guest blogging

6 reasons why guest posting is essential for your business

What is a “guest post”?

It's increasingly difficult to acquire high quality, relevant backlinks in 2017. Sure, if you create great content on your website, it will eventually be indexed by Google and sites will find it organically and link to it.

It does happen; however it usually takes many months, or years for sites to stumble upon your content.

Guest posting is the process of producing content that will be hosted on another site, or Blog.

The destination site is most often a site that is more powerful than yours own, and one that has considerable traffic and readers.

 

Is a guest post risky?

Google has been advising for over four years that guest blogging for SEO purposes is considered "spammy". Google's former head of the web spam team detailed his concerns clearly in this blog.

Google is adamant that it will seek out and penalize sites that use guest posting for purely SEO purposes. The old "spammy" method of guest posts that Matt Cutts is referring to is posting links to unrelated content and guest posts purely for the purposes of SEO and rankings. These kinds of guest posts are (and should be) a thing of the past.

To answer the question, a legitimate guest post for exposure, reach and branding isn’t risky at all. As long as you follow the advice presented below.

Having cleared up the concerns from Google, there are 6 great reasons I believe you should guest post:

  1. Exposure- Guest posting allows you to demonstrate your authority on a subject. It enables you to stand out on a platform you usually don't have access to. For example, when starting a new business (and website), you'll usually have only a small audience. Guest posting helps you gain this exposure.

  2. Reach- Let's be realistic, shall we? For a new site, it will take months or years for your website to gain traffic and rankings to the point where you'll start receiving readers and organic traffic. Why not leverage off an existing website that has readers and traffic already?

  3. Branding- you may wish to promote your brand by appearing on high profile sites that allow guest posts. If your guest post makes it to Forbes or Entrepreneur.com, this will have a tremendous impact on your branding.

  4. Traffic- Most guest posts will allow some links in your article (where relevant), as well as a link in the author bio. If you guest post on a site with many visitors, it's likely some will click the links to read about your products or services and to find out more about you. This traffic essentially brings referral traffic to your website and should result in more leads and sales.

  5. Relationships/community- Guest posts serve as an introduction to people you wouldn't have met otherwise. Often, great things happen as a result of these relationships. Everything from cross-promotion leveraging synergies to joint ventures and beyond!

  6. SEO- Although Google has made it clear that guest posting for SEO is dead, the draw-card of increasing rankings is a major fringe benefit of guest posting. It's been clear for many years that links are one of the most important ranking signals for a website. Quite simply, whoever has the strongest backlinks to their website generally ranks highest.

 Where should you blog?

To avoid any penalties, and to get a significant return on your investment for your effort, you need to find sites (that offer guest blogs), that:

  • Have a good domain authority - The Domain Authority of a website is a metric that compares the overall strength of a website (from 1 to 100). The domain authority of the site you wish to guest post should ideally be higher than your website. I'd also recommend you only guest post on a site with Domain Authority > 30. You can check domain authority of websites here.

  • Are reputable. The website must have a good reputation for publishing high quality, authoritative content. They shouldn't accept payment for guest posts either.

  • Have significant visitors. You'll only want to publish on a site that has more than 100k visitors per month. Check the site's visitors and traffic using similar web.

  • Are related to your website- it's no good guest posting in a different industry or unrelated genre (unless you want a Google penalty!). Pick relevant and related websites that allow guest posts.

  • Have a significant amount of social media followers- Social media is critical for all businesses. When a guest post is published, it should be promoted to the social media followers of the guest post site. For your engagement to be maximised, significant social media followers are essential. I'd say 10k combined followers (across all social media platforms) should be the minimum.

How to find guest post opportunities

Let's say you are a lawyer in Australia that specialises in trademarks, and want to increase your reach and exposure. You could use a combination of the below in Google search to find sites that allow guest posts:

Australian trademark law “guest post”

Australian lawyer “write for us”

Australian lawyer “guest article”

 

You then need to write a convincing email to the site you wish to submit to. Below is a great example from Backlinko:

 

Hey [Name],

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my guest post at [Website].

I never thought of the fact that [Insert something they said in the comment].

That’s a good point.

Anyway, I actually have another guest post idea that would be perfect for your site.

It’s called: [5 Tips X…]

I could have it sent to you this week.

Either way, thanks again for your insights!

Best,

[Your First Name]

What's next?

