Can we keep doing same for SEO in 2016 as we did in 2015

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Jayson DeMers

By Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom

The SEO industry is volatile, and every month something new seems to shake up the scene and force us to reevaluate our priorities.

Best practices in 2010 don’t have much in common with best practices today, yet we believe that many of today’s best practices will be relevant indefinitely.

As we near the end of 2015, it’s important to consider which elements of your SEO campaign will be relevant throughout 2016 and which ones might expire or change in unfamiliar ways.

What’s changing?

In 2015, we witnessed a host of changes to the SEO landscape, from tweaks to ranking factors to shifts in potential visibility. In 2016, I’m anticipating more changes along these lines.

By looking back, we can determine Google’s (and other search engines’) priorities, and use those to estimate changes that are around the corner.

Social media will become more important for search visibility

Currently, social media probably plays a minimal role in directly influencing your rankings, though it likely plays strong indirect roles in doing so.

Greater social signals (such as users sharing your content or interacting with your brand) can help you rank higher, but for the most part social media serves as a great external channel to generate more inbound traffic for your site.

However, Google and other search engines are working harder to incorporate social media posts in new ways. For example, Twitter tweets are now embedded in certain search results.


As this trend continues into 2016, posting on social media will continue to grow in importance to search visibility, though probably not in direct correlation to your site’s rankings.

‘Desktop-focused SEO’ will begin its descent into irrelevancy

In 2015, mobile traffic finally surpassed desktop traffic, and Google released its so-called “Mobilegeddon” update to phase out any sites that weren’t optimized for mobile devices. 2015 was the year mobile became the dominant form of web traffic, and 2016 will be a continuation of the rise of mobile.

Google’s own John Mueller stated this year that mobile-only sites (i.e., sites without a dedicated desktop version) suffer no ranking penalty.

Google has all but abandoned desktop-focused SEO, and you should too as we move into 2016.

Information-based content traffic will cease

Content that provides general information is becoming obsolete. This is in part due to the fact that online content is becoming oversaturated, but even more so due to new technological developments like the Google Knowledge Graph and Windows’ Cortana.

Digital assistants and advanced algorithms can now give users immediate information without ever routing them to an external site.

Instead of trying to write about that general information, shoot for more niche, unique topics.


External links will change

External links have been shrinking in importance for the past three years or so, but new forms of link building have arisen. Brand mentions, which don’t use any explicit link, and off-site reviews are serving as new forms of off-site authority building.

Even newer forms of link building, like links to specific sections within apps, will grow in importance in 2016.

Local SEO will evolve further

The big local SEO shakeup in 2015 was the introduction of the local 3-pack, but thanks to increased interest in wearable technology, greater activity of local businesses, and general consumer needs, expect to see more local SEO changes in 2016.

Reviews and local citations will become more important, and geographic-based searches will become even more specific, serving at the neighborhood level instead of a city or region.

What’s staying the same?
Now that we’ve seen all the ways SEO may change in the next year, I’d like to focus more on what’s staying the same.

I’d like to believe that certain best practices really are timeless, or at the very least, that some best practices have a few more years left in them.

Keep these practices central to your SEO campaign well into 2016, as they aren’t in any immediate risk of being phased out:

Content is still king. Despite some forms of information-based content starting to lose out to digital assistants and aggregated material, unique, quality content is still your best friend.

People still need opinions, insights, entertainment value, and personality and it’s still going to be your job to give it to them in 2016.

On-site optimization is still about user experience. Some on-site factors are growing or shrinking in importance. For example, site security will be even more important in 2016.

But the bottom line is that on-site tweaks are still focused on user experience. If a change would make your site faster, safer, and easier to use, it’s probably good for SEO (and even if it isn’t, it will help your conversion rates).

Authority building still occurs off-site; to build a reputation, you still need off-site signals like inbound links, social signals, and reviews.

As I mentioned above, the nature of external links is evolving, but brand mentions, off-site listings, and consumer reviews are filling that gap as a new form of off-site authority building. The more relationships you can build with off-site authorities, the better.
Obviously, there are more best practices than these to consider when you’re structuring an SEO campaign for the future, but these blanket concepts will help you understand your main priorities.

There’s a significant degree of uncertainty with these predictions, as historic trends and patterns of growth don’t necessarily dictate a consistent future, and timing, of course, is sensitive to hundreds of unseen variables.

One thing is certain, however; SEO in 2016 will not be the same as SEO in 2015. Technologies, systems, and trends change too rapidly to support any one set of goals or practices for long.

Stay cognizant of industry-related changes and work quickly to adapt when things shift—as long as you keep a reasonable pace of development, you should have no problem outperforming the competition.

How to Fix & Prevent Duplicate Content Issues

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International SEO is becoming increasingly important for online companies to meet their ultimate aim of growth. Due to the Internet, expanding your business to any country in the world is fortunately a click away. All you need is an optimized website that caters to audience across national borders. However, doing so without duplicate content can be easier said than done.
First, there’s the major problem of a language barrier. There are also international search engines that go well beyond Google and Bing. For example, Yandex is the preferred search engine in Russia and Baidu is popular in China. Even when you simply translate your content into different languages, you risk being penalized by Google and other search engines for duplicate content. In this article, I’ll look closely at the common content issues businesses commonly face with international SEO.
Debunking Myths About International Seo

Let’s start by bursting some popular myths circulating around the international SEO realm so that you can stay on the right track.

Myth 1: There’s only one way to effectively penetrate a different country market and this is achieved through different domains.
Fact: All you need is a website that gives out good signals in a particular region, or globally for that matter. There are three approaches for doing so: sub-directory, sub-domain, and ccTLD. You can choose any one according to your business’s budget and team.
Myth 2: You should buy the maximum number of domain names.
Fact: Remember that buying multiple domain names is okay until you’re doing so to cover common misspellings of your brand. Beyond that, multiple domain names hold no real value. In fact, I would venture to say that they’ll hinder your international SEO efforts. Page redirections weight heavily on your website by slowing page download times.
Myth 3: You need .com domains to facilitate the creation of subfolders meant for international SEO.
Fact: The common notion that .com is foolproof when it comes to targeting international traffic is false. Businesses can create subfolders in other gTLD’s such and .net. You can also choose to go with ccTLD.
Myth 4: Domain names with keywords can’t fail.
Fact: Having keywords in the domain name doesn’t guarantee traffic. I recommend you to focus on building your brand instead of hunting for such exact match domains.
Myth 5: Google Translator is a perfect tool.
Fact: At its current form, Google Translator is far from being flawless. Ideally, you hire an expert fluent in the foreign language to translate the content on your behalf for better results.
Myth 6: Keywords are the same worldwide.
Fact: This is a major misconception that can drag down your business because keywords vary by region. For instance, singulars and plurals end differently in German. Use a tool like Ubersuggest to zero in on the right keywords for your international SEO campaigns.
Myth 7: One approach for all countries will work.
Fact: Our globe is extremely diverse, so your marketing campaign needs to change based on each culture’s uniqueness. Keep in mind that holidays and festivals vary from country to country.
The Major Issue In International SEO

First and foremost, the biggest problem that comes in international SEO is finding the right approach to target different countries. Second, most businesses face challenges in avoiding the problem of duplicate content. Writing unique content for each page per the location isn’t the best approach. This will affect your budget costs and squeeze valuable time.
Avoiding Duplicate Content in International SEO

Before I get into the topic of duplicate content, you must understand that you can create either a multilingual website or multi-regional website. Here are the differences:

Multilingual website: Multilingual websites offer content in more than one language. For example, your website could include two language versions in Latin and English. Yet, you might still target users in the United States only.
Multi-regional website: Multi-regional websites target customers from different regions. In this case, you might have two versions of your website for two regions. One version might be targeting the UK, whereas the other version targets the US. Both would be in English. Of course, you could also have two versions for two regions in two different languages.
How to Manage Multilingual Versions on Your Website?

