allows you to see which content on your website is the most popular and what pages people browse before leaving your site.

What are Google Analytics Goals?

You can set up various goals in Google Analytics. Thanks that you may see whether your efforts bring any results. There are four types of goals. These are the destination, duration, pages/screens per session and events. If you plan to check how many people clicked on your landing page, how many pages they viewed or how much time they spent on your blog, you may go for the destination, pages/screens per session or duration options respectively. Events represent actions, for example, it is when someone clicks on a particular page or downloads something from your website. They may be a bit more challenging to set up. For more information on how they work, visit about events section on google support pages. In general, most goals are easy to install. They provide you with valuable information on your marketing efforts.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a tool that enables tags management. Google released it in 2012. Many people confuse it with Google Analytics, but it is not the same thing. Google Tag Manager helps in managing JavaScript snippets that send information to Google Analytics. There are three main parts in Google Tag Manager. These are containers, tags, and triggers. Containers hold all tags. Tags are small snippets of JavaScript that are automatically placed in the <head> of your website. There are already built-in tag templates, but you can also create custom ones. Triggers are conditions that need to be set for a tag to fire. There is a built-in debug feature that allows to test and debug each update before actually making it public. The tool has users and permissions management feature. It allows you to control who and how many changes they can introduce to your website. Google Task Manager makes things easier. You do not need to ask a developer to apply changes to your site any time you want to include a new tracking feature.

How can you improve your business with Google Analytics?

If you know what pages draw the most attention, you may focus your marketing strategy on them. Also, you will see what parts of your site are the least interesting to your visitors. It will give you a better understanding of where you should improve. Google Analytics gives you an insight on how many females and males engage with your site. You will then be able to tailor a specific offer for either part of your audience. By knowing what devices people use when browsing your site, you will know what changes to implement. Most websites today should be mobile friendly anyway. It is because people spend more time on their phones nowadays. Google Analytics account can be connected to Google AdWords. If you manage paid advertising campaigns, you will easily be able to track their effectiveness. You will be able to see whether the engagement on your website increases or decreases thanks to a comparison feature. You set up a specific time, for example, previous and existing month and you get an automatically generated report.

CONCLUSION:

Google Analytics is a free tool that is very easy to install. You do not need any coding knowledge to set up an analytics account. Installing process takes only a few minutes. You get access to data about your customers, their behaviour, and preferences. You can download the reports of your choice and check up on your website effectiveness any time. Real-time visitor tracking allows you to see who is currently on your site and which page they are browsing.

Google Analytics can be integrated with other tools such as Google Search Console or Google AdWords. Besides all that, there are many tutorials available online, so you can always refer to these sources if you get lost. Check out the Google Analytics Academy. They provide courses for beginners and advanced users. There are also separate tutorials on Google Tag Manager. All in all, Google Analytics is worth implementing. It can be useful even for a general overview of what happens on your website.

How To Build a Google Friendly Website?

One of the most important aspects of a successful SEO strategy is a Google friendly website. There are two ways to drive visitors from Google to your website. One way is to build profitable Google AdWords campaigns that help you to drive the targeted traffic to your website. The other way is to gain high organic rankings. The latter method involves a lot of time and effort but is a better option in the long term. It also requires minimum or no financial investment. Search Engine Land published a great article on why organic search is better. You can read more about it here.

What are the characteristics of a good website?

There are some general components that can make or break the effectiveness of your online presence. These are appearance, functionality, content, website usability and of course SEO. Website’s appearance is how a user perceives your website. A site must be visually appealing, clean in design and professional. When a person visits your site, this is usually the first impression they get that makes them stay or leave. There are a few rules that always work when it comes to a good design. There should be a maximum of 3 colors used for a design. The colors cannot be bright. Otherwise, it may be difficult to read the text displayed on a website. The easiest combination is a black text on a white background and a font size between 10 and 12 points. Any graphics and visual elements of the site need to match the content. Every website should be functional. What does that mean? Hyperlinks, contact forms, event registration forms and other website components should work as expected. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar

Every website should be functional. What does that mean? Hyperlinks, contact forms, event registrations and other website components should work as expected. Spelling mistakes and bad grammar are welcomed neither on a website or in a company downloadable files. Other elements of a Google friendly website are content and usability. When it comes to the usability, the website should be easy to read, navigate and understand. This applies to producing valuable content, the general loading speed of the website, and logical navigation. Every business should include a contact number at the top right of the website, social links, quick contact form and eye-catching call to actions on their website. There should be short information about products or services they offer and a clickable phone number.

