Blog

Critical SEO checklist when redesigning a website

Website redesigns are common. According to this article, they should take place approximately 2-3 years. This seems accurate from my experience.

As a website owner, it means website redesigns, and how to handle them, will become increasingly common over time.

It’s important that you make a plan for SEO website redesign, and have an accurate and up-to-date checklist to follow.

It’s common for web designers to put tens of hours into web design, making a beautiful website but omitting all but the most basic SEO concepts in the new site.

As part of the SEO website redesign process, it’s really an opportune time to address outdated content, broken links, bad navigation & menus as well and other factors that negatively affect SEO as well as conversions.

Backlinks are increasingly hard to acquire in 2017. You must consider your backlinks and do everything you can to retain them, to ensure the inevitable traffic drop after a website re-launch is minimised (and only temporary) as much as possible.

This blog provides an easy to follow checklist to minimise SEO impact when redesigning and relaunching your website.

Website Analysis/Planning

Perform a link audit

It’s important to know all your incoming links. You want to retain the majority of your link juice. If URLs change as part of your site redesign, you’ll want to create 301 redirects, or inform the backlink owner of the URL change. This step is critical, else you’ll lose your website rankings fast!

Keep slugs the same where possible

Avoid renaming pages and slugs. Names should be kept the same to retain your backlinks. Only change the slugs if there’s no alternative.

Ensure the new site is set to no-index.

While you’re setting up the new website, ensure it’s not being indexed by Google/Bing. You don’t want to confuse the search engine and eat up your crawl budget on the site that’s not ready to go live.

Check for any dead links, missing images

As part of the site redesign, the web designer may have overlooked dead links and missing images. It’s an opportune time to perform a website analysis to scan for dead links, missing images etc before go-live.

My tool of choice for these audits is the excellent WebSite Auditor. Here’s my method to perform website analysis:

Create a new project and ensure you have the “Enable expert options” box checked:

seo website redesign

Disable the “Follow robots.txt instruction”. Now the Website Auditor tool can crawl your entire site, even though the home page is set to no index.

seo website redesign

Review the website analysis and check/correct any issues:

seo website redesign

Ensure Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are setup

Setup all the tracking code on the new site and ensure it’s working before go-live. This ensures there is one less task to perform after the site is re-launched.

Check performance

It’s important to check your website performance as part of SEO website redesign, both for user experience and for crawl performance. If your website is slow to load, it won’t be crawled effectively. This will exceed your crawl budget.

You should check the  page load times via Google page speed insights. Ensure you are using a WordPress image compression plugin, such as Smush and install a caching plugin such as WordPress Fastest Cache.

Ensure on-page SEO is checked/addressed

You’ll need to install a SEO plugin, such as Yoast, if not installed already. This will help you manage your on-page SEO factors. Ensure all Meta Keywords, Meta Descriptions H1s are set and optimised.

During launch

Remove the no-index tags

This will enable the site to be indexed by the search engines

Complete the change of address in Google Search Console

This is essential to inform Google of the address change (if applicable)

Ensure Google Analytics is receiving live traffic

Post Launch

Check for any crawl errors

It’s essential to check the Google Search Console for any crawl errors, as well as the crawl stats to ensure Googlebot has no issues indexing your site.

seo website redesign

Ensure the sitemap is submitted and pages are indexed

There are reasons why pages aren’t being indexed. Check out our blog about why pages need to be Indexed and run your pages through the tool.

There is more likely to be an issue for new pages, rather than existing ones. But check them anyway.

Ensure there are no issues with your Robot.txt

This is checked by investigating “Blocked Resources” in Google Search Console

Track site rankings as normal

If you’ve done everything correctly, it should take around 4 weeks for rankings to return to normal. This is however dependent on your crawl rate/crawl budget.

Website redesigns are a fact of life and are becoming more common. If you make a plan for SEO website redesign and address backlinks up-front, the impact to traffic and rankings will recover in about a month.

Did I miss anything? Please comment to suggest additions to the checklist.

Contact Evolocity today to find out about our SEO, PPC and Web design.

 

Why you must ensure all your pages are indexed

indexed in Google

When working on SEO for a client’s website for the first time, it often becomes apparent that not all web pages are indexed in Google.

As a refresher, if the page isn’t indexed in Google (or another search engine), then it can’t show up in the search results.

Addressing a lack of indexed pages is one of the most basic and critical tasks of SEO.

On several occasions, I’ve experienced the same issue when taking on new SEO work for a client.