Content in different languages is not considered duplicate content if it’s done manually with correct grammar and intent. However, using auto-translated text from tools like Google Translator may create duplicate content issues. You can use robot.txt to block the search engines from indexing automatically translated pages, which can help avoid duplicate content. When Google indexes incoherent text, it might regard such content as spam and block the page. Steer clear of translating boilerplate content into different languages as it negatively affects user experience and isn’t acceptable by search engines.

For international SEO, it’s best to use a single language with a navigation tab for visitors to choose any language they speak. Text should be manually translated. Ensure that each language version can be discovered easily. Refrain from using cookies to guide a user from one language to another. Automatic redirection is also a bad idea because it prevents visitors from exploring the website the way he or she wants. It can also limit the search engines from indexing your website in its entirety. Use interlinking between languages so that users can land on the right language with a simple click.

Preferably, your URL should tell the user what language they’re getting. If you want a French user to click on the French version of the text, the URL must contain French words without any English. Google doesn’t use code-level information like the “lang” attribute to understand a website’s langauge. The search engine reads the content of the page to understand it. I’ll cover how to use the hreflang tag instead to guarantee 100 percent safety.

Targeting a Specific Country

Google encourages website owners to inform them of their targeted countries for enhancing search results. The search engine has set aside the following elements of international SEO for this purpose:

ccTLD (country-code top-level domain): Each ccTLD relates to a specific country. For instance, is used for Australia, .in is used for India, and .de is used for Germany etc. Using the appropriate ccTLD will give Google the clear indiciate that your business is targeting a particular nation.
Location of the server: Though the location of the server is not always a definitive indicator, Google takes it into consideration using the IP address. Google does understand that some websites make use of content delivery systems and may be hosted in a different country to provide better web server infrastructure.
Use geo-targeting carefully: Geo-targeting is an international SEO tool that can be used to define the targeted country present in the search console. But, you must be careful with it. If you are targeting countries by using ccTLD, then it doesn’t make sense to use it. Geo-targeting is usually used by websites with gTLDs, such as .com or .net. It makes the most sense for generic top-level domain names not affiliated with countries.
Don’t ignore your address and phone number: You do not get more local than your address and phone number. Having a physical international address will boost your authority. This is where Google My Business plays a big part.
Tackling Duplicate Content on International Sites

It’s common for websites to provide similar or the same content in different languages when targeting different regions while having different URLs. Google is okay with this as long as the users are from different countries. Your website will not be penalized when translation is manual and accurate. Even though Google still prefers unique content for each version, it understands that having unique content can be quite tough. Google clearly states that you don’t need to hide such content by not allowing Google to crawl it using a robots.txt file or no index robots meta tag.

The circumstances are entirely different if you’re providing the same content to the same audience through two URLs. Let me explain this with an example. Imagine you’ve created and One targets the USA and other targets Australia respectively. Since both are in English, this will cause duplicate content. Luckily, it can be easily solved using a hreflang tag, which is widely accepted by all search engines globally.
Using the “Hreflang” Tag

As I mentioned earlier, the hreflang tag protects international SEO campaigns from being penalized with duplicate content. It’s usually required by businesses that cater to different languages or countries through sub-domains, subfolders, or ccTLD. The hreflang tag also is important if you have multiple languages for one single targeted country. Here’s how you can go about implementing it:

Step 1: First, we must handle language targeting. You’ll have to list out the URLs that have equivalents in different languages. Any stand-alone or non-equivalent URLs would not need the hreflang tag, so don’t list them.
Step 2: Now comes setting up the tag. This is what a general hreflang tag looks like:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es” href=””/>
Let’s envision that the page in question is and you want a German version of it.
You’ll simply change it to
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=””/>.
For a Spanish version, you’d change it to
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”es” href=””/>
All you need are the country-wide codes. Repeat the process for the URLs that you narrowed down during step 1. For having a site that targets different countries in same language, you’ll use code like:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x-default” href=”http://www.”/>
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-gb” href=”http://en-gb.”/>
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”http://en-us.”/>

Here the hreflang=”x-default” is used to create a default common page for all countries. This is generally the homepage or another neutral page for all countries.
Step 3: Please note that the hreflang tag should only be placed before the closing of the </head> tag and the tag of self-page shouldn’t be added. For example, the page
Should only contain the alternate versions like

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=”http://en-us.” />

and for page http://en-us., the tag should be.

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en-us” href=” http://en-gb.” />

After implementation you can check that what you’ve done works properly by logging into your Google Webmaster Tool account. Proceed to “Search Traffic” and then “International Targeting.” If the hreflang tags were placed properly, you’ll be able to test them utilizing the feature presented there. When problems ensue, try using the hreflang tag generator tool to make things easy.
Common Mistakes to Avoid

Incorrect use of language codes: All tags should contain codes as per ISO 639-1. Using incorrect ones will negatively impact your international SEO.
Missing confirmation link: If page A links to page B, page B must link back to page A with a proper hreflang tag.
Challenges with Canonical Tags

The purpose of the canonical tag or rel=canonical is simple. Consider you have two pages with different URLs that have exactly the same content. Here you would place a canonical tag on one page so that Google only indexes that. Yet, there are several problems that can arise when using the canonical tag.

From what you’ve read so far, there’s no doubt that the hreflang tag is used for geo-targeting. Canonical tags are used to solve duplication issues. However, with canonical, you must have a preferred version of the web page. For you, this means spending a lot of time, effort, and likely cost. Rel=alternate hreflang tags have an advantage. They can be keyed in with ccTLDs to inhbit users from getting the notion that they need a .com. ccTLDs are more apt at achieving better results.
What the Hreflang and Canonical Test Tells Us

State of Digital put hreflang and canonical tags to the test. Here’s what their study found:

Hreflang is suited for international SEO.
When you encounter problems with duplicate content, it’s okay to combine hreflang and canonical tags.
In the absence of problems with duplicate content, you shouldn’t combine hreflang and canonical tags.
As the person in charge of international SEO, there’s no doubt that you’d be quite busy the year round. Hopefully the information gained here will be useful in steering clear of costly penalties and de-rankings from duplicate content. If you have additional international SEO tips or have unanswered questions, please feel free to use the comment box below.

