Why Link Farms Are Bad News

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This post is all about educating you about something called link farms. Search engine optimization has been a hot topic for quite a few years now and we all know that positioning yourself well on Google search results is not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially if you have a brand new website. However, instead of discussing other SEO optimization techniques, I have decided to talk about a blackhat SEO practice known as link farming and why you should avoid it at all costs.

I know many of you are probably chomping at the bit wanting the latest and greatest information that will help you take over the SERP, but making sure you keep up with Google’s Best Practices is just as equally important. Being mindful of what you should and should not be doing on your website can help you avoid unnecessary manual actions  from Google and help you to avoid losing your position in search altogether.

hyperlink icons representing a link farm

What Are Link Farms?

Link Farms are companies that do one thing and one thing only. Can you guess what that is? They sell backlinks and if you are familiar with Google’s Best Practices, or if you read our previous article on SEO, then you know that knowingly and willingly participating in link schemes is not an acceptable practice.

What Is a Link Scheme?

Google defines a link scheme as any links intended to manipulate a website’s pagerank or a site’s ranking in search results.

To provide more clarity on link schemes, I have provided you with a short list of examples below.

  • Link Exchanges
  • Link Farms
  • Private Blogging Networks (PBN’s)
  • Paid Advertorials With DoFollow Links
  • Buying Links
  • Selling Links
  • Offering Incentives For Links
  • Spamming Links in Comments
  • Low Quality Directories
  • Low Quality Bookmarking Websites
  • Using Software to Automatically Create Links
  • Buying Press Releases With Keyword Optimized Anchor Text
  • Site Wide Footer Links

The Consequences of Link Farming

Given the numerous amount of link farms available on the world wide web today, there is no way of telling how much they have actually impacted search results over the years, but we can have a quick look at some of the known and potential consequences of these practices to give you a better understanding of their overall impact.

  1. Link Farms can indirectly impact the rankings of non targeted websites
  2. Buying links from link farms or anywhere else may have a longterm impact on your Google rankings.
  3. Websites can be deindexed from Google Search if they are thought to be active participants of Link farming.
  4. While Link Farms may provide a website with short term keyword ranking improvements, the gains are usually short lived.

 

Why Do People Use Them?

As I was writing this article I thought it may be a good idea to give you my two cents on why people use these services, because I have a feeling many of you have already probably asked yourself the same question. I believe many people use this services without actually knowing they are against Google’s guidelines and they are misinformed by the companies actually pitching them the service. I also believe that many people participate in what is known as selective hearing.

For example, I am almost positive that tons and tons of people know that building up a solid backlink profile has the possibility to help them rank on their most desired keywords and they probably think that it’s a legit SEO service when in reality, it’s not.

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Reporting Link Farms to Google

If you believe a website is participating in a link scheme, don’t just sit there and let them get away with it! Do your part and take action. Remember, link schemes manipulate Google Search Rankings and their actions give others an unfair advantage.

If you think a website is actively participating in a link scheme, then please click here to submit a report.

Have anything you would like to add to this blog post or have you ever had any experience with a link farm? If so, tell me about it and feel free to share your experience. Hope to see you in the comments section. Until next time, take care!

 

What Is SEO? Your Ultimate Guide

mobile phone showing google serps

If you’re new to internet marketing or you have been living under a rock for the last ten years, then you might not know about SEO, but I’m willing to bet that chances are you’ve probably at least heard of this term once or twice before. If you have or you haven’t really doesn’t matter because I am going to try to give you a thorough explanation of what SEO actually is and if it’s worth it for you to hire a search engine optimization professional for your business. Let’s begin, shall we?

SEO, or search engine optimization as most of us call it, is the process in which a website owner tries to positively impact his or her search rankings through a variety of different methods. Some of these methods may include, but aren’t limited to, page speed tweaks, revising keyword strategies, obtaining more backlinks,

website ranking number one on google search

What Can Impact Your SEO?

When it comes to search engine optimization at least for the Google Search Engine, many SEO professionals know that Google uses a very complex algorithm for ranking websites and there is at least to be 200 different ranking factors that can have an impact on your search engine rankings.

Website Performance

I won’t touch on this topic too much in this article since I have discussed this in previous topics; however, you should know that Google tends to rank faster websites better than slower websites.