The website below, which is more than 10 months old, was professionally built. It has a valid sitemap and robots.txt yet still was only partially indexed in Google.

There are various reasons why not all pages are indexed in Google. These reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Robots.txt file is inadvertently blocking Googlebot’s access to some of your pages
  • Meta tags such as “nofollow” instructs Google not to follow links to other pages
  • Incomplete sitemap or orphaned pages meaning Googlebot can’t reach all pages
  • Crawl budget insufficient- due to the site’s relatively low page rank
  • No incoming links to the pages, indicating low importance
  • Duplicate content that Google thinks isn’t worthwhile crawling

As a result of one, or a combination of the above factors, Google may just haven’t fully indexed your site. That is the case I’ve experienced with this 10 month old website.

I also have a suspicion (but can’t prove it!) that sites that haven’t had their ownership claimed aren’t fully indexed. Claiming ownership by being added to Google’s webmaster console seems to be a factor in crawling, or lack thereof.

How to investigate the cause of missing pages

To investigate this issue, I first of all check Google Webmaster Tools. I look to ensure there are none of the issues mentioned above stopping Google from indexing the website. This includes any manual actions or crawl errors identified by Google.

In this particular case, there were no crawl errors detected.

The difficulty most SEOs face here, is that Google only supplies a count of those pages submitted and those that are indexed. Trying to find out which of your web pages are indexed in Google, and which aren’t is difficult.

You could run the site:www.example.com command in Google search and get a list of those pages indexed by Google.

From past experience, I find the results aren’t very reliable. It often misses pages that I know are indexed and getting hits, it omits duplicate/similar results also.

I also find that varying the search terms slightly to site:www.example.com products would return different indexed results than without the products kewyword.

I’ve always thought; there has to be a better way!

Then recently everything changed, when I stumbled upon Greenlane Google Indexation Tester! This tool is what i have been searching for!

The tool let’s you enter up to 100 URLs and systematically checks them against Google’s index to see if the pages are indeed stored in Google’s index.

indexed in Google

Using the tool,  which is a Google docs spreadsheet is extremely simple. You just copy the URLs into the spreadsheet and click run. The output is very clear. It provides a simple Yes, or No as to whether the pages are indexed in Google.

The tool can also import/read your xml sitemap file, which makes things even easier.

The URLs that weren’t indexed, I simply copied the pages from the Google Indexation tester and submitted them into Google’s webmaster tools.

This was achieved by clicking the “Crawl” menu and then “Fetch as Google”. Simply enter the URL of the page you want crawled, click Desktop or Smartphone and then “Fetch and Render”

We can see from the Crawl Stats in Google Webmaster Tools that before April, there was very little crawl activity on this website:

What caused the crawl activity to increase after April, is the fact that I manually submitted the pages to Google that weren’t indexed, as just described.

If you’ve done everything properly, you’ll start to see the number of pages indexed gradually increase over the next few days. It does take a few days (or weeks) for Google to index the missing pages that were originally identified.indexed in Google

The speed is dependent on your “crawl budget” and how many pages google needs to crawl. You should check to ensure your robots.txt is correct and set the canonicalisation of your website to reduce google’s crawl effort.

What I’ve realised, is that un-indexed web pages is a surprisingly common occurrence. It should be one of the first things checked when beginning a SEO campaign on a website, as overlooking this check can be disastrous.

Whilst on the topic, there may be a reason your web pages are indexed and then de-indexed again. Ensure your content is meaningful, unique and linked (internally and externally) to ensure your pages remain indexed in Google.

Thanks to Greenlane for creating this tool!  I plan to use it periodically to identify which pages are dropped from an index and when taking on new SEO work. It’s an extremely useful tool and I’m glad i found it!

Do you agree with my approach for identifying any pages not contained in Google’s index? Leave a comment below if you have a better method.

Click the link to read more about the on-page SEO mistakes that are common.

For any assistance with SEO for your website, contact Evolocity.

 

Why you should build links with SEO PowerSuite

link building

A simple analogy is that backlinks are similar to votes. The sites that have the highest number of quality backlinks (votes) will rank the highest. All other things being equal.

Latest SEO research says that links make up around 20% of your site’s overall ranking factor. Quite simply, to rank well in 2017, you need quality backlinks.

The primary reason sites will link to you, is your ability to create high quality, useful content.

In this blog, I’ll break down how and why you need to create backlinks and provide an overview of how SEO PowerSuite tools can assist your link building efforts.

What are backlinks?

In the simplest form, backlinks are links from other websites to yours.