How to reduce your site’s bounce rates

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Bounce rates tell you what percentage of people left a given page on your website without viewing any other pages. It’s not to be confused with exit rates, which simply tell you the percentage of visitors that left the site from a page (i.e. they may have viewed other pages first).

Also, it’s important to be aware that users could spend 10 minutes on your page before they leave the site.

In this scenario, it could well be that the page has fulfilled its purpose (or that the user has just forgotten to close it).

What do bounce rates tell you?

It’s generally used, along with other metrics, as a measure of a site’s ‘stickiness’.

For example, on SEW, I’d like people to click on a link from search, Twitter or some other referral source, find a useful article, then decide to browse further and view all of our other lovely content.

If bounce rates are high, it could mean that our content isn’t doing its job properly, though there are plenty of other possible explanations.

As a rule, I’d generally look at trends over time, and use bounce rates as one of several metrics for measuring the success of a particular page.

For example, this Google Analytics custom segment looking at the percentage of visitors viewing multiple pages provides a measure of a site’s ability to retain users’ interest beyond the page they land on.


Other measures, such as average time on page or using event tracking to see how many people read to the bottom of your posts (as described here by Justin Cutroni) can also help.

Still, the principle is important. If you’re the kind of site that wants people to stick around for a while, bounce rates provide a good general guide.

What exactly a good bounce rate is will depend on the type of site you’re running.

Working in online publishing, my experience is that bounce rates for articles can be as low as 40% and as high as 98% for individual articles. The average would vary between 70% and 85%; obviously I’m aiming for nearer 70%.

The Google Analytics screenshot below shows some of the more ‘evergreen’ articles we’ve published. As we can see, the bounce rates for such articles are lower than the average, which is nearer 80%.


Is a high bounce rate always a bad thing?

In a word, no. It can depend very much on the purpose of the website.

For example, people may want to quickly find a contact number or check facts. If the site enables them to find this information easily, they’ll leave quickly, thus pushing up the bounce rates.

I may need to know how old Al Pacino is (as you do). I can Google his name, click on Wikipedia, and the information is instantly available on the right of the page. Then I hit the back button.


Of course, I could linger longer, read more and click some of the links, but if that’s all I want to know, I’m playing a small part in increasing the site’s bounce rates.

For publishers like Search Engine Watch, we’d rather keep people on the site longer so, if someone clicks on the page, decides they’d rather not read the article in question and leaves, then that may mean we haven’t delivered on their expectations.

In the latter case, high bounce rates are a bad thing.

The relationship between bounce rates and SEO

Of course, Google doesn’t know your bounce rates, though it theoretically can find this information from the millions of sites that use Google Analytics.

In theory it would be a useful ranking factor, as it is an indication of how relevant your landing page is to the user’s search query, though allowances would have to be made for the type of site and query.

If someone wants a guide to landing page design and bounces within seconds we can assume the page hasn’t delivered. However, if they just wanted to quickly check the weather for today, then maybe it has served its purpose.

The concept of dwell time, or the ‘long click’ (as explained here by Bill Slawski) is important. It’s similar to – but not the same as – bounce rates. It’s essentially a measure of how long a user spends on a page before returning to the search results page.

Whether this is a ranking factor or not is open to debate, but it certainly makes sense in the light of Google’s search for quality signals.

In essence, it works like this:

If a user clicks through from the SERPs onto a website and then spends some time there, it suggests that the result was relevant to the query and served its purpose. In this case, Google has done its job well in ranking said website highly.

If a user clicks through and then returns to the search results page quickly (or then selects another result) then it suggests the site has not been useful for the searcher. Therefore another site may usurp it in the rankings.
Of course, this is a simplified version, and there are variables. For example, what if the site answered the query immediately (as in my Al Pacino example)?

I would assume that Google would be able to find different metrics for different types of search query so that it could take account of this.

How to reduce bounce rates or how to keep visitors on your site for longer

The following factors should help to reduce bounce rates, but also should serve to keep users on site for a longer period. Or at least remove factors which will make them leave the site.

Here we are, in no particular order…

1. Make sure your pages load quickly

No-one likes slow loading pages, so make sure yours run as fast as they can, on mobile and desktop.

The old rule of thumb from Jakob Nielsen was that users would wait two seconds for a page to load before abandoning the idea. Whatever the exact time, if a site feels slow to load, people will be thinking about bouncing.

This is important from a user experience perspective, but also forms part of Google’s mobile ranking factors.

It looks like we have some work to do on that score…


2. Give visitors all the information they may need

This is a point which perhaps applies to ecommerce more than other sites.

Let’s take an example from the travel sector. If you’re researching hotels to stay in, then the obvious destination for many web users is TripAdvisor.

There they can find (in theory) impartial views on the hotel which cut through the sales pitch on the hotel or travel agent’s website. However, once on TripAdvisor, they may be swayed by other hotels.

If you have reviews on site though, or have integrated TripAdvisor reviews on the page, then one reason to head elsewhere is removed.

Here, Best Western hotels show TripAdvisor reviews (good and bad) on hotel pages:


3. Avoid clickbait

Clickbait is commonplace now. In fact, it’s hard to find a news publisher’s site without this kind of garbage following articles.


If you’re foolish enough to click one of these links you’ll find yourself on some of the worst sites on the web, full of pop-ups, pagination and lots of attempts to trick you into clicking on ads. There’s also the question of why publishers would want to send their audiences there, but thats an issue for another article.

Essentially, none of these posts are likely to deliver on the promise of the headline. The content needs to be relevant to the headline, or else people will bounce quickly.

I’m not against lists or using headlines to attract clicks, which is why this article has the headline it does. It’s just that headlines have to deliver on their promises.

4. Avoid huge pop-ups and annoying ads

Serving users with a huge pop-up as soon as they enter the site is a great way to make them hit the back button.

Likewise, intrusive rollover ads and autoplay audio are what make web users turn to adblockers. It will make many others bounce as soon as they reach your site.

5. Use internal linking

I’ve written about the use of internal linking as an SEO tactic, but it performs an important role in keeping people on site for longer.

Providing users with links to other interesting articles which are relevant to the one which users are reading increases the likelihood that they’ll hang around for longer, and reduces those bounce rates.

6. Be careful with external links

I’m all for giving credit when its due when it comes to links, but if you add external links early in a post and don’t open them in a new window, you’re essentially asking users to your site and inflate your bounce rates.

7. Do not use pagination

This could actually be posited as a way to reduce bounce rates, but I think the drawback of annoying users outweighs this particular aim.

People can scroll, so there’s no need to paginate. The only reason I can think of is to falsely inflate page views.


8. Site design

Users will form an opinion of your site the minute they land on it, and much of this is down to the design.

Your search result or tweet may have convinced them to click, but bad design (or at least design that doesn’t appeal to the visitor) can convince them to leave.

For example, an ecommerce site should convey a certain level of professionalism if you’re asking users to trust their credit card details to you.