  • Spend some time creating your author bio. Make your author bio as professional and descriptive of you and your experience as much as possible. Ensure you tailor your bio for each site. Google hates duplicate content, so don’t re-use the same bio across multiple sites.
  • Link from your own on-site blog to the guest post. Reciprocal links are a nice touch and are appreciated by webmasters.
  • Publish your post on social media several times. You need to promote your brand, and there’s no better method to do this than social media. Re-post your guest post periodically.
  • Thank the webmaster at the guest blog site for allowing your guest post. It’s important to build relationships in life and this is no different.
  • Answer any questions following your post. This creates engagement for readers of your post.

Conclusion

Google has warned that Guest posts for the sole purposes of SEO are finished, and will be penalised. If used correctly, guest posts are a great mechanism to display your authority, promote your brand and build valuable connections amongst your peers. The fringe benefits from guest posts include increased traffic and powerful links which will help your SEO and will be great for your business.

You need to ensure you do the research first and find suitable sites to publish your guest content. Also, be open to allowing reciprocal guest posts if the opportunity arises.

Do you agree with guest posts? Have a better approach? Leave a comment!

To reach some related posts, click here or here

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Why you must use Pixel for your Facebook Ads

Why you must use Install Facebook Pixel for your Ads

What is Facebook Pixel?

If you are running Facebook Ads, or planning to, there’s one tool you should start using ASAP: Facebook pixel.

Pixel is essentially a piece of code that you install on your website, that tracks users as they interact with your Facebook Ads, as well as your website.

If you’re familiar with Google Analytics, Pixel is somewhat similar, just not (currently) as feature rich as Google Analytics. It really lets you dig deep, to better understand your users and their interactions.

Why do you need to install Pixel on your website?

Pixel should be considered an essential tool if you are running Facebook ads. Facebook’s Pixel enables you to effectively track conversions, helps you to optimize your ads and enables you to re-market your ads to specific audiences.

If you don’t install pixel, it’s very difficult to manage your ad campaigns, your campaign options will be severely limited and you’ll likely pay too much for your ads! You’ll also lose lots of analytical information to better understand your users and their actions.

How to install Pixel

There really are a multitude of ways to install Facebook Pixel. Facebook has developed many great integrations to make installs seamless. If you are running Woo Commerce, Wix, Shopify, have Google Tag manager setup etc, pixel installation is simple and you can skip this guide 😊

This guide focuses on WordPress users that need to setup their pixel integration manually.

Although, you can edit your theme and copy/install the pixel code manually, I’d advise against it. Editing WordPress themes can be fraught with danger. If you make a mistake, your site may crash which can be complex to recover. It’s just not worth the risk.

For this reason, I’d advise installing a WordPress plugin to install the pixel code on your website for you.

Setup the pixel in Facebook Ads Manager

Login to Facebook ads manager:

https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager

Click “Pixels”

Install Facebook Pixel

and then create a pixel

Install Facebook Pixel

Once the pixel has been created, you’ll need to install the code on your WordPress website.

Install Facebook Pixel

As mentioned previously, there are many integrations developed by Facebook, but none for native WordPress at present.

Install Pixel Caffeine

Rather than copying and pasting the code, we’ll use the “Pixel Caffeine” plugin in WordPress.

Go to your WordPress admin console and click Plugins -> Add New
Click Plugins and then Add new.

Search for Pixel Caffeine from AdEspresso. Install the plugin and then activate it.

Install Facebook Pixel

In Pixel Caffeine, click “Set up now” to link the WordPress plugin to your Facebook Pixel.

As always, I prefer to operate with the security mindset of least privilege, so I recommend using the manual setup option. This however means that you need to access most of the pixel data from Facebook Ads Manager, rather than in WordPress.

If you have no qualms providing your Facebook password to AdEspresso, you can use the Facebook connect option

Install Facebook Pixel
Enter your Pixel ID which can be found in Facebook Ads Manager, enter it into Pixel Caffeine, following the defaults and click save.

You will see the status ON in green when successfully connected.

Verify your Pixel

You can then go to Facebook Ads Manager again and verify that your Pixel installation is complete.

Install Facebook Pixel

And that’s it. We’re done!

Facebook’s pixel is imperative, if you’re running Facebook Ads, or planning to in the near future. The benefits of analytical information on your website and user interactions really are are invaluable.