Backlinks can come from many different forms, including blog posts, directory listings, forum comments that allow a website URL to be entered and many more categories.

The text that is used to create the link is known as “anchor text”.  An example is Sydney SEO. The anchor text in this example is “Sydney SEO”. Anchor text information sends important link signals to Google, and it’s important to consider the wording of your anchor text when undertaking link building.

Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks are Google’s way of determining the relative authority of your website.

If you have a plethora of quality websites linking to your content, Google determines that your website must be of a high quality. It makes sense. Why else would any reputable sites want to link to you?

I realise I used a vote analogy before, but I have another one that’s fitting also! Job candidates when referred by a colleague or friend tend to be higher quality and more reliable employees.

Your friend or colleague wouldn’t put their reputation on the line for a candidate that’s of a low calibre.

The same applies for links. Reputable websites won’t tarnish their reputation by linking to low quality or questionable websites.

Hence the reason why credible links are important for Google’s algorithm that determines your site ranking.

Why would a website want to link to me? 

That’s an interesting question! The answer is mostly “content”. If you create great content, on a regular basis, the link building process will become relatively painless.

If you blog regularly, create videos, infographics etc. you’ll start to see websites linking to your content organically, without you needing to ask for a link.

Of course, it takes months for websites to find your content after google indexes it and it begins to rank organically.

The steps below which are referred to as “link building” fast track this activity and proactively inform websites of your content, without webmasters needing to find it themselves.

As mentioned previously, there are many link building activities. By far, the highest quality link building activities will come from creating great content. This is the main method you should focus on when link building and trying to increase the domain authority of your website.

How should I start link building?

For link prospecting, I recommend SEO PowerSuite. This comprehensive SEO suite of tools contains two modules that are extremely helpful for link building. Namely, SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant tools.

SEO Spyglass is a very powerful tool for analysing the current link situation on your website. It provides a comprehensive overview of the progress of your backlinking efforts over time and has much more information than that! Much of the detailed information you probably will never use, but it’s nice to know it’s there in case you need it!

The great feature of SEO PowerSuite is that it uses it’s own LinkExplorer database to determine links to your website. In addition, it collates data from Google Analytics and Google’s search console links.

The end result is, you get a more comprehensive and up-to-date link information than using just the Google search console alone.

Below is an easy to read graph of my Backlink progress over time.

The first graph displays total links, whereas the second graph only displays the linking domains. The difference being one domain can provide several links.

Link building

If you click on “linking domains”, you get an easy to read (configurable) dashboard. This dashboard displays the linking domain, estimated risk of penalty, inlink rank of the linking domain etc.

This view gives you an efficient interface to see the number and quality of links to your website. You can drill down further and include anchor text details also.

Link building

In some respects, there’s an overlap between SEO Spyglass and Link Assistant tools. They both provide core information about existing links, but this isn’t Link Assistant’s main purpose.

Link Assistant is designed primarily for link building activities.

To start a search for link building prospects, you can click “Look for prospects” and pick one of the link building categories below.

I’d almost always begin by searching competitor backlinks. It’s usually the fastest way to find relevant and effective backlinks for your website.

After you’ve exhausted this category, you can move on to others categories such as directories, forums, commenting etc.

Link building

There’s always pros and cons to acquiring links and it’s important to look closely at Link Assistant’s results of InLink rank. InLink rank, I’d say is crucial to ensure the proposed links are of an acceptable quality, so they won’t cause your site a Google penalty.

Link building

Once you’ve analysed the suggested links in detail, Link Assistant has a nice feature that let’s you email directly from the tool.

There are several pre-formatted email templates to reach out for link building.

Personally, I don’t recommend using templates for emailing. You’ll have a much higher response rate if you customise each email individually.

Having said that, the templates (and categories of link outreach) are a great starting point to begin your link building activities.

Link building

As mentioned previously, there are several ways to acquire backlinks. I recommend content generation to aim for quality backlinks over quantity.

Therefore, guest posting, product review templates are the most relevant outreach strategies for link building with this approach.

That’s not to say that reciprocal links, forums and directories don’t have a place in link building. They do, they’re just slightly controversial and need thorough analysis to ensure the sources are credible and relevant. Else your site may be penalised by Google.

Link building, like SEO is a long term, time consuming process that’s critical to SEO in 2017.

As always, you don’t need to buy tools such as SEO PowerSuite. You can use a plethora of free tools out there on the Internet. However, I’d recommend you’d buy SEO PowerSuite (that’s what I did!).