This site may sell the very best gates and fences, but the design doesn’t exactly convey professionalism. It’s also very hard to read.


(Hat tip to Branded3 for the example.)

9. Article formatting

This is very important. Just as people make quick judgements based on site design, they’ll also look at the article or page they clicked on and wonder how much work it will be to read and consume.

A wall of text with few paragraphs and no visual stimulus will deter many people just because it seems like hard work to digest.


On the other hand, if you have clear sub-headings, bullet points, images and charts, and bold text on key stats and points then it makes even longer articles seem more appealing.

Of course, the content should deliver, but first impressions matter in this respect.

10. Mobile-friendly pages

An obvious point. If you want mobile users to stay a while on your site, then make sure it’s mobile-optimized.

11. Site search and navigation

Site search provides an easy navigation option for visitors.

On ecommerce sites, site search users often convert at higher than the average rate, as using it can indicate a greater intent to purchase.

On other sites, search provides users with an alternative way to navigate through sites, one that some web users prefer.

Give people easy and clear ways to navigate around your site. Make navigation intuitive and consistent.

12. Related content recommendations

This is about giving people ideas for other content or pages based on the article they’re reading.

We use them here on SEW, based on the main topic. You’ll see it down the page, between the author bio and the comments.

This may not be the best example of content recommendation in action, but the idea of providing content relevant to the current article is a good one.


13. Most read/commented boxes

This is another form of content recommendation, based on the articles being read or shared. Here’s an example from the BBC:


We have something similar here, a trending posts box. You may or may not have noticed it…

The point of these is that they give users further ideas for reading, whether looking at the posts with the largest number of comments, or those with most views.

14. Make calls to action clear on landing pages

You have to make it clear where customers need to go next to buy a product, retrieve a quote, or whatever action you want them to take.

Here are some general pointers:

Wording. The wording you use should make it obvious what will happen if a user presses a button, such as ‘Add to cart’ or ‘Checkout.’
Colours. Test to see which colours work best. Contrast is key. Many sites tend to go for yellow or green, but what works for one site doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Size. Make them big enough to be seen easily, but not too big.
Placement. Buttons should be placed where users’ eyes are likely to be as they scan around the page.
Adapt for different devices. Calls to action should work across various mobile devices as well as desktop.
Test. There are no right or wrong answers here. Wording, colour, shape, placement etc can all be tested to find what produces the best results.
In summary

The tips here are a mixture of methods for persuading users to stay on your site longer, and to explore further.

The latter is key to reduce bounce rates, as they need to interact with your site, but the page they land on creates that all-important first impression.

If the first page doesn’t do its job in terms of delivering relevance to the user and avoiding obvious annoyances, then there’s little chance users will want to stick around.

Also, to repeat the earlier point. Bounce rates are useful, but only used alongside other metrics like time on page and viewers of multiple pages.

Differentiation when selling a commodity

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Imagine being tasked with building a sales force that would sell the identical products as the competition, but sell those at a premium price. That was the opportunity I accepted when taking on an executive sales leadership role years ago.

In the ’90s, as Microsoft, Novell and IBM/Lotus became software powerhouses, they recognized the need to train users on their products. Without that training, there was a high risk of users being dissatisfied with the products and not purchasing future upgrade releases of them. Rather than train users themselves, they developed training channels. Individual training companies contracted with these software companies and delivered training on their behalf.

However, the software companies didn’t blindly let their channels train users. They created the course curriculum, certified the instructors on the courses, and set the PC standards for the classroom. In essence, the software companies regulated the classroom experience and marketed to users that they could attend any of the thousands of “authorized” training facilities for a fantastic learning experience.

See Also

The needs analysis questions salespeople must ask prospects
Mastering the two most powerful words in sales
Are salespeople about to become extinct?
While the software companies wanted to create a “ vanilla experience” for its clients, that was not the way their training channels approached the business.

Course prices were set all over the board. Salespeople told prospects that their training companies had better instructors and nicer PCs in the classrooms than their competitors, as a way to justify higher course prices. Again, the software companies wrote the curriculum, certified the instructors and provided the specifications for the PCs. How could it be better?

The software companies told clients that all of their authorized training companies were the same, like going to McDonald’s. Thus, prospects didn’t buy the better arguments. They bought low price. Why shouldn’t they? In the absence of differentiation, price is the ultimate decision factor. Yet, the task put in front of me was to build a sales force that could sell our courses at a premium price.

Next steps

While we were passionate that our training was superior, we could not prove it. The classroom was a commodity, but there was still an opportunity to differentiate ourselves and sell at higher prices.

We learned that IT managers had several challenges. First, when an IT manager needed to send an employee for a training course, he needed to get three to five signature approvals on the purchase order. It was the same repeated process for each employee for each course. It was a bureaucratic pain.

Second, there were a significant number of class attendees who, upon taking the course, realized that the course was not right for them or vice versa. This meant the training dollars were lost, as was the time the employee missed at work to take the course.

Finally, because of the demand for trained IT professionals, IT managers feared their trained employees would leave the company.

Given those three issues, we developed a sales strategy based on making it easier for IT managers to get the right training for their employees.

Key strategies

Our salespeople called on senior IT management executives rather than mid-level managers, who most of our competitors called. We introduced the idea of using a blanket purchase order for their training budget. Our training company billed against the blanket purchase order as employees enrolled in the courses. Interestingly, the internal process to get one blanket purchase order for a million dollars of training was the same as one for a fifteen hundred dollar course.

Before any employee was enrolled in a course, one of our education advisors interviewed the prospective student to make sure it was the training he needed and he had the background to succeed in it.

Finally, we offered a replacement guarantee. If an employee we trained left his or her company within a year of completing a course, we trained the new person free of charge.

As a result of this differentiation strategy, we became the largest, most profitable training company for Microsoft, Novell and IBM/Lotus. We sold our courses at 30 to 50 percent higher prices than our competitors. Because we had the blanket purchase order for the entire training budget, our competitors were locked out of these accounts.

While our competitors argued “better,” we positioned “different.” Differentiate yourself by solving the problems your buyers face rather than trying to differentiate commodities.

Need help with differentiation? Download my free “ Making Differentiators Matter” poster.

Lee Salz is a sales management strategist and best-selling author of “Hire Right, Higher Profits,” a top-rated sales and selling management book on Amazon. Salz specializes in helping companies build sales forces through effective hiring, onboarding, managing and compensating salespeople. He is the founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars, and The Revenue Accelerator. He is a speaker and a results-driven sales management consultant. Salz can be reached at 763-416-4321.

How to write meta tag titles

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For SEO title tag is quite important. It is always a torouple also to find an apropriate title tag that looks good for Search Engine as well as for the customer who sees the title tag in the search results and is prompted to click.

We all know that idealy your title should be 50-60 characters long.

and a title should contain a keyword or a phrase with a keyword. Some people say that the name of the company should come last and your main keyword should come first.

The way I write my titles are as follows:

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Company Name

However I have seen allot of titles that are longer than 60 characters and contain a bunch of keywords.