Here are some factors that could be causing your website to load poorly…

  • Overall Page Size
  • Image Sizes & Poorly Compressed Images
  • Unused Javascript and CSS
  • Third Party Scripts
  • Unminified HTML, CSS, or Javascript
  • Non Essential Plugins
  • Slow WordPress Themes
  • Lack of Browser Caching
  • Asyncing or Defering Javascript
  • Minimizing Redirect Chains

If you’re interested in achieving better website performance scores, then be sure to check out this article.

Keywords – Making sure that you have compiled data on keywords that are actually getting search volume can help you to make sure you aren’t trying to rank for keywords with little to no search volume.

Mobile Responsiveness – The mobile friendliness of your website can also have major impacts on your overall performance in search engines and if you aren’t paying attention to how well your website is optimized for mobile, then you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to improve your website.

Your Domain Authority – Your website’s domain authority is thought to be a known ranking factor as well. In fact, it is also thought that Google places higher value on websites that have also acquired age (Learn more about this topic by checking out this article from backlinko). Furthermore, the amount of organic backlinks have also been thought to play a crucial role in increasing your website’s domain authority as well.

Type of Domain – Did you know that the type of domain you buy can also impact your search engine visibility? For example, if you buy a domain that is country specific such as .fr or .ch it does carry the probability that it will help you rank better for those geographic locations, but it may impact your visibility on a global scale.

Link Structure – Creating appropriate link silos and taking steps to ensure your permalinks have relevant keywords in them can go a long way for

AMP – Also known as accelerated mobile pages, configuring your website to be AMP friendly can help give your users an even better mobile browsing experience.

Backlink Profile – The amount of websites linking back to your website’s content also plays a role in determining your ranking factors on Google search; however, many experts at Google have hinted that they do not play as much of a major role as they used to. It is also important to know that the relevance of your backlinks is just

Internal Links – Your internal links matter, too. Remember, making additional content easier to find, and internally linking to other relevant topics makes an impact.

Good Content – You guys probably have heard the old saying that content is king, and creating good content that provides your users will useful information that is helpful can also help you boost your overall search engine rankings.

Light Content – If you tend to create light content that provides your users with minimal information, then it could negatively impact your keyword rankings.

Search Console Errors – Make sure you also stay vigilant about handling errors that come up in Google Search Console.

XML Sitemap Submission – Submitting your XML sitemaps to Google, Bing!, and other search engines can help search engines understand what your website is about.

SSL Certificate – Google has stated that one of the easiest things you can do to help your rankings on Google Search is to make sure your site has an SSL certificate.

Website Updates – For those of you who don’t know, Google and other search engines tend to look favorably at websites who update their content frequently. This applies to both creating new content and updating older content.

 

seo professional optimizing a website

Do You Need an SEO Expert?

I am pretty sure that many of you reading today’s article are asking yourself this very question, so I thought I would expand on this topic a bit in hopes of helping you to decide if you need a professional SEO consultant or if it would make better sense for you to try some good home grown DIY SEO. So, to help you make a better informed decision, ask yourself the following questions and then decide if hiring an expert would be the right option for you.

  • Do you know how to perform keyword research?
  • Can you create content?
  • Are you familiar with Google’s Best Practices?
  • Do you know On Page SEO?
  • Do you know how to organically build links?
  • Can you perform your own SEO Audit?
  • Can you write meta descriptions?
  • Will you be able to troubleshoot performance issues?
  • Do you know what an HTML and XML sitemap is?
  • How much do you know about robots.txt?

Can I Do This Myself?

Absolutely. If you take the time to learn best practices and take a proactive approach to learning as much as you can, than most definitely. In fact, many people take this approach, but most of it boils down to time. If you don’t have the time or the patience to learn search engine optimization (and there is a lot to learn), then hiring a search engine optimization expert is probably a better option for you.

However, if you do take the time to learn search engine optimization techniques, you will not only be able to help yourself, but you’ll be able to help other people, too!

Is SEO Worth The Investment?

This is probably another question many of you (especially business owners) are asking yourselves, and it’s definitely a good question to ask. Unfortunately, this question is very one sided and the answer will almost always depend on several different factors. Keep reading to learn about these factors before taking on the commitment to hire a professional SEO or a digital marketing agency for your SEO needs.