Also, a pixel install is required to run more advanced advertising campaigns, such as conversions and sales, which we’ll cover in later blogs.

To read more about contact goals, click here.

For help with Facebook, Bing, or Google Ads contact Evolocity.

 

Posted in Ads

Why blogging is essential for your business

 

starting a blog

Starting a blog can be one of the best decisions you’ll make for your business. Blogging has become so successful in recent times that many people are using blogging solely to earn a living.

A recent HubSpot survey has indicated that 60% of businesses who blog acquire more customers. If that’s not a good reason to start a blog, I don’t know what is!

Starting a blog, however can be overwhelming for businesses, but it shouldn’t be. Times have changed and starting and enabling a blog on your website is simple in most content management systems such as WordPress, Shopify and Wix.

Here are top reasons I believe starting a blog is essential for your business

It’s cost effective

Yes, blogging takes time and effort. You need to commit to blogging on a regular basis, and set aside time. You’ll probably need to factor in 4+ hours to create a high quality and adequately comprehensive blog post.

It’s important to start considering blogging just like any other aspect of your business’ marketing spend. Sure, time is money and you’ll need to factor that cost into the blog. Even more so, if you’re paying someone to write the blog for you.

Having said that, blogging is effectively free. It will just cost you your time. How many other products in your marketing mix are free?!

Starting a blog can provide significant return on investment for your business. Blogging is really the gift that keeps giving, time and time again!

It drives traffic

Let’s face it, most websites have content that doesn’t change very frequently. Most business’ web pages tend to be static, with only the occasional update here and there, but nothing substantial over time.

Google values “freshness” of content. The thoughts behind this is that the more content is updated and relevant, the higher that content should rank in the search engine, as that’s the most relevant content for users. Makes sense to me!

Every time you write a blog post, one new page is created on your website that will be indexed by the search engine. The blog post will be displayed in the search engine’s results page for many of the keywords you optimise the blog post for.

By showing up in the search engine results, users will find your blog posts by searching for keywords and you’ll see over time that traffic to your site is being driven from search engine results.

It provides content to post on social

Your business is missing an opportunity if it doesn’t post content on Social Media. 92% of businesses report that social media is important to their business.

Blog posts are an excellent source for social media updates, especially for those businesses that operate in a market that’s highly textual. These are businesses where it’s often difficult to get a visual following via pictures on Instagram/pinterest etc. Think accountants, lawyers, finance recruitment etc.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc are great social media choices for businesses in these industries and you really have an opportunity to shine through your creative voice!

Blogging generates links

Just as blogging creates pages that are indexed in the search engine, Blogs give your business a fantastic opportunity to acquire backlinks.

Backlinks can be acquired organically, by influential bloggers and sites in your domain “stumbling” across your blog posts that they want to share with others, or via manual outreach to influencers in your domain. Studies have demonstrated that companies who blog generate 97% more links to their website.

In case you weren’t aware, backlinks build authority of your website and help it to rank better.

It assists conversions

As more traffic comes to your site, you have a golden opportunity to start converting this traffic into leads and sales.

You can use what the industry calls a “lead capture”. This could be a variety of offerings, such as a free webinar, free guide or ebook, discount etc. In the case of a travel & tour company for example, you can offer a discount for bookings straight from the blog post.

It builds authority

Blogging helps your business build authority in your niche. Businesses, via their websites are often viewed as faceless organisations that can be of questionable legitimacy. Blogging gives your business an opportunity to demonstrate it’s expertise and authority. This in turn builds credibility and trust.

Develops better customer relationships

Starting a blog gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers on a deeper level. Your customers get an incredible opportunity to get to know your business from the comfort of their home. By enabling blog comments and forums, you can enable potential customers to interact and comment on blogs. This forges deeper and more meaningful relationships.

In summary, if you’re not currently blogging for your business, you should be! Blogs are an excellent digital marketing mechanism that only costs you time. It’s a great source of traffic and leads, which with a little more effort will eventually result in conversions.

Like all organic methods, it takes time to see results. Put the effort in now, and you’ll reap the rewards later!

To read more about content, check out our blog about content pitfalls for SEO, or how to start keyword research for SEO

 

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.

 

Posted in SEO

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.

Posted in SEO

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

 

Posted in SEO

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.

Posted in SEO

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.

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Posted in SEO

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.