What plugins and tools are worth checking?

If your website is built on WordPress, you may use plugins to unlock new features. Plugins allow you to install a piece of code to your website thanks to which you can either introduce new changes to the website’s layout or improve its functionality. Backwpup Free is an example of a plugin that allows you to download your entire website within a couple of minutes. It can be extremely useful, especially when your hosting provider does not offer weekly or monthly backups. Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins that enables you to customize the meta data for individual pages on your website. If you need something to speed up the website loading time, then you may consider installing a W3 Total Cache. Your website security is important too. Akismet is an anti-spam plugin that processes and analyzes a great amount of data from millions of sites and communities in real time. There are plenty of tools available online. Some of them are good for content creation and social media, while others help in tracking the effectiveness of your online campaigns.

Useful tools for content creation and website analysis:

Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator

This tool will help you to generate ideas for your next blog post. Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator is free and easy to use. Just type out few key words, press enter and wait for results. It may not necessarily give you the exact title, but it can boost your creativity or help you to identify your next topic for a blog post.

Google Analytics

This is a free web analytics Google service. Google Analytics helps you to understand how people interact with your website. How does it work? When someone visits your website, the Google Analytics tracking code loads. This code is a small piece of JavaScript that sits in the code of all the pages of your website. The tracking code looks for information stored in cookies. If it finds any information in a cookie, then it updates it. If no, then a new cookie is created in a web browser. The tracking code sends gathered information to the Google Analytics servers and this is how you learn about who visited your website, where they come from and what pages they were browsing.

Google Webmaster Tools

GWT is a free Google toolset that helps you understand what happens on your website. You need to get authorized first to gain access to these data. You will be able to set up your own dashboard once you get verified. The dashboard will give you an idea of which keywords you are trying to target and how much traffic your website is receiving. A website that is active in Webmaster Tools has a better chance to be fully indexed by Google. Obviously, you may get a much better overview of your website’s performance through Webmaster Tools. Sign up for an account and check how it works.

Google Website Optimizer

It is another free tool from Google that allows you to see which sections of content on your website convert into most clicks. This tool is mainly for experimenting with the effectiveness of your content. It allows you to create different versions of one page. It measures the efficacy of each page and points out the best version.

Evernote

Evernote is a digital notebook where you can store and organize content as well as images. It also allows you to record an audio content and copy information from other websites. Evernote is accessible on your computer, tablet, and smartphone and all data you save there are synchronized.

CONCLUSION:

In April 2015, Google released a new algorithm that labels websites as either mobile-friendly or not. This obviously determines the site’s ranking in searches on mobile devices. More and more people are using tablets or mobile phones to look for the information online nowadays. Therefore, your site should be either responsive or mobile friendly. A responsive website is designed to smoothly transition between mobile, tablet and PC interfaces (through an additional piece of code), whereas the mobile friendly website is still accessible to mobile viewers, but it is not designed for optimal user experience.

There are many features that determine whether a website is Google friendly or not. Here are 10 tips on how to improve your Google rankings, if you already have a well-designed website. There are more and more websites being built every day. If someone wants to stay visible, they need to make sure that their website does not violate Google’s regulations. Having a nicely designed website is just half of a success. The other half is branding and a good SEO strategy.

How To Get a Top Google Position in 2017? – SEO Guide

The article is based on Backlinko ranking factor’s list.

Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of over 200 components. There is no need to have everything right to reach the top position in Google search. However, there are some things that everyone should get done.

There is no quick and easy way to optimize your site. Google’s trust can be earned through consistent and valuable work. There is a division on the white hat and the black hat SEO. Some examples of bad SEO practices are hidden links, sneaky redirects, automated queries to Google, subdomains or domains with a duplicate content and malicious pages. Long-lasting business is always built with the right amount of effort and consistency.

Google is visited by hundreds of millions of people per day and it makes it the most powerful source of traffic to your website. Being banned can badly influence your business and there is no guarantee that they will ever re-list you. Gaining Google’s trust is a tough job, but destroying it can be done very quickly.