Quite simply, time is money, and the time saved having SEO PowerSuite do much of the hard work for you is well worth the cost in my opinion.

The speed and accuracy of SEO PowerSuite to analyse data is priceless. I find it simply makes better decisions, based on it’s InLink quality algorithm. Better than I can do, unless I spent many hours trawling through the raw data myself.

If you’re still not sold, or don’t have the budget, you can use the free version of SEO PowerSuite. It’s also very good. Missing are the ability to save projects and export data, but even the free version is still an immensely powerful suite of SEO tools.

For other  blog articles on keyword research or common mistakes for WordPress SEO, check out my SEO blog.

If you need help with your SEO in Sydney or Australia, including link building services, contact us today for your free consultation.

* Disclaimer

I was provided a free trial of SEO PowerSuite Enterprise for this review. I was so impressed with the product, I purchased an Enterprise licence (at my own expense) within 48 hours. Contact me, if you’d like anymore information as to why.

5 reasons why Limousine SEO is critical

Limousine SEO

The Limousine industry in Australia is sizable, with revenue estimated at over 6 billion dollars annually. That revenue is fragmented, being shared by over 12,000 limousine companies.

Limousine providers are increasingly facing competition from ride sharing companies such as Uber with their “Black” or “Lux” services. It goes without saying that there’s pressure on the limousine industry in Australia as a whole.

Annual year on year growth in the Australian limousine industry is just shy of 2%. That’s real growth and it shows there’s money to be made in the limo industry. This is despite the competition limousine operators are facing.

In Australia, there are relatively low barriers to entry in the limousine industry. As a result, there are many providers in each city. This competition often makes it difficult to generate consistent and increasing revenue.

To survive, your business needs to constantly attract new clients and it’s crucial to ensure you have repeat business.

 The answer to the growth you’re searching for is Limousine SEO

 What is SEO?

Limousine SEO involves tuning your website’s “on-page” factors which comprises content, including page copy, blogs, headings etc to organically boost your search engine rankings.

Off page factors such as link building and social media strategies are also required. These factors help your website to rank well in a search engine and draw more customers to your website.

 Why Limousine SEO?

1.  Most web searches end in organic results

Google processes around 3.5 billion searches per day. Visibility in a search engine results page depends almost entirely on SEO. Research has demonstrated that over 70% of searches end in the organic search results of page 1 of google.

Quite simply, if your business isn’t listed on the first page of Google, most customers will be unable to find your website.

2.  SEO is cost effective

In competitive markets, with paid advertising many business can only afford to run an Ad campaign for a few weeks. After this time, they usually blow their advertising budget for the year due to high Cost Per Click rates.

Unless you are a business with large advertising budget, or in a relatively un-competitive market (low Pay Per Click costs), Pay Per Click advertising often isn’t sustainable for small businesses long-term.

SEO costs on the other hand are predictable and sustainable. Realistically, SEO is the only way small limousine companies can afford to compete with the big players on a (relatively) level playing field.

 3. SEO is organic

There’s something fulfilling about organically ranking for keywords, without relying on paid advertising to ensure your website is displayed in the search engine.

If you rank organically, it means Google values your website and it’s judged a credible and authoritative resource on it’s own merits. No tricks or advertising are required.

Local SEO (via Google maps) which is based on searches by location is also becoming increasingly important to gain local clients. This fast growing Google search mechanism displays your business by proximity to the search location and is a great way to rank in Google, even if you don’t have a website.

4. SEO improves user experience

SEO in 2017 isn’t about manipulating search engines via tricks. SEO is about creating a great user experience through meaningful content and great design. This will increase the “click through” rate of website users.

SEO, content generation, social media and website design go hand in hand to improve the user experience holistically.

 5. Your competitors are investing in Limousine SEO

SEO is a constantly evolving “battle” between your competitors, the search engine and your website. Website rankings float up and down each month based on your competitors’ SEO efforts, new websites being launched as well as Google’s algorithm updates.

If your competitors invest in SEO (most do!) and you don’t, you’ll be left behind in the search engine results space and slide down the rankings.

In summary, the Limousine industry in Australia is extremely competitive, with new players entering the market relatively easily. Add high class ride sharing platforms and it’s even more challenging. There’s still significant year on year growth of the industry. SEO is becoming critical for limousine business to stand out from the competition to generate consistent and increasing revenues.

Enjoy this blog? Read some others such as Why you need to invest in SEO or SEO content pitfalls.