Expectations SEO is not a quick fix or a get rich quick strategy. If you’re looking for short term monetary gains, then I suggest you learn about Google AdWords or other online advertising platforms. However, setting your website up early to be SEO optimized and ensuring that you or anyone on your team that manages your site knows and follows proper SEO techniques is worth its weight in gold later on.

Budget – If you have budget constraints, then sit down with your potential hire and get his or her opinion on what SEO related tasks should take priority and use your budget to make sure those items get handled regardless. Remember, higher budgets mean more work can get done and if you can’t afford a long term commitment with your SEO expert, then it’s best to make the best use of each other’s time while you can.

Goals – If you are looking to hire an SEO professional because you think he or she may be able to help you rank on page one on Google in a short period of time, then I encourage you to re-evaluate your options. As I stated before, search engine optimization is a long term play and should be treated as such. However, that isn’t to say that you won’t rank a brand new website extremely well, but you shouldn’t expect it in a relatively short period either.

Experience – Evaluating the experience of your preferred SEO contractor is probably one of the very first things you should do before making the commitment to work with someone and you should focus on developing a comprehensive plan tailored to your needs before taking the plunge.

I bring this up because some SEO professionals and or agencies may only specialize in a certain number of SEO related tasks such as meta descriptions, title tags, alt image text, or basic header tag fixes and may lack the professional experience to help you achieve improvement in other areas such that require more technical knowledge or development prowess.

seo friendly website

Technical SEO? What?

If you’re still sitting here and scratching your head, then you probably aren’t the only one. Search Engine Optimization is a fairly robust topic and as you probably know from reading most of this article, there is a lot more to SEO than writing meta descriptions or strategic keyword placement. If you thought that writing good content, getting relevant backlinks, and following Google’s Best Practices was enough, I am sorry to be the bear of bad news, but it’s not. Even if you do everything correctly I can almost guarantee that there will come a time when your website will need some good old fashioned TLC that will force you to get under the hood a bit.

Random Google algorithm updates are notorious for forcing website owners to adapt new ways of doing things in order to make sure they keep their website SEO friendly. For the purpose of this example let’s jump back in time and go back to July 1, 2019. This was when Google officially adopted Mobile First Indexing. This algorithm update explicitly states that Google will start predominantly using the mobile versions of websites for indexing and ranking.

So, let’s think about what this meant for users back then from a technical standpoint…

Basically, users knew that the mobile versions of their websites were going to start becoming more and more important as time went on and it started forcing everyone to make sure their websites were properly formatted for mobile phones and tablets. For some people this was an easy fix if there wasn’t much that needed done, but for people who had either neglected their website or for those who had little technical knowledge of how they could start making their website more mobile friendly, it probably became quite the headache.

The main point I am trying to make is that SEO is much more involved than most people think and if you find yourself not staying well informed about the latest updates regarding Google Search, then your overall presence on organic search could suffer rapidly. This is why it definitely pays to get at least a little acquainted with the technical side of SEO.

Other Examples of Technical SEO Fixes Include….

  • Fixing Flash Of Invisible Text (FOIT)
  • Using appropriate Canonical Tags
  • Using Nofollow links When Appropriate
  • Using Proper 301 Permanent Redirects
  • Utilizing Schema Markup
  • Minimizing Your Use of Javascript
  • Making Your Website Mobile Responsive On All Devices
  • Reduce or Eliminate Render Blocking Javascript
  • Serving Images in Next Gen Formats Such as WEBP, JPEG 2000, or JPEG XR

In case you’re wondering how you could improve on your technical SEO why not trying checking out Google PageSpeed Insights? This handy little tool will tell you if you need to fix most of the items I mentioned above (excluding Nofollow links, Schema Markup, Canonical Tags, or 301 redirects). To see if you should be using those or not, I suggest doing a quick Google Search and getting well acquainted with the terms and how they should be used on your website.

Blackhat SEO Explained

Some of you reading this might already be familiar with the term “Blackhat SEO”, but for those of you who aren’t, let me explain. Blackhat SEO refers to tactics or strategies that go against Google’s Best Practices and are used to exploit search algorithms in the hopes of ranking a website rather quickly. Regardless of how tempting that might sound, I can assure you that it is not worth it and here’s why.

First of all, practicing any form of Blackhat SEO could get your website deindexed from Google Search altogether and you may or may not ever be able to get the ban lifted. Secondly, even if you do experience a short term boost in your rankings, it will probably be very short lived and fail to provide you with any real positive impact.