My question is, is it better to have titles of 50-60 characters or would it be more beneficial to have longer titles with more keywords?

If you had a longer title than 60 characters with a bunch of keywords stuffed in would it improve your rankings or help you rank for more phrases?

The only benefit of sticking to the 50-60 character standard that I see is that it is easier to read and looks nicer in search results.

Guest Posting in 2015: What’s It All About?

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Lot of webmasters and some big companies rely on guest post to promote their site’s links and some times just for the PR. Most of these guest posts are just a mixture of useless words no particular creativity or any vision of Author to send a message to the reader, in rely no one actually reads such articles or so called guest posts. Here is an article published in Search Engine watch by Article by  it is posted here for general public to read.

The content of the article

Since Matt Cutts talked about sticking a fork in it back in 2014, there has been much debate about the purpose and value of guest blogging.

I think it’s still worthwhile, and we value contributions from beyond our team, but the landscape has changed over the past two years.

In this post I’ll look at what guest posting is all about now and the value it has for writers and publishers.

Guest Blogging for Links is Dead
The key point from Matt Cutts’ statement is that guest blogging should not be about obtaining links from sites like Search Engine Watch. Or link-building in general.

Matt Cutts’ statement on guest blogging:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well.

Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging as a link-building strategy.


Despite this pronouncement, it still happens. Guest writers will try to insert links to their sites, and we editors receive approaches from people who are clearly all about the links.

In the past, it has been an easy way to gain links. This resulted in a torrent of crappy guest posts and – I speak from experience here – tons and tons of low quality blogging approaches to editors. As someone who has worked for online publishers, I welcomed Cutts’ statement to an extent, as it did ease the flow of guest blogging approaches for a while. Moreover, it forced publishers to deal with the issue.

Some blogs and publishers were concerned about the penalties they may suffer if Google perceived that they’d provided links in return for free content.

In this context, it was obvious that the link between SEO and guest blogging needed to be broken.

As a publisher, my approach to this is to have a policy of no links to guest authors’ own sites, or to those of their clients.

This has a number of positive effects:

It removes the perception that guest authors are writing on sites like this in return for links.

It tells the guest authors that they can’t just cram loads of links into posts pointing at their own websites as a reward for guest blogging.

No links means that guest bloggers have to write for other reasons than link-building.

Point three deters a lot of lower quality approaches and saves us editors time.
So What’s the Point of Guest Blogging Now?
For the publisher, contributed articles have several benefits:

A different perspective. It’s great to have a view from people working in digital marketing, running agencies, e-commerce sites and so on who have a different experience than our writing team.

Promotion. Guest writers who have large networks on social media can help to promote your content to new audiences.

Search visibility. Google wants content and guests providing the kind of quality posts we’re looking for will help us to improve our search visibility.


Quality content. Good guest writers who want to show off their knowledge should provide some quality, and hopefully evergreen, articles which are is valuable for our audience.

I should add that editors and publishers need to be careful about relying on guest bloggers and the types of articles they publish. It’s important to make expected standards clear, as well as general expectations over frequency of posting.

On Search Engine Watch and ClickZ, I intend to have our in-house writing teams producing more, and so the proportion of in-house to guest content will change.

I value guest writers, but it’s important for sites to have their own distinctive editorial voice.

What of the guest author who has sweated over the creation of a masterful blog post?

Well, there are benefits for them too:

Branding. Whether it’s your own brand or that of the business you represent, guest blogging offers the opportunity to make yourself known to a wider audience.

Build your personal reputation. If you know your stuff and can write well, then writing guest articles provides a platform for your insight. Instead of doing it for links, writing posts that have real value and tell potential customers how much you know is more likely to win clients over. It’s a chance to show how clever you are.

Improve your writing skills. Writing for bigger sites means you’ll gain some valuable feedback from editors, as well as the readers.

Share ideas and start discussions. Blogging allows you to start a debate with readers, and the audience provided by a bigger site should provide more feedback.
Audiences for established sites like this aren’t stupid. They can see if a post has been written with the aim of nabbing a link. Or if a post has been written just for self-promotion. It can be very obvious and reflects badly on the author and the site.

On the other hand, if you offer knowledge and insight, and provide your audience with tips and guides which help them do their jobs better, then you will see the benefits.

In Summary
While guest posting has changed recently, I think it still retains a lot of value for publishers and guests alike.

The key is the quality of the contributed articles. If content is written for the right reasons, not for links or self-promotion, then it helps the writer find an audience, and helps the host site achieve its goals.

What do you think? Do you still see guest blogging as valuable? Has Matt Cutts’ statement reduced the number of low quality guest posts?

Are Panda and Penguin really penalties from google

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Article written by By Marie Haynes and published in Search Engine watch here it is presented with some minor changes

Most people refer Penguin and Panda as panelists from Google, however Google is quite adamant that we should not be calling these algorithmic changes penalties.

John Mueller of Google Webmaster Help says in his hangout that these algorithms are NOT penalties, he says “From our point of view, Penguin isn’t a penalty. It’s essentially a search quality algorithm… a penalty is something that is done manually”.

When asked a question about recovering from a ‘Penguin penalty’, John’s answer was: “We see Penguin as an algorithm. It’s not something we’d see as a penalty… It’s not something that’s either on or off. It’s something where we look at the signals that we have and we try to find the right way to adjust for that.”

What is a Google penalty?

If your site has a manual penalty, you will see evidence of this in your Google Search Console (formerly called ‘Webmaster Tools’). To see if you have a manual penalty, go to Search Traffic → Manual Actions. You’ll either see a penalty like this:

Or, if you have no penalty you will see this:


Important Note: You will not always see evidence of a penalty in the ‘messages’ section of the Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools). If you were added to Google Search Console for this site before the site was penalized, then you should see a message that looks something like this:


However, if you became an owner or restricted owner after the penalty message was initially received, there will be no penalty message for you to see in the messages section. In this case, you will still be able to see the penalty in the Manual Actions Viewer though. Hopefully this is something that Google will change in the future. It would be quite helpful to be able to see the past site messages for a newly verified owner.

If you have a manual penalty, once you have cleaned up your site you can file for reconsideration. If you have done a thorough job, then a Google employee will manually remove your penalty. Something that changed in 2013 was that only sites that had a manual action could apply for reconsideration. Prior to this, anyone could file a reconsideration request, even if there was no manual penalty. For sites that were only affected algorithmically, you would get an automated response back telling you that there was no manual penalty. But now, you can’t file for reconsideration unless you actually have a manual penalty.

What is an Algorithmic Filter?

Google’s algorithms are immensely complex. There are parts of the algorithm that are constantly evaluating websites and modifying their rank depending on what they see. For example, Google’s keyword stuffing algorithm re-evaluates your site each time that Google crawls it. There are other parts of the algorithm, however, that we call filters. Filters are modifications that only take effect when Google decides to run them. Penguin and Panda are filters.

If either of these algorithms determines that your website is not a high quality site (or does not have high quality backlinks, in the case of Penguin), then Google will adjust the algorithm so that your site does not rank as well. If you have lots of issues, you can be affected severely. If you have just a few issues, you may see just a minor rank deduction.