Contact us to find out more about our SEO and Online Marketing services

 

Why you need to invest in Shopify SEO

Many website owners might be familiar with WordPress SEO, but feel overwhelmed when attempting to SEO their Shopify site for the first time. As a result, I’ve written this blog for those new to the Shopify platform.

Why do i need Shopify SEO?

Shopify SEO

Search engines are used more in online purchases than any other source of traffic such as social networks, apps, or deal websites.

Shopify SEO is becoming increasingly important to boost e-commerce sales.

If your Shopify site isn’t listed on the first page of Google, you’re losing sales to your competitors. Simple as that.

If you are new to the Shopify platform, or setting up your Shopify store for the first time, this guide will get you on your way to SEO success! In the interests of brevity, this blog only covers on-site SEO. Off-site SEO, https, minification etc are not covered.

WordPress SEO vs Shopify SEO

Shopify, in many ways is very similar to WordPress from a SEO perspective.

Replace the term “Plugin” with “App” and there’s only minor differences in SEO between the WordPress and Shopify platform. Sure, the SEO plugins are different, but the concepts and approach to SEO is very similar.

Personally, it’s also somewhat refreshing working on the Shopify platform again. In many ways Shopify is simpler and more intuitive than WordPress.

As always, there’s downsides, as it’s not as easy to configure the platform as WordPress. There’s also fewer free apps than the vast array of free plugins in WordPress.

I liken the comparison to iOS with it’s intuitive interface and ease of use vs Android which offers more customisation and flexibility.…

How to setup your Shopify SEO

The first step is to Install a SEO app in your Shopify site. Many apps in the Shopify app store (including SEO apps) need to be bought via a paid subscription on a monthly basis.

After significant testing, I recommend Plug in SEO,  as it’s free and simple to setup and use.

Install Plug in SEO

The app installation in Shopify is extremely simple.

Shopify SEO

Start configuring your on-page SEO

Once the Plug in SEO app is installed, go to each page or blog in the Shopify store and click “Edit website SEO”

Shopify SEO

You’ll then see the screen below that lets you configure your page title/URL and meta description:

Shopify SEO

You’ll see a live preview of your SERP snippet at the top also.

Page headings

Unlike WordPress and the fabulous Yoast plugin, there’s no focus keyword as such in the plug in SEO app (or live SEO analysis in the free version). The reason is the focus keyword is embedded in the page title (which kind of makes sense).

So, for Shopify, you need to include your SEO keywords in the names of your products, pages, or blog posts. The names are often used as a web page’s H1 heading tag also.

For example, if you are selling recovery compression devices, you’d set Compression Therapy for Athletes – Company Name. This will make your page more likely to show up in Google when people use any combination of those search phrases.

The other difference is that the closer to the start the keyword is, the higher the term will rank in search engines. The first word in the title tag ultimately becomes the most important.

Meta descriptions

As with WordPress, ensure the meta descriptions encourage searchers to click your links in the search engine results page to graduate from an impression to a click. Ensure you keep the meta descriptions clear and don’t stick with the default text truncation that many websites use.

Image ALT Text

Ensure you set this field on your images, so they are indexed accurately by Google. These tags are becoming increasingly important. For visually impaired users and those running popup blockers. Without ALT Text, the computer doesn’t know what the image is.

Once you’re finished setting your SEO properties, use the Apps drop down to “Check for SEO problems”. This provides an overview of any serious SEO issues and recommendations on how to correct them.

Unfortunately the “Check for Keywords” option isn’t available in the free edition of Plug in SEO, so you’ll need to use another tool to check your on-page focus keywords. For this, I’d suggest using the awesome Website Auditor from SEO power suite.

Create a new project by entering the URL you wish to analyse.

 Shopify SEO

After Analysis has completed, click content audit -> Page audit

Shopify SEO

You then have the ability to tune your SEO until you get a great on-page ranking (similar to Yoast’s traffic lights).

Other

Plug In SEO is also missing flesch reading score which I find useful. You can check your ease of reading copy here, or keep in the back of your mind to write your text at the reading level applicable for an eighth grade student. Short sentences and simple wording. You get the idea.

Summary

In this blog, I’ve touched on the differences between WordPress SEO and Shopify SEO, for those that are new to the Shopify platform.

In summary, Shopify is easy to use, fast to setup and a robust platform. The downside is the lack of customisation/flexibility and the reduced quality of free SEO apps available in the Shopify store.

Both platforms have their pros and cons and I enjoy working on both! Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.