White Hat SEO Techniques:

1. Backlinks

Backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others find your content unique, credible and trustworthy. Earning backlinks is an off-site SEO. Followed backlinks from authority websites are the most desirable ones. It is not easy to earn them. One way to get backlinks is to search for outdated links on reputable sites. Once you find them, contact the owner and tell them that the link is out of date or broken. Then, gently suggest that they add your link to their site. You may consider writing articles for other websites, so they can link back to your site or social profiles. There are plenty of companies that offer quick and effective backlink building. Do not trust them. They are spammy or low-quality sites for most of the time and white hat SEO is always a better choice than a black hat SEO.

2. Keywords and Updates

Keywords are important, but those in a keyword tag – not anymore. Meta tags and meta descriptions matter. Google looks for phrases instead of single words now. It is good to include keywords in meta tag descriptions or articles that you post on your blog. Keywords should also appear in a domain name, in h1, h2, and h3 tags and image descriptions. Fresh and new content is an indicator that the site is up to date. The content should be of a good quality and it cannot have too many affiliate links, as they can hurt your rankings.

3. Site Usability and Reputation

A site that is difficult to use or navigate will not rank highly in Google search. Site architecture is important. The content should be structured into smaller sections. The use of bullet points and numbered lists may be helpful. The length of the content also matters. The longer the text, the better it is for SEO. It is recommended to produce articles over 1, 500 words. Reputation is an important Google’s factor. Include About Us and Contact pages to make the site look more credible. Think of adding the sitemap for a better navigation and visibility for search engines. Bear in mind that the layout of your site should always be user-friendly.

4. Social Media Presence

Social media presence is very important and it has a huge impact on SEO, especially YouTube. Again, tweets coming from authority accounts are the most valuable ones. The more tweets the page has, the better influence it has on SEO. Facebook shares are stronger than Facebook likes because they are comparable to backlinks. Pinterest is not only a social platform, but it also serves as a search engine. It makes it interesting for SEO. Pinterest is a great referral traffic back to your site with pins from your own site. Google Plus is a social media network owned by Google. Some people underestimate its meaning. It is difficult to believe that Google would not consider its own social network for SEO. Also, Google places Google Plus local results higher than organic SERPs.

5. YouTube

YouTube is a traffic source with an enormous potential. Some of the most important signals that YouTube uses are title tag information, keywords in the description tag, tags, likes and dislikes, the number of subscribers, comments and the length of the video. Longer video descriptions help you to get your videos ranked higher, especially if you use right keywords. Utilize online communities such as Quora or LinkedIn. Provide an answer to a problem and suggest they watch your video with a valuable content that may be helpful for them. Encourage subscribing and liking and keep your lists organized. Put a keyword in your playlist description to give a deeper information about your video’s topic.

6. Other

Your domain’s name age matters to Google. Domain’s history is also an important factor. It is good to check the credibility of a domain that was earlier used by someone else. Poor code and a duplicate content are a big no to SEO. Broken or affiliate links may hurt your site rankings too. It is good to have terms of service and a privacy page to show Google that you are a trustworthy Internet’s member. The website should have a responsive design and it needs to provide a good quality content. Otherwise, you can get hit by a Panda algorithm penalty. Penguin penalty is another Google’s algorithm that decreases Google’s search rankings of pages that use black-hat SEO techniques.

CONCLUSION:

SEO is constantly changing. In the mid-1990s, it was important to complete meta keywords tag with as many words as possible to rank well. In 2004, placing links with anchor text was a key thing to be leveraged for traffic. In 2011, the social media marketing was main SEO method. In 2017, backlinks, general traffic, and reviews are the key factors for search engine optimization.

The future is uncertain, but the world of SEO is a constant world of change. Bear in mind that these tactics that worked a few years back may now cause harm to your website.

 

How to create an e-book in three easy steps?

An e-book is a type of book that can be read in digital form through different devices such as phones, tablets, desktop computers, laptops or e-readers. It is now becoming more popular than traditional paper books. Many people find e-books cheaper and more comfortable to use. A lot of things can be easily copied and pasted or sent to other users for sharing purposes.

E-books are a great way to promote a business. There are now many publishing platforms that enable companies to get their story or guide published. Remember that it is always a good thing to write about the subject you know very well or something that you specialise in. If the content is the king, then the quality must be its heart. In other words, the good and engaging content will not bring any results if it consists of low quality or untrue information.

The most user-friendly format for an e-book is a PDF format file. Most computers and other mobile devices have installed a PDF reader which enables reading and downloading any of PDF file types. The EPUB is an open source standard e-book publishing format that is supported by Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iBook’s and Google Books.