I look at Penguin and Panda as if they were like sandbags that are holding a hot air balloon down. A site with serious issues can have very heavy sandbags that pull the site down and make it almost impossible for the site to rise in rankings unless those sandbags are removed. A site with minor issues might have lighter sandbags applied. These smaller weights still pull the site down somewhat, but not as severely.

Here are some things that separate manual penalties from algorithmic filters:

A manual penalty is manually applied by a member of Google’s webspam team. An algorithmic filter is an automatic thing.
You can’t file for reconsideration to get an algorithmic filter removed.
With a manual penalty, once you’ve cleaned up, and successfully requested reconsideration, the penalty is lifted. With an algorithmic filter, you need to improve your site and then wait for the algorithm (Penguin or Panda) to either update or refresh and reassess your site.
A manual penalty is either on or off. There can be cases where a severe penalty can be downgraded to a less severe one such as having a sitewide unnatural links penalty downgraded to a partial but in general a manual penalty is either there or it’s not. But, with an algorithmic filter, you can be affected to different degrees. Not all algorithmic hits are drastic.
There is no way of telling whether you are being demoted by an algorithmic filter. Google employees have a console where they can see whether a site is being affected by Panda or Penguin, but webmasters can’t see this. Oh how I wish Google would allow us to see whether we are dealing with an algorithmic filter! If you can see a drop in traffic that coincides the the date of a known or suspected refresh or update of Panda or Penguin, then this is a good hint that you are dealing with one of these issues. However, not all refreshes are announced. And, in the future, Google plans to incorporate both of these algorithms into the main algorithm so it is going to be hard to determine what needs to be done in order to see recovery.
With an algorithmic filter, there is no way of knowing whether you’ve done enough work to escape the filter once it re-runs. If you clean up your backlinks, Penguin refreshes and you see a mild improvement, there’s no way of knowing whether you would have seen more improvement if you had removed or disavowed more links. You can’t tell whether you still have a mild case of Penguin or whether the site is completely free of algorithmic sandbags holding it down. Similarly, Google doesn’t tell you what type of on-site quality issues they want to see cleaned up for Panda. We take our best guess when doing a Panda cleanup, but if Google is taking issue with something that we haven’t addressed and is still suppressing the rankings for that site, there’s no way to know.
Should We Be Calling Panda and Penguin Penalties?

Do a Google search for “Panda penalty” or “Penguin penalty” and you’ll see some well known SEO professionals using this terminology. Is it wrong to do so? In my mind it’s all semantics. If you want to sound like someone who really understands Google’s algorithms, it’s probably best to refer to Panda and Penguin as algorithmic filters rather than penalties. But, when I’m talking to a small business owner who has had their revenue severely cut because they’re stuck under an algorithmic filter, I certainly don’t correct them when they say they are being penalized.

I feel that Google has done a good job at cleaning up the search results for the most part. When someone searches for information on car insurance, they’re not likely to see some scuzzy site that got to the top of Google by manipulating the PageRank flowing to the site. As a user, I generally am getting better results now than I did a few years ago. It’s good for Google to show the most relevant results possible. But, these filters are causing so many businesses to suffer severely. Some made poor decisions in hiring a low quality SEO to build links to their site. Others don’t even know what they did wrong, but are the victim of site quality issues that perhaps are caused by a faulty CMS. In my opinion, there needs to be a better way for sites like this to be able to recover.

What Do You Think?

Have you been negatively affected by Panda or Penguin? Do you think we should be calling these penalties?

How to Make Your WordPress Site Search Engine & Marketing Ready

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The more I use WordPress, the more I love it as a platform for building beautiful and robust websites. But it probably wasn’t until I was invited to speak at WordCamp in 2014 that I began to truly appreciate the awesomeness that is WordPress.

Being with so many knowledgeable people whose sole goal is to help others use WordPress to earn a living, broadcast their message, or fulfill their passions, and it’s difficult not to learn of all the things that make WordPress such a powerful content management system.

Because WordPress is open source, there are plenty of plugins you can use to help make your website more search engine friendly and web marketing ready. While I don’t want to focus too much on specific plugins in this post, I do want to highlight a lot of native WordPress and plugin settings that you can–and should–be implementing on your WordPress site.

This guide covers three main areas:

How to Optimize Your WordPress Site for Search
How to Optimize Your WordPress Site for Visitors
General Housekeeping issues
This is just a starter guide, and is by no means comprehensive for what can be accomplished using WordPress or the plugins mentioned here. Ultimately, your needs will be different from anyone else’s, so my goal here is to just cover the basics that just about every site needs.

How to Optimize Your WordPress Site for Search
There is no arguing that search engines are an important part of marketing your website. We can choose to focus only on visitors, but those visitors come through search engines, so there are some basic architectural issues that have to be addressed to help the search engines properly spider, index and analyze your site.

Set the www.
Every website comes equipped with potential duplicate content issues that, if you don’t correct them, can cause the search engines to split the value of your home page between two URLs. It typically looks something like this: or

Search engines treat the same URLs–just with and without the www.–as two separate pages. It’s your job to configure WordPress so search engines are fed only one version of the URL.

This is done in General Settings > Site Address (URL).

Here you want to put the URL of your site. Decide whether or not you want to use the www. in the URL or not. Which one you choose doesn’t really matter. Just pick one you like and stick with it.

WP site – set the www

Once you determine which way you’re going, be sure all the internal site hyperlinks in your navigation and elsewhere use the same version so search engines are likely to only index the correct version of your URLs.

Since search engines can still find the other version of your URL should someone type it in incorrectly, you’ll want to also talk with a developer about how to prevent that from happening with global 301 redirects.

Allow Search Engines to Index Your Site
If the search engines can’t index your site, you have little to no chance of appearing in the search results. By default, your WordPress settings should allow the search engines through, but often times, while in development, a site is deliberately blocked. Either way, this is definitely a setting you’ll want to double-check to be sure.

Allow search engines to index your site

Do this in Reading Settings > Search Engine Visibility.

Keeping the box unchecked allows the search engines through.

Set Your URL Structure
The default settings for WordPress URLs use parameters and numbers that represent the page. For web marketing purposes, you want URLs that use words, not numbers.

WordPress gives you several customization options. The quick and easy option is to use the post name in the URL, but you can set a more customized structure. This is great if you want your blog posts to fall into a specific /blog/ URL category. (i.e. vs.

I’m a big fan of categorization, so I opt for the custom structure so I can build the URLs the way I like.

How to set up your URL structure in WordPress

You can customize your blog post under Permalink Settings.

Simply choose the specific setting you want.

Configure Your Meta Information
The Yoast SEO plugin has a number of settings we’ll be using throughout this tutorial. If you don’t have this plugin installed, you’ll have to find similar settings for the plugin you are using, or just install Yoast and follow along.

There are a few meta settings (not to be confused with meta descriptions or meta keyword tags) that can be helpful to your marketing efforts.