You can read more of my blogs: content pitfalls for SEO, keyword research for SEO and the common WordPress mistakes for SEO.

Feel free to click the links to find out more information about our Shopify SEO or WordPress SEO services, or contact us to find more.

Why you need to invest in SEO in 2017

Invest in SEO

I have to admit that I've never really felt comfortable with the term Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is often associated with shady practices of manipulating search engines to rank your website better. It just sounds dodgy to a lot of people.

I see SEO another way. It's correcting issues (technical, on-site and off-site) that stop your website competing effectively against your competitors. SEO fixes website issues so that your website is fully visible to search engines. SEO also helps a website to reach it's full potential in organic rankings.

Continue Reading

How to clean your hacked website

 

Ever received an email from google, such as the below indicating that hacked content has been detected on your WordPress website? I sincerely hope not! If you have, I hope this post will help you clean a hacked WordPress site and secure your site from future attacks.

Clean Hacked WordPress site

We’ll you’re somewhat lucky if you received an email at all.

According to Google, 61% of webmasters never receive the email notification informing them that their website has been infected. That’s because they haven’t setup and verified their site in Google’s search console.

There are three common website hacks at the moment:

Gibberish Hack: This hack creates many pages that don’t make sense, but filled with keywords required to rank on the destination site. This hack is designed so it will rank well and redirect traffic to another site, such as porn or other vice categories.

Japanese Keywords Hack: This hack creates pages with Japanese (and sometimes Chinese) text. The added pages are affiliates selling fake goods and use this hack to rank well in Google search results.

Cloaked Keywords Hack: This hack creates many pages that don’t make sense. The pages often look like normal pages from the website, but with weird content that direct you to a third party site.

Recently, I needed to clean up a site that was hacked. These are the steps I followed and recommend:

After validating the email from Google is genuine (by checking the header and hovering over email links) and verifying that indeed the site is listed as hacked via the Google Transparency report, it’s time to take action!

This website was hit with SQL Injection. More specifically, the Japanese Keywords Hack, which involved a hacker trying to use this website to sell fake Japanese products. This is a purely English site, as you can see via the below results from Google Search Analytics, the hack was relatively effective!

Japanese Keywords Hack

Inspect the damage

Log into the Google search console to see the full extent of the warning messages from Google and see the sample of hacked pages identified by Google.

In this example, we can see there are additional pages added as previously, this website only had about 50 pages. As we can see, a hacker has created over 8,000 additional pages on this website. A sure sign that it’s been hacked!

Clean hacked WordPress site

Only use “Fetch as Google” to see the pages created. Don’t click any of the pages identified by Google via your web browser, as they often contain malware and can infect your PC.

It’s now time to clean a hacked WordPress site!

Scan for a virus on your web hosting environment

Next, you log in to the web hosting console (cPanel or equivalent) and run a virus scan on the full site directory to see if there’s any virus present.

In this instance, we can see that there’s a php malware virus. This mailer virus is usually used to send SPAM email from your domain.

Click “Process Cleanup” to ensure the malware is cleaned.

Clean hacked WordPress site

After that, you can either trawl through your WordPress database and directories, looking for any suspicious files or just reinstall WordPress. This will set your installation files back to their default binaries.

Run a virus scan on all WordPress Administrator PCs

Malware, virus or keylogger on your computer may have been used to access your WordPress site without your knowledge. You should now perform a full scan on any PCs that have been used to access the WordPress administrator console.

Restore a clean version of your website.

The easiest approach is to restore a recent backup. This will restore both the database and files of your website.

If you don’t have a backup, you’ll really need to trawl through your WordPress database and directories mentioned above. You need to identify any files outside your WordPress installation that have been modified by the hacker.

Check your htaccess file

This file controls access security to your WordPress site. In the case below, a rewrite rule was added to allow the hacker to perform a SQL Injection.

Clean hacked WordPress site

Clean up your htaccess file, or take a clean one from a backup or another website.

Change passwords

Change your WordPress console password and FTP/cPanel Console password ASAP. The passwords may have been “cracked” allowing access to modify your WordPress site.

Clean up your sitemap

With many of these hacks, thousands of pages are added to your site and sitemap. Clean up your sitemap to remove reference to the hacked pages.

Once you’re convinced the site is now clean, it’s time to fix the vulnerabilities:

Secure your site

Remove any un-needed applications, plugins or files. In this particular site hack, I’ve narrowed down the point of entry to an insecure plugin, or one plugin that hosts files for download from a site directory.