Learn the 3 steps:

1. Useful sources 

Before you create an e-book, think of what type of audience it will be directed to. If you plan to sell your e-book on Amazon, you should go for the .epub format. On the other hand, if you want to make a quick e-book for your website, then you should probably consider using a PDF file format.

There are plenty of software available that can help you to create a professional looking e-book. Some of them are free and other are paid. If you are a WordPress user, then you have an access to a variety of plugins such as Beacon Marketing eBooks or Ebook Store. These plugins enable you to create the e-book from scratch or they change your blog posts into one. Unfortunately, you need to upgrade to a paid version if you want to get rid of a watermark. Google Docs, Microsoft Word and Open Office are other free and easy to manage applications that can be used to create the nicely looking e-book. They also easily convert files to a PDF format. InDesign or Illustrator are better for those who have experience with Adobe Creative Suite. If you do not know how to use them, you may always check a few tutorials before attempting to any work. Also, Public Xpress is worth mentioning in this list! This is a free online e-book conversion tool. It takes DJVU, DOCX, TXT, HTML, RTF and PDF files and converts them into MOBI and EPUB e-book formats.

2. Your design

E-book needs to be visually attractive, interesting and easily readable. It can be designed in a landscape or a portrait mode. The last one is more suitable for a display on smaller screens. The first one allows incorporating graphics easier. You may alternatively use a theme. There are many free e-book templates that you can find on the Internet. Some of the examples worth checking might be www.slidescarnival.com or www.authorreadytemplates.com. Once you choose a template, think of colours you will use. It is important to pick colours that feel right together. As per templates, there are also free websites that will help you to choose the correct colour palette. Check www.colourlovers.com, www.color.adobe.com or www.paletton.com. Remember about few basic things, though. The background colour should always be lighter than a text. The colours you choose should be eye-friendly. Otherwise, no matter how good the content is, the people will not want to read it. Another important ingredient of a professionally written e-book is an eye-catching and easily readable font. Visit https://fonts.google.com and match something that will be appropriate to your project. The maximum you should choose is two fonts – one for a header and the other one for a body copy. Finally, after you created an e-book, build your CTAS (Call To Action). Think of what actions you would want your reader to take after reading the e-book. You may ask them to visit your website, follow you on Twitter or check some of your products. This is optional, but it gives a reader an opportunity to learn more about you or your products. They can also decide to buy something from you if they trust your services or products may meet their expectations.

3. Promotion and distribution 

You will need to have a few things in place for a successful e-book promotion. You can promote an e-book on your website or a blog. YouTube is another very popular platform nowadays. People usually prefer the audiovisual way of learning things. Therefore, a short YouTube introduction video to present your e-book would do the work. Offering a few chapters of your e-book for free will let people can get a grasp on what it is about and whether they like it or not. Consider selling the e-book on Amazon and let people download it for free in exchange for a review. Whenever you create a social media contest, you gather new followers. You can then offer your e-book as a prize. If your e-book is good, they will not hesitate to spread a good word about you. Affiliate marketing is also an option. Let other people with high profile channels promote your e-book to their audiences. This strategy works for both sides where you and they earn some money.

CONCLUSION:

The most important thing is to put in the effort and create a good quality piece of work that someone can take an advantage of. Good work by itself will not bring you any profit if you do not promote it well. Therefore, promoting your work may be as hard as creating it. Both are the necessary steps to success.

Do you have any experience in creating e-books? If so, how is it and what is the most challenging part of it?

10 tips to improve your Google rankings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of optimizing a content so that it shows up at the first pages of Google as a result of a search for a certain keyword.

10 tips on how to successfully increase your website visibility.

1. Create valuable content

It is very important to create a good quality content consistently. It can, however, be very difficult to come up with interesting topic ideas on a regular basis. There are some ways that may help you out with that. You may want to check websites such as Wikipedia, Reddit or Pinterest. Just type in the search box the field of your interest and you will receive some nice suggestions. Check Wikipedia’s references, Reddit’s comments section and Pinterest dashboards. You may find there all the popular topics people search for regularly. Once you have an idea for a blog post, think of a good design. Your photos should be of a good quality and they should be drawing the attention of a potential reader.