A few examples of Blackhat SEO include….

  • Buying links from linkfarms.
  • Keyword stuffing your pages (this includes hiding invisible text)
  • Creating several similar websites in order to rank for the same terms or geographic location.
  • Cloaking – the process of showing search engines one piece of content, but showing the user something totally different.
  • Abusing schema markup and structured data snippets.
  • Link spamming other websites or blogs with a link back to your own website in the comments section.
  • Engaging with a PBN (aka Private Blogging Network). These networks are similar to link farms and are made for the sole purpose of building links.

The moral of the story is you should never knowingly, or unknowingly participate in any Blackhat SEO techniques that could run you the risk of getting your website possibly removed from Google Search. Unless you want to create a website that will forever remain a ghost town….

A Final Thought

Well, I hope this article has helped those of you reading this and I also hope that I might have taught the more experienced readers a few new tricks as well. It was definitely a lot of fun writing this article and remember, if you have any comments, questions, or things you would like see added into this post, please feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

Oh, and for those of you who own a local business and want to improve your SEO even further, be sure to check out our post on How to Use Google My Business.

 

What is a CDN?

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Many of you have probably heard the term CDN while browsing the internet or from talking to a digital marketing consultant. So what is a CDN and what exactly do they do for your website? Let’s talk about that.

CDN (Content Delivery Network) A CDN or a content delivery network is a group of servers that are distributed in several geographic locations that work together in order to serve your content as fast as possible to your users.

If you’re unsure if your website would benefit from a content delivery network or you just feel like learning more about them in the meantime, I encourage you to keep reading this article because I have provided you with some great information and additional resources about this topic that will not only help your current website, but will also help any of your future web projects. Enjoy and happy reading!

 

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Content Delivery Network Benefits

Connecting your website to a Content Delivery Network is definitely a good choice for most website owners (even if you have a small website) and there are several added benefits that come with connecting your website to a CDN. So let’s continue this topic by discussing some of these benefits and what they can do for your website.

1. Website Speed

As you probably have already guessed (and we talk about this a little more later on in this article as well) Content Delivery Networks can boost your website performance and speed by a great deal. Most CDNs will allow you to add browser caching to your website and it serving cached content to your users is one way this service helps to improve the overall speed of your website on both mobile and desktop versions.

Want to learn about other ways you can improve the speed of your website? Click here.

2. User Experience

The website speed enhancements also come with a side benefit as well, and that is a better user experience. It is common knowledge that people get annoyed when they have to sit around for a website to finish loading and slow load times lead to increase bounce rates and user drop offs. When you’re building out your website, always try to remember that improving the UX of your website will help you to gain, retain, and increase your user base.

3. Extra Layers Of Security

Most CDN’s also come with additional security features such as Firewalls, Bruteforce Hacking Protection, DDos Protection, and more. These security solutions can help you to protect your website or web applications even further than what normal web hosting companies might offer you and I definitely think they are worth looking into if you value the security of your platform.  I won’t be discussing the different types of security exploits in this article, but if you’re interested in learning about them, Cloudflare has some great information on these topics and I encourage you to check out any of the following links if you want to find out more.

Bruteforce Hacking Explained

What Is a DDos Attack

What Is a Firewall

Will a CDN Improve My SEO?

The short answer is yes. SEO experts have known for quite some time now that speed is definitely a performance indicator when it comes to Google’s ranking algorithm and they have even started measuring your website’s performance on mobile, so connecting your website to a CDN can definitely help your website with its search engine optimization. Let’s also not forget that CDN’s all usually have built in caching features which is another metric that is checked by both Google Page Speed Insights and GTmetrix.

Are There Any Downsides?

To be quite frank, there aren’t any real downsides to having your website connected to a Free CDN that I know of. However, once your website starts scaling or you want to add things like a cookie free browsing experience, some Content Delivery Networks will make you pay for additional features.

Enterprise CDN Solutions Are Expensive

If you have an established website in need of enterprise CDN solutions, then you might eventually have to start shelling out some additional cash. In case you’re not familiar with said features we are discussing, here is a quick list. Now for most of us, including the average WordPress user, we will never need an enterprise CDN Solution, but for those of you who do, please take time to read further.