Ensure your WordPress version and Plugins are always kept up to date (even if plugins are disabled). Plugin and WordPress updates are often security fixes to known vulnerabilities. Protect yourself by updating these frequently.

Install security and firewall tools on your website such as WordFence. It never fails to amaze me how many attempted hacks are detected and blocked on my websites by WordFence. Often hundreds of attacks per month are trying to connect to my WordPress console with user names that are invalid.

Submit a reconsideration request with Google

Finally, when your site is clean, submit a reconsideration request in your Google search console to re-crawl and index your site.

After you’ve performed the above activities, you should be good to go.

Hopefully this blog has been of use for those that have been hacked or more importantly to stop your websites being hacked.

Feel free to Contact Evolocity for advice on SEO and WordPress sites.

 

“Fred” and the dangers of Black Hat SEO

 

Dangers of Black Hat SEO

Did they, or didn’t they?

In case you haven’t read, in the last couple of weeks, it’s assumed that Google released another major search engine algorithm update unimaginably named “Fred’. There are some geek jokes around the name Fred, but supposedly Fred’s aim was to down rank those websites that bought links, or are linked to by dubious sites.

Whether Fred is real, or not the message is clear- Fred highlights the dangers of Black Hat SEO. Sooner or later you will be penalized for having questionable backlinks.

What does this mean?

One of the major off-site SEO activities to improve a website’s credibility is increasing back links. The more credible back links you have (say from Wikipedia or legitimate news sites), the greater you’ll rank; all other things being equal.

Many budget/unscrupulous SEO Agencies try to take shortcuts to increase your ranking by adding thousands of farmed links from web directories in India, Pakistan, Russia and other countries. These directories often advertise vice goods/services and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they’re not genuine backlinks related to your business.

What to do if I’ve got dodgy back links to my site?

Contact the webmaster
In the first instance, contact the directory and ask nicely for them to remove the link. Some webmasters might not reply or ask for a fee to remove the links. Don’t pay a fee, but follow-up after a week or two for removal.

Remove your affected pages
Remove the bad linked/low ranked pages with a 404 link to disavow the target pages. This is not ideal, and is a somewhat extreme measure, only to be actioned if there’s an obvious down ranking of those pages.

Lesson learned?

There are no shortcuts to ranking well. SEO is a slow process, and there are real dangers of Black Hat SEO. Shortcuts hurt too much in the long term and don’t offset the benefits in the short term.

Produce good content and you’ll organically grow your back links. Link building is also useful, just make sure the backlinks make sense and are genuine.

At Evolocity, we only use and recommend “White Hat” techniques to SEO. Contact us to find out more about our services.

 

 

How to create a contact goal in Google Analytics

Why a contact goal?

For most sites on the internet, the end result is to create a lead. In website terms, leads come from site visitors contacting you, or signing up to join your mailing list (or downloading an ebook etc).

Leads become an effective mechanism to be used for future marketing efforts, such as creating a newsletter or reaching out to leads on an individual basis. Knowing the performance of our lead capture methods over time is critically important, just as important as knowing what percentage of leads ultimately convert to sales.

Google Analytics is an immensely powerful tool for traffic analysis as well as SEO activities. You really can find out a multitude of information about users, such as demographics, their device preference all the way down to their interests! If you haven’t invested several hours trawling through your Google Analytics data, I’d recommend to do so, as you’ll learn a LOT about your site visitors.

All this Analytics information is indeed useful, but what I want to focus on in this blog is the conversions area of Google Analytics, and more specifically, Contact Goals. This blog is focused around WordPress sites, but the Google Analytics component can just as easily be added for sites hosted on other platforms.

Goals are important for any business, so you can understand what percentage of users are effectively doing what you want them to do. This means users are effectively flowing into your sales funnel. Goals are important to measure performance of your website and it gives you the essential information to track the performance over time..

Many sites take the easy route to add contact goals and use the fact that a user clicks their “contact us” page as a goal completion. That’s not enough, however as the user needs to actually submit the contact form to successfully generate a lead. In this blog, I’ll show you how to do that.

To make a contact goal happen, there are two requirements:

1. Create a Thank you page (or similar) that’s displayed after a form is successfully submitted. Simply create a new WordPress page called Thank you and add a note to thank the user for submitting their information and provide additional contact information for your business. This is critical, so we can set the thank you page display as the goal completion.

2. Use a contact form that can display your Thank you page after successful submission. At Evolocity, we recommend Contact form 7 for WordPress for this purpose, as it’s highly configurable and stable contact form plugin. I won’t go into all the details of setting up the contact form in this blog, but in Contact form 7 you can use the hook on_sent_ok to display a thank you page after the form is successfully submitted.