2. Use keywords

I am not referring here to Google keyword meta tags, because Google simply doesn’t use them anymore. The keywords that you use in your content are a completely different story. They are very important, but you should never overuse them. Jamming keywords into text will hurt your rankings. Your page may simply get classified as spam. Google not only looks for the keywords you use but also for relevant synonyms. Use www.semrush.com for effective search on your competitor’s keywords. Your page design matters too. The easier your site is to navigate, the better it is for Google to scan it. Also, sites that load quickly rank much higher than those that lag.

3. Learn HTML

There is no need to be a professional programmer to do the simple job. There are plenty of free resources such as Codecademy or W3Schools that can teach you the basics. Firstly, every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google. Secondly, consider adding meta descriptions to your site. This is a 160 characters snippet, a tag in HTML, that summarises a page’s content. Thirdly, subheads (h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6) have definitely less power than h1-tag, but they still count and affect SEO. Google spiders crawl from one page to another through links on your site. You will make their job much easier by creating a sitemap. Also, remember that your site should be mobile friendly. Most WordPress themes are mobile friendly and if they are not, you can always install a relevant plugin that will take care of that.

4. Create backlinks

Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage. Normally, sites with a lot of backlinks tend to rank higher on Google and other major search engines. It is not a very good idea to buy backlinks. It can do more harm than good. They may be low-quality links directing to spam sites. Find people in your industry and try to make relations. Consider getting a column on an industry publication. Check sites such as www.alltop.com. Type your keyword in the search box and you will get plenty of publications and blogs relevant to you. Then, check them carefully and see whether they have a page on their site where you can apply to be a writer. You may also consider leaving comments under other people’s blog posts once you find them interesting and informative. Whenever you post a comment, you naturally create a backlink to your page. However, you should not treat this as an ultimate strategy. As long as you aren’t actively using blog comments as a way to increase your backlinks, you should be fine.

5. Coordinate a co-marketing campaign

It is not reserved for bigger brands only. Find a potential co-worker who is genuinely interested in building a trustworthy impression. Co-marketing campaigns are a great way of reaching out to a bigger audience and they bring mutual benefits. You both promote each other’s content through a blog or social media channels. You may also create a webinar or a course together and sell it for free to an audience. The cooperation may be successful in the long term and you can become good business partners. Make an analysis of the results that the campaign brought. That knowledge will help you to enhance your results next time.

6. Create engaging content 

Make your content engaging by creating nice videos, posting good quality photos or both. It takes time, but it definitely pays off. Sites such as Google Plus or Pinterest can be good for SEO, especially Pinterest that is known for referral links. You may consider learning basic Photoshop skills or using platforms for video animation such as www.powtoon.com or www.goanimate.com. As you probably know, always make sure that the content that you create whether it is a pdf file, review, chart, webinar, interactive guide, tutorial, survey or other is of the highest quality possible. Also, create content that will help people to solve their problems. Check what they ask for on Quora or Reddit and try to deliver a relevant solution.

7. Invest in Google Analytics

Track the results of your work with Google Analytics. It will help you to understand what you are doing right and where you still need to improve. This tool will show you behavior patterns of your site visitors. You will know how much time they spend on certain pages and how they navigate away from your site. It is a free tool that will measure your website, app, digital and offline data to get the best customer insights.

8. Ask for feedback

Try to reach out to people and ask them for a feedback on your website or a blog. It can not only help you to form potential business relations, but it will also increase your credibility in Google search engines whenever someone leaves a positive comment. Also, find out who is linking to you. Use tools such as Google Search Console. This way you will know which content works for you and which doesn’t.

9. Regularly update your content on social media platforms

Social media marketing is a part of SEO. It cannot do the work itself, but it can greatly contribute to optimizing your page. There are many social media sites that can be a powerful tool in your successful marketing management. The most popular ones are obviously Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube. There are also some other underestimated sites that may turn out to be a great strategy for your business such as Pinterest, Quora or LinkedIn. Social media cannot be treated as an ultimate way or SEO strategy, but they can definitely be helpful.

10. Gain Google’s trust

This one is not easy, but there are few things that you may do to not be considered as a spam. Make sure your page includes Contact and About pages, so Google can consider it as a trustworthy, not a malware site. Do not double your content. Always write new fresh blog posts and provide updates to your older publications. A quality site should produce meaningful interactions with people. It matters how long visitors stay on your page and if they click through links or just immediately leave your page. The quicker they navigate away from your page, the less valuable it looks for Google.

What is your SEO strategy like? Do you have some nice ideas you would like to share with me? Let me know in the comments below!