Most blogs have archive pages that are a great way to get to good content by category, tag or date, but by themselves, they don’t make for good landing pages from search results. Since these archive pages can really add up (one archive page per month multiplied by the number of years you have been or will be blogging!), it’s a good idea to allow search engines to spider those pages but not put them in the index.

Check the box under Yoast Titles and Metas > Sitewide meta settings > Noindex subpages of archives.

By doing this, you’re helping the search engines focus on the content that has the most value by keeping those pages out of the search results.

Next, you want to remove the possibility that Google will pull your page title and description information from the DMOZ directory and display it in the search results. I honestly don’t know if Google still does this on a regular basis or not, but until they definitively say otherwise, this is one setting I wouldn’t go without.

Check the box under Yoast Titles and Metas > Sitewide meta settings > Add noodp meta robots tag sitewide.

This gives you control over our messaging, not a third-party directory that isn’t looking out for your best interests.

Clean Up Your Head Code
WordPress is great, but it’s not perfect. A lot of arbitrary code gets added into the site that can have some negative effects on your optimization efforts. Yoast provides a setting that performs a quick cleanup of this code.

The one of particular concern for me is the shortlinks. By default, WordPress adds shortlinks in your code that redirect to the post title. These shortlinks have little real-world value and may potentially cause a loss of page authority if the search engines count them as a link.

Clean up your head code in WordPress

Under Yoast Titles and Metas > Clean up the , check the top three boxes.

Hiding the RSS links is optional, depending if you want your pages to be found via RSS or not.

Optimize Your Pages
The Yoast plugin gives you an incredible amount of control to customize your page titles and meta descriptions. Without this customization, the title tag of any page is the same as the WordPress page title. That’s fine if all your page titles are two words long, but that’s not good optimization.

Both your page titles and meta descriptions are likely to appear in the search results. This is your chance to control the message you want searchers to see anytime your pages appear in front of them. Use this space to customize your title tag and meta descriptions for keywords, brand, messaging and click enticement.

Optimize your web pages in WordPress

Under Pages > [select your page] > WordPress SEO by Yoast, find the SEO Title and Meta Description Fields.

The Yoast plugin will let you know if your content is too long. Keeping within the recommended character length ensures that your content will fully appear in the search results as you intend.

Redirect Changed URLs
Changes in URLs happen from time to time. Sometimes you just want to re-categorize a page with a more appropriate URL (i.e. to, or you’ve done an entire restructuring of your site, moving pages around into new navigational categories.

Whenever such changes are made, you want to make sure to 301 redirect the old URLs to the new ones. Failure to redirect these URLs will cause you to lose any authority value the old URL achieved. In other words, the new URL will be starting from scratch.

A plugin called Redirection handles this nicely, making the set up of redirects fairly easy. It also gives you stats on how often a redirect is triggered.

Go to Tools > Redirection > Add new redirection to add new redirects.

The source URL is the old URL, and target URL is the new one.

Optimize WordPress for Visitors
With WordPress optimized for search engines, you now need to focus on your visitors. After all, there is no sense driving traffic to a site that visitors simply don’t like or won’t have a good experience interacting with.

I’ll walk you through some settings and other considerations for making sure your site is one visitors enjoy. This will increase your on-site engagement as well as conversions.

Offer Related Posts to Read
When a visitor has finished reading one of your blog posts, what do they do next? Most likely they close the browser window or tab and move on with their day. If there is nothing else enticing the visitor to stay engaged on your site, they won’t stay.

However, knowing that the visitor is interested in reading one piece of content, perhaps they will be interested in another. At the end of each post, offer the reader some links to other content they might find valuable. These posts are often similar to the current one they are reading and/or timely in nature.

Offer related posts on your blog articles

Giving your readers options to stay engaged is no guarantee that they will, but it eliminates the guarantee that they won’t.

Allow Comments?
Many sites are shutting down comments on their blogs in favor of engaging on social media. This may or may not be the right strategy for you, but you’ll want to consider each option carefully and make a decision for what’s best for your audience and your business.

If your audience is small and you’re not likely to get a lot of comments, it’s usually better to keep comments turned off until you reach a point where you’ll get more engagement.

To select the best comment settings, go to Discussion Settings > Default article settings and Other comment settings.

Allow Visitors to Subscribe to Comment Threads
People who take the time to comment on a blog post are doing so because they are interested in the conversation the blog post generates. A great way to keep them involved in the conversation is to allow readers to receive an email when an additional comment is made to the same post.

If visitors have no way of knowing if or when a new comment is posted, they are forced to return to the site on their own in order to keep up with the discussion, or they may forget about the comment altogether and not participate in any additional conversations going on. Neither of these options are good for building engagement.

You can help foster ongoing dialogue by giving the option to subscribe to comments. You’ll need to find a plugin that works with your site and gives you the features you want.

Allow visitors to subscribe to blog comment threads

Prep for Social Media
Today, most engagement takes place on social media, so your WordPress site has to be set up so it can be socialized. Not only do you want to give visitors an option to follow you or your company, you want posts that go out over social media to be share-ready.

Open graph meta data gives you the ability to control the message of your posts as they are shared on the social networks. You have the ability to edit how the post titles, images and other elements are displayed on social networks.
Prep your WordPress site for social media

Check the box under Yoast Social > Add Open Graph meta data

From there you’ll need to customize the information on each post to ensure it displays as you want it to on the social channels.

Set Up Social Sharing
Controlling how your pages display when they are shared is one aspect of social sharing, but you also want to make it easy for visitors to share your content.

The easiest way to do this is to add social sharing icons above, below, or beside your posts so the visitor can easily share the link on their favorite social channel with a single click.

Set up social sharing on your WordPress site

You can find some plugins that do this for you, each with varying visual settings that you can customize to fit your site.

Append Custom Message on End of Posts
Above we talked about giving your readers an opportunity to read more posts on your site to keep them engaged. Another opportunity is to customize a message that is appended to the end of each blog post.

This message can be a short call to action for your services, a link to a download an e-book or an advertisement for a specific product. You can also use text, images, or a combination of both. It’s probably a good idea to mix it up a bit as well so visitors don’t get “banner blindness”. Test different messages to see what gets the most engagement.

Append custom messages to the end of your blog posts

There are a number of plugins you can install to add these custom messages. They each have different features, so find one that fits your needs.

General Housekeeping Issues
There are a few general housekeeping issues that will help you maintain your WordPress site and prevent issues from piling up or disaster from striking. These are all optional, but I suggest serious consideration be given to each.

Backup Your Database
There is nothing worse than finding out that your database has been compromised. The best solution for this is to keep a permanent back up of your database somewhere so you can perform a quick restore.

You can find a plugin that will do this for you, but there are other alternatives as well. Check with your web host provider to see if they back up your databases and, if so, how often. Even still, you can probably perform a quick database backup yourself and store the backup on a local hard drive or server.

Backup your WordPress site

If your site is critical to your livelihood, I recommend doing more than one of these options. I use a back up plugin, rely on my web host to back the database up, perform weekly database downloads to my server, and make sure my server is backed up as well. This is one place were overkill is a good thing.