With that in mind, let’s create the goal of a contact form submission.

Inside Google Analytics, at the bottom left of your account, click the Admin tab.

Contact Goal

In the View column, click “Goals” to setup a new goal:
Contact Goal
Click “New Goal” and proceed to setup your Contact goal. Go to Enquiry and select the “Contact us” radio button.
Contact Goal
 Give your Goal description a name and Click type “Destination”
Contact Goal
Enter the Goal details equal to /thank-you/ (or whatever you decided to name your Thank You page)
Contact Goal
To keep things simple, let’s ignore the optional value and funnel options and keep the default settings.

You can then verify the goal, which will check your Analytics data for the past week and inform you how many times the goal would have been activated if it were enabled. When finished, click Save and the goal is set and we are done!

You can then monitor the performance of your goal over time in Google Analytics, in Conversions -> Goals area.

Contact Goal

 

Adding a contact goal in Google Analytics is easy, by adding a Thank You page which is fired from your contact form. Contact goals are important for your business, as they are the foundation for leads and lead generation which should be a priority for all businesses.
For other tips on how to improve SEO for your small business, check out other blog posts here or here.

 

For help with your SEO, or Online Marketing contact Evolocity today or call us on 02 8091 4530.

Content pitfalls for SEO

SEO copywritingContent marketing can be extremely effective for extending your reach, driving traffic to your website and ultimately helping you reach your business goals. In this blog, I’ll aim to highlight some of the pitfalls we’ve seen regarding SEO copywriting:

Too short content

 Having content in your page that is less than 300 words is not very useful for SEO. 300 words should be the minimum target to aim for, but you should have 1500+ well written and thought out words that displays your authority to Google.

Content gives the search engine lots of information to read and helps it process and better understand what you are trying to convey in your message. As always, it’s critical to focus on engaging and original content, not filler just to make up the word count. You can find additional tips and suggestions on the topic here.

Don’t stand out

Is your content the same as your competitors? In 2017, your content needs to stand out! Create stand-alone engaging content in a variety of mediums. You’ll need to critically think about what your readers are interested in, and wow them with something they haven’t read before. I’ll touch on the fastest growing mediums later in this post.

 You don’t have a content plan

What content will you create, and when? It’s important to have a content plan to schedule when you will post. What you will post about and what medium you will use? Without a content plan, it’s nearly impossible to produce content on a reliable schedule and that which is of a sufficient quality.

Not optimized for search

Your blog posts need to be optimized for search. Before writing a piece, think about what angle you will take. When writing content, be clear and consistent about what the focus keyword will be for your article. Determining your focus keyword shouldn’t be determined by guessing, they should be thoroughly researched in google trends or the keyword research tool in AdWords. You can read more on the process we recommend here. That’s essentially the process for SEO copywriting, and your focus keyword should be mentioned sparingly throughout your content.

Over-optimizing

“Keyword stuffing” should be avoided. Don’t try and fool the search engine into ranking you higher, it’s likely to have the opposite effect and have your site penalized instead. Content should read organically, and your content first and foremost should be written for the experience of the end user, not the search engine.

No Landing pages

Landing pages are vital for each service, or location area you service. Without separate landing pages for each service and location, you are really limited in how many focus keywords you can use on your website. For example, Rather than just “Tax accountant” you should have separate landing pages, say “BAS Accountant” “Estate Planning” and “Financial Planning” depending on what services you offer. Minimum one focus keyword should be set per landing page.

Not Blogging

Blogging is still a great way to create followers and the number one method of SEO copywriting to rank well in Google and show your authority on a subject. Many businesses don’t blog regularly, or at all. It’s important to have at least one “Cornerstone article” with blogs that link to these.

Only using blogs

Time has dictated that content such as Infographics and video are becoming more important for SEO and followers. If you think about it, it’s quite logical! Just like short forms of communication are becoming more prevalent (such as chat), video and infographics are able to deliver more information in a shorter time/attention span. Infographics and videos are especially important, as research has shown that they’re extensively shared on social media.

Content marketing is extremely important for your business. SEO copywriting is effective to drive quality traffic to your website leading to increased leads and sales. Sure, it takes effort, but the returns will be worthwhile if you have an effective content marketing strategy.

If the above seems overwhelming, contact Evolocity today to learn how we can help your business with content marketing and SEO services to grow your business.