  • Even Faster Paint Metrics Some CDN’s can even improve page load times even further for mobile devices on slow networks.
  • IOT Security – If you’re concerned about IOT Security, many CDN companies offer this type of security solution when you pay for one of their Enterprise plans.
  • Increased Scalability – Many Content Delivery Networks also offer some type of additional scalability package if your website has periods of frequent traffic.
  • Custom Nameservers – Another added benefit of many paid CDN solutions is that you can have the ability to create your own custom nameservers.

Are CDN’s Only For Websites?

The answer to this question is no. CDN’s are available for websites, web applications, SAAS applications, and even native iOS mobile applications. Since this article is more targeted towards website owners, that is all I am going to say about this for now; however, feel free to do a quick Google search if you’re trying to look for a CDN solution that is unrelated to improving your website performance.

What CDN’s Do We Recommend?

If you’re wanting to get serious about your website’s performance, then I highly advise you to take the plunge and connect your website to a content delivery network. Setup is usually virtually painless and usually takes like than 10 minutes, so what’s not to love about that? You will be able to get better GTMetrix Scores, improve your overall SEO, and you’ll be able to wow your users with how fast your website is with the help of a CDN.

Here’s our list of trusty CDN Providers we know and love.

Cloudflare

BunnyCDN

MaxCDN

KeyCDN

Akaimai

As always, I hope you guys get a lot of value and insight from this article and I want you to check back soon to read about an upcoming article I am writing about setting up your CDN for WordPress. Hope to see you all soon, and remember if you want to comment on this topic or have any questions for any of us here at Digital Brain Food, leave a comment!

How to Generate More Online Leads As a Local Contractor

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If you own a business or provide a service, then probably one of the biggest questions you probably ask yourself is “how do I generate more online leads for my business”, so that’s what I am going to be discussing in today’s post.

Create a Google My Business Account

If you aren’t using Google My Business to generate free, organic leads as a contractor or local service provider, then you’re missing out. In fact, if you want to learn more about this free service and other SEO Tips, then don’t forget to check out our previous article before you leave. If you have created a Google My Business account, but aren’t sure how to get started, then you could also check out our other post on How To Use Google My Business.

Why Is Google My Business Helpful?

This free platform allows potential customers in your service area (and all over the world for that matter) to search for local businesses that can help provide them with the services that they need. It is also a way for your customers to leave you feedback once a job is done. Doing great work and providing your customers with a great experience will help build your trust and authority as a company and people will eventually take notice.

Use Google Local Service Ads

If you’re tired of spending money on Google Adwords, or maybe you’re looking for a safer approach to online advertising, then I highly suggest checking out Google Local Service Ads. This service was rolled out over a year ago by Google and it allows local business owners to pay for leads only if a real potential customer calls your phone.

The Benefits Of Local Service Ads

Here are some other additional benefits to using Google Local Service Ads:

  • You only pay for results. Meaning you only pay when a customer actually contacts you.
  • You can set your budget based on the number of leads you want.
  • Customers can easily contact you directly.
  • Your business will show up on search with the Google Guarantee Icon.

What Types of Businesses Can Use This Service?

Unfortunately, for the time being, not all businesses will be eligible to sign up for this service, but to see if yours makes the cut, check out the list below.

  • Appliance Repair Technicians
  • Auto Service Technicians
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Electricians
  • Event Planners
  • Garage Door Professionals
  • HVAC Professionals
  • House Cleaners
  • Junk Removal Providers
  • Lawn Care Providers
  • Locksmiths
  • Movers
  • Pest Control Technicians
  • Pet Care Provider
  • Pet Groomers
  • Photographers
  • Plumbers
  • Roofers
  • Tree Service Providers
  • Water Damage Service Providers
  • Window Cleaners
  • Window Service Providers

And there you have it. That is a current list of businesses who qualify to sign up for Google Local Service ads.

How Do I Qualify?

Many of you are probably asking yourself, “I have to qualify to use this service?”, and the answer is yes. Here is what Google typically requires you to have in order to use this service:

  • Your company must Be licensed & insured (and you will have to provide documentation).
  • Your business needs to be in good standing and have a good reputation
  • Google might perform a background check on you and your employees.

You can learn more about the qualification process by contacting Google directly and speaking to customer support.

Get Listed On Directories

If you’re a local contractor that operates within a specific service area, then it definitely pays off to get yourself listed, and sometimes pay for listings on certain directories. For example, many local contractors use services such as HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack to generate qualified leads. One thing you want to try to remember with directory listings is that you want to find places where you know your potential customers go in order to find services that they need.