Find and Fix Broken Links
Inevitably, your site will begin to accumulate broken links. Either you’ve moved some pages around (changed URLs) and didn’t find all the links to those pages on your site, or you’re linking to external pages that have been moved themselves.

One plugin I use called Broken Link Checker scans the site regularly and reports the broken or redirecting links it finds. You can then check each link individually to update or remove the URL right from the tool interface. Redirecting links can be fixed in bulk, by automatically having the old URL changed to the new one.

Find and fix broken links on your WordPress site

Just remember to revisit this tool regularly, fixing links as needed, to keep your broken links from piling up.

Install Google Analytics
Tracking is an important part of running a successful site. Google Analytics is a free tool that gives you data on just about everything you’ll need, and then some.

If you don’t know how to use Analytics properly, that’s ok. Just get the code installed. You can always revisit Analytics once you have a handle on what to do and look for. However, if you don’t install the code now, you won’t have any data to analyze when you’re ready.

Cache Site For Faster Page Load
Caching pages allows visitors to download each page more quickly. WordPress sites often have a lot of code and, with the installation of third-party plugins, it can begin to weigh a site down, causing pages to load slowly.

By caching the site, a “snapshot” of each page is taken. That snapshot is served to visitors, circumventing the multiple downloads needed to display the “live” page. Think of it as the visitor looking at a picture of a house rather than having to build the house each time they want to see it.

Cache your site

The net result is that visitors can quickly navigate from page to page without slowing down their browsing experience.

Does This Make My Site Optimized?
If you implement all of the suggestions above, will your site be “optimized”? Sort of, but not really. Optimization is generally done an a page by page basis, with keyword research, messaging, and other factors being considered.

However, these tips will help make your WordPress site search engine and visitor friendly and give you a higher chance of success when you optimize pages later. In essence, your search engine friendly WordPress site will make any web marketing you do much more effective.

What settings do you think are essential for any WordPress website?

Selling To Customers Through ‘Shoppable Videos’

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Everyone knows online video can be a great way to market businesses and products, but some businesses are finding that it can be quite beneficial for actually selling products. “Shoppable video” is a trend that has been slowly rising for several years, but new capabilities from a variety of platforms indicate that it could be poised to become much bigger.

Is video already a part of your marketing strategy? Is it part of your selling strategy? Tell us about your efforts in the comments.

“Retail video brings merchants’ products to life in a way that only e-commerce video can, often resulting in higher customer satisfaction and higher retail sales conversion,” says video marketing news blog ReelSEO.


Greg Jarboe writes on the site that YouTube Shopping is the new window shopping and that “unlike the mall, YouTube never, ever sleeps.” He cites data directly from Google claiming that one third of all shopping searches happen between the hours of 10PM and 4AM.

A couple months ago, Google announced that it is extending its product listing ads (PLAs) to YouTube with TrueView for Shopping, its new format that lets businesses run product ads with related videos.

“Whether it’s watching a product review or learning how to bake a soufflé, we look to video in countless moments throughout to the day to help us get things done,” Google said in a blog post. “We call these micro-moments – when we reflexively turn to our devices to learn more, make a decision, or purchase a product.”

It said it launched TrueView for shopping to “connect the dots between the moment a person watches a video and the moment they decide to make a purchase,” while also making it easy for viewers to get more info on the business’ products with the option to click to buy. (view image)

With these ads, businesses can showcase product details and images, and users can click and purchase from a brand or retail site from within the video ad. The option is available for TrueView in-stream video ads, and works across mobile, desktop, and tablet. 50% of views on YouTube come from mobile.

The ads are integrated with Google Merchant Center, so you can connect campaigns with a Merchant Center feed to dynamically add products and customize ads through contextual and audience signals such as geography and demographic information. (view image)

“Brands that have participated in our early tests of TrueView for shopping have seen strong results for driving interest and sales,” Google noted in the announcement. “Online home goods retailer Wayfair, for instance, saw a 3X revenue increase per impression served when compared to previous campaigns. And beauty retailer Sephora took advantage of this new ad format to drive +80% lift in consideration and +54% lift in ad recall, and an average view time of nearly two minutes.”

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6 Things to consider implementing open-source software

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As open source becomes popular many organisations employ wide array of open-source applications, APIs and code in use today – be it infrastructure and application layers, or in development frameworks and simply the GitHub repositories.

As a applications developer and infrastructure teams you can come under increasing pressure due to organisations rush to develop new services for customers, comply with growing amounts of industry regulation, or simply strive to meet the needs of the information generation.


Here are six things these technical leaders should consider around open-source software.

1. New governance frameworks and policies are required for open-source platforms

Unlike traditional app/dev environments, open-source platforms move at a greater pace and with a very different model for iteration and improvement. Traditional governance and security for these environments would limit the benefits of agility you might hope to get from going down this path.

From security, to support, to indemnity, the challenges of managing open-source code in an enterprise context requires a different set of considerations.

2. The ‘packaged’ open-source model deserves consideration

Whilst a packaged version of an open-source platform from a vendor brings significant benefits – of documentation, versioning, integration points, feature road-maps, support and beyond – there is a trade-off in terms of lag between new community releases and new packaged releases that technical leaders are wary of.

Proper evaluation is needed – with true open-source projects there is total visibility (and community engagement in) resolving bugs and adding functionality. Once a vendor puts its wrap on a set of code, this transparency is lost to some degree.

3. The culture and mindset of the app/dev team must be hungry

The mindset for open-source development is one of entrepreneurial hunger. It’s one of identifying problems and building solutions. More conventional teams might live in denial of these possibilities and prefer to look at the limitations and capabilities of traditional environments, rather than see those limitations as problems that can be solved with code in an open-source context.

4. A greater context of collaboration is required within the app/dev, security and infrastructure teams

With technical delivery for what might be classified within the ‘open source’ umbrella split across a potentially diverse set of teams – like desktop, servers, applications, analytics and security – greater collaboration between the teams is needed to ensure the security and effectiveness of the approach.

If the cost of short-term agility is a long-term cost burden for maintenance, the books may not balance. By working together, however, a more complete set of benefits can be delivered.

5. There is more external consulting support for open source emerging every year

As open-source platforms from the likes of Linux, Cassandra and Hadoop grow in sophistication – and as potential applications grow in data-rich, application-hungry businesses – more traditional outsourcers and IT consultancies are developing specialist propositions around supporting businesses with their apps in these environments. This provides a degree of assurance and resilience to those who need it.

6. Open-source community contributions and the talent conundrum

To attract talent to the developer pool, organisations need to be contributing to the open-source community. But some organisations can’t allow their developers to do this, due to concerns about giving away intellectual property or exposing the possibility of breach that may emerge if they write up code that is potentially vulnerable.

This is the challenge for technology leaders – to find the best way to contribute to the community whilst maintaining integrity and compliance, such that they can win the best talent.

Courtesy from Wai Hung Wan, EMC edited by Jamal Panhwar