If you’re wondering what other directories you could possibly get listed on that might help you generate more local business, then I highly suggest reading this post by Local Seo Guide. They have compiled a pretty decent sized list for you to take a peek at and you can choose which one’s you think might benefit your business the most.

Get Active On Social Media

Now I’m sure many of you have heard this a number of times as well, but social media can be a great sales channel for your local business if you know how to use it right. Posting updates and offers to your customers is all fine and dandy, but you should also try getting creative when posting on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter. Use these platforms to show the world what you can really do without trying to make every post a “hard sell“.

That being said, think about your social media profiles like they are a place to showcase your best work and don’t be afraid to show it off. This will not only possibly be a way for you to help generate new business, but it will help you start building your own personal brand.

Add Calls to Action to Your Website

If your local business has a website, then you should probably be making sure it has clear calls to action where appropriate. For example, making sure your phone number is clearly displayed on your website and giving potential customers the ability to click to call you from their mobile devices is definitely a practice you want to start taking part in if you aren’t already.

Additionally, make sure that you have a contact form some where on your website that potential customers can fill out after they have landed on your website. In fact, some businesses have multiple contact forms throughout their website and on every additional landing page that they create, but that is another topic for another day.

Create A Referral E-Mail Campaign

Another great way for you to drum up more business is by utilizing your current e-mail list to ask for referral business. If you’re new to e-mail marketing or aren’t sure how to go about building an automated e-mail campaign, then I suggest you check out Mailchimp.

Mailchimp offers an amazing platform that will help you design and customize your e-mails like an e-mail marketing pro, and their platform is easy to learn.

Well, that should definitely be enough to get a few of you guys started and I definitely hope this helps you start scaling your own business, so, take care and please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below if you think I should add to this list or if you have any questions about any of the topics that were discussed in this post.

How to Use Google My Business

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Google My Business is a great platform for both consumers and business owners. It not only helps consumers find businesses, but it is also an amazing source of free organic traffic.

If you’re scratching your head and saying, “Okay….but how do I use it”? Don’t wor

 

Add Photos Like You’re On Instagram

Think I’m kidding? No, I’m really not. Adding photos to your Google My Business page frequently can help your GMB ranking shoot through the roof.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the platform, you can add new photos to your GMB profile by reading the following steps.

  1. Login to your Google My Business Profile
  2. Click Photos on your GMB dashboard
  3. Press the plus icon located at the top right of your screen

That’s it. So feel free to try it out and upload your first Google My Business photo if you haven’t already!

 

You can Add Videos, Too!

If taking photos isn’t enough for you, then why not take a couple of videos that show off your work? If you are savvy with a camera or know how to use your iPhone like a pro, then I suggest you take this advice seriously and go out and at least try this once.

Videos are a great way to stand out from other local businesses and if you take the time to do it you will definitely have a competitive edge on this platform.

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Post Regularly and Often

Just when you thought you never had to blog again….. Now you get to with your brand new Google My Business profile! How exciting, right?

Well, technically you might call it micro blogging? Blurbing? I don’t know, but either way, the Google My Business platform allows you to write posts, create updates, add products, and list additional offers for your business.

 

 

Update Your Holiday Hours

Sound like a mundane task? It is, but this is actually very important too. Google is all about providing the most accurate information to anyone using their platform, but doing this well also help you avoid angry customers, too.

If your hours aren’t up to date and a customer drives to your location only to find out you are closed, then you are probably going to lose a potential customer and find a nasty review on your profile.

 

Add Additional Services

Many of you reading this probably think that updating your services would be common sense, right? However, some business owners that are unfamiliar with the Google My Business platform don’t know that they have the ability to update and add additional services.

That being said, if you’re having trouble finding where you go to actually update your services, then just remember to login, click Services, and add as many services as you would like!

 

Respond to Your Reviews

Now let’s talk discuss GMB’s customer review section. If a customer decides to leave you a review on your Google My Business profile, then do your best to respond in a timely manner.

Being active on the platform and letting customers know you are paying attention to them can help you increase your customer engagement and it lets them know that you are genuinely paying attention to their feedback.

Well as always, I hoped you guys liked reading my latest article and I will definitely be back to update this some more and eventually discuss some other features in the platform, but until next time, see ya!

(Looking for other cool local seo tips? Be sure to check out this article before you go.)

How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website in 2020

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Good evening! Is your WordPress website taking forever to load? I am sure it is or else you probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon this blog post…. Well keep reading to learn how you can speed up your WordPress website just like the pros and enjoy the journey!

Delete Unnecessary Plugins

Deleting unnecessary plugins is probably one of the easiest things you can do to speed up your WordPress website, because all you have to do is login, deactivate and delete the plugins you don’t need, and you’re done!

Just remember not to delete any plugins that you actually use or any that might be required for your theme to function correctly, or else you could temporarily end up with a very wonky looking website and nobody wants that, right?

Resize and Compress Your Images

If you read our previous article 10 SEO Tips Every Business Owner Should Know, then you probably noticed that we mentioned that optimizing your images will help you decrease your website’s loading time, right? Well, let’s dive into that topic for a bit.

When you are uploading images to your website try to always make sure that each individual image is under 100 kilobytes. If you don’t have an image compression plugin installed on your website to help reduce the filesize, then you can try using compressjpeg.com and compresspng.com in the meantime.

You probably already know that some pictures just won’t make the cut and my advice to you is to just find different pictures or just keep in mind that they might be a bit larger than you would have hoped.

Remove Inactive Themes

Not many people know this, but having multiple themes installed will actually slow your website down. So, just remember to check what themes you have installed once in a while and remember to remove any themes you currently aren’t using.

Another great thing you can do for yourself before installing and deciding to use a new WordPress theme is to check the theme’s GTMetrix score beforehand that way you know if it performs well or not.

Failing to do so can end up leaving you frustrated and confused, especially if you do everything right, but are still getting low page speed scores.

Disable WordPress Heartbeat

Did you know that disabling WP Heartbeat will also help speed up your WordPress website? For those of you don’t know what WP Heartbeat is, then let me give you a quick run down of what it is before we continue.

WordPress Heartbeat or WP Heartbeat is the autosave feature that is built into WordPress; however, it can definitely cause performance issues with some WordPress websites because it basically runs constantly.

Moving on, I also wanted to say If you’re new to WordPress, then please exercise this next tip with caution because you will have to edit your functions.php file in order for this to work.

That being said, I strongly advise you to install a child theme on your WordPress website before adding the following code.

Okay, so after you have installed your child theme (or if you didn’t) all you have to do is copy and paste this code into your functions.php file and press save.

add_action( ‘init’, ‘stop_heartbeat’, 1 );
function stop_heartbeat() {
wp_deregister_script(‘heartbeat’);
}

Easy enough, right? Before we move on to the next tip, I want to credit Themeskills for this advice on WP Heartbeat.

Install a Caching Plugin

Kind of ironic that you’re being told to install a plugin after we just got done telling you to delete ones you don’t need, huh. Well, in this case, downloading and installing a caching plugin like WP Fastest Cache will usually do your website a lot of good and here’s why….

  • It will allow you to minify HTML, Javascript, and CSS.
  • The premium version will compress your images for you.
  • WP Fastest Cache even allows you to Lazy Load your images.
  • This caching plugin also allows you to enable GZip Compression.

Do your website and yourself a favor and go and install a caching plugin to help you get those GTMetrix page speed scores from an F to an A!

I hope you have enjoyed reading tonight’s article about how to speed up your WordPress Website in 2020 and I encourage to come back and visit us often for more awesome WordPress tips and tricks!

10 SEO Tips Every Business Owner Should Know

business owner searching for seo tips online

If you’re looking for some solid seo tips to help grow your business, then you’re in the right place. Learning the basic best practices of Search Engine Optimization can help you expand your online presence and help you increase your overall customer base. So, let’s jump right in and start learning some of the internet’s best kept secrets so that you can hit the ground running.

 

Subscribe to Relevant Business Directories

You have probably heard about business directories and many of you have probably created an account on one or two, but aren’t understanding why you aren’t seeing an increase in traffic or an increase in your website leads.

That being said, have you ever asked yourself if you are subscribing to the right business directories? Many business owners try a one size fits all approach when it comes to getting listed on web directories and I can tell you from experience in most cases that is the wrong approach.

For example, if you’re in the business of building houses, then try to find websites and directories that cater to your specific niche.

 

Update Your Website Often

This is another SEO tip that most business owners undervalue, but I can assure you that updating your website regularly is important. Search engines like Google take notice when websites are creating and updating their content and it’s very important to try and stay ahead of the curve.

If you struggle with creating blog posts or updating your service pages, or just don’t know what kind of content to create for your business, then why not take a step back and look at your website as if you were a customer?

Think about what kinds of questions you would have for your business and talk about them in an informative blog post!

You could even go through each one of your service pages and add a frequently asked questions section and add additional information about each specific service.

 

Don’t Forget About Your Meta Descriptions

This seo tip is definitely a no brainer, but one that is often overlooked. You should always remember to write unique meta descriptions for each and every page or post on your website.

It is also considered best practice to include the focus keyword of that specific page in your meta description so your users can better understand what the page is about before they click on the link.

 

Get Listed On Google My Business

Remember those relevant business directories we just discussed? Google My Business is definitely a directory most local businesses will want to get listed on. Not only will it help your physical location to be displayed on Google Maps, but it is literally a free lead generation tool.

If you’re a business owner and you’re not utilizing this free service, then please, do yourself a favor and create a profile.

Google My Business will let your customers give you reviews and if you’re doing good work, other people will take notice when searching for businesses like yours in your service area.

 

Make Sure Your Website Is Fast

This is probably another no brainer SEO tip, but a good one nonetheless. Research suggests that improving page speed can help you decrease your bounce rate and improve overall website conversions, but you’re probably asking yourself how do I do that?

Well, if you have a WordPress website, then I suggest you check out our article on page speed optimization to learn more.

But, if you don’t feel like reading that article right now, then here’s some quick and dirty advice to get you started.

  • Utilize Browser Caching
  • Optimize Your Images
  • Don’t overuse Javascript
  • Compress your CSS
  • Eliminate Render Blocking JS
  • Use a CDN if your website has tons of content.

 

Make Sure Your Website Is User Friendly

If you are going to take anything away from this article, then please make sure you pay close attention to the next few sentences, because this is probably one of the most important SEO tips in this entire post.

Google has stated several times in the past that making sure your website is mobile responsive and user friendly is definitely something that can help you improve your overall search performance so here are a few things to consider when trying to determine if your website is user friendly or not.

  • Does your website load properly on all mobile devices?
  • Does each page load quickly?
  • Is your website easy to navigate?

 

Get An SSL Certificate

Think SSL certificates are only for website owners that have an e-commerce store? Think again! Google has also came out and said that putting an SSL certificate on your website is one of the easiest things you can do to boost your search engine rankings.

If you don’t know what an SSL certificate is, then I suggest reading about it by clicking here.

 

Update Your Images ALT Text

Did you know updating your images alternative text will help your images rank on Google images? It’s true and that’s because alternative text helps search engines understand what your image is actually about.

However, remember to be mindful of Google’s best practices when writing your alt image text by honestly describing your images. That means you

 

Check Your Page Titles

This next search engine optimization tip will definitely give you a laugh, but I am being very serious when I say this….Check your page titles! If you create a new web page and you have a title like laundry service near me, then you’re doing it wrong.

A page title such as laundry service in Sacramento, California would be more appropriate. If you are trying to gain local in bound traffic, then make sure to include the city and state you serve in the page title if you think it’s appropriate.

Another good rule of thumb regarding your page titles is to also try and be as descriptive as possible. However, please also remember to try and keep your page titles under 60 characters. You can learn why character limit on your page titles is important by checking out this article from MOZ.

 

Don’t Forget About Header Tags

So, this is my final SEO tip for this article and I saved the most basic for last. When it comes to helping search engines understand what a specific page is about it’s also important for you to optimize your header tags.

Your <h1> tag is considered the most important header tag on any page or post and should always contain your focus keyword.

Furthermore, your <h2> through <h6> tags should include different variations of that same keyword when possible and wherever appropriate.

 

Bonus SEO Tip: Create Better Permalinks

Before we finish up this article I also think it is a good idea to talk to you about writing better permalinks. When you’re about to publish a page or post remember to always double check and see if your permalinks contain your focus keyword and avoid using permalinks such as /123445 etc.

I hope this article will help many of you business owners in the future and I also hope you will come back and check out our blog frequently for more awesome advice on search engine optimization.

Until next time, farewell and remember to contact us if you need any help regarding web design or development!