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How to Make Your Website More Secure (So Google Doesn’t Punish You)

Posted by lkolowich

Thanks to the buzz around website hacking and personal data theft in recent years, most Internet users are aware that their sensitive information is at risk every time they surf the web.

And yet, although the personal data of their visitors and customers is at risk, many businesses still aren’t making website security a priority.

Enter Google.

The folks over at Google are known for paving the way for Internet behavior. Last month, they took a monumental step forward in helping protect people from getting their personal data hacked. The update they released to their popular Chrome browser now warns users if a website is not secure – right inside that user’s browser.

While this change is meant to help protect users’ personal data, it’s also a big kick in the pants for businesses to get moving on making their websites more secure.

Google’s Chrome update: What you need to know

On October 17, 2017, Google’s latest Chrome update (version 62) began flagging websites and webpages that contain a form but don’t have a basic security feature called SSL. SSL, which stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” is the standard technology that ensures all the data that passes between a web server and a browser – passwords, credit card information, and other personal data – stays private and ensures protection against hackers.

In Chrome, sites lacking SSL are now marked with the warning “Not Secure” in eye-catching red, right inside the URL bar:

imdb-not-secure.gif

Google started doing this back in January 2017 for pages that asked for sensitive information, like credit cards. The update released in October expands the warning to all websites that have a form, even if it’s just one field that asks for something like an email address.

What’s the impact on businesses?

Because Chrome has 47% of market share, this change is likely noticed by millions of people using Chrome. And get this: 82% of respondents to a recent consumer survey said they would leave a site that is not secure, according to HubSpot Research.

In other words, if your business’ website isn’t secured with SSL, then more than 8 out of 10 Chrome users said they would leave your website.

Ouch.

What’s more, Google has publically stated that SSL is now a ranking signal in Google’s search algorithm. This means that a website with SSL enabled may outrank another site without SSL.

That’s exactly why anyone who owns or operates a website should start taking the steps to secure their website with an SSL certificate, in addition to a few other security measures. Businesses that don’t take care to protect visitors’ information might see significant issues, garner unwanted attention, and dilute customer trust.

“In my opinion, I think security is undervalued by a lot of marketers,” says Jeffrey Vocell, my colleague at HubSpot and go-to website guru. “Almost daily, we hear news about a new hacking incident or about personal data that has been compromised. The saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’ clearly isn’t true here; or, at the very least, the marketer that believes it has never had to live with the fallout of a data breach.”

With Google’s Chrome update, those visitors will see a warning right inside their browsers – even before they’ve entered any information. This means businesses face the potential of losing website visitors’ trust, regardless of whether a cybersecurity incident has actually occurred.

If you’re ready to join the movement toward a more secure web, the first step is to see whether your website currently has an SSL certificate.

Do you know whether your site has SSL?

There are a few ways to tell whether your website (or any website) has SSL.

If you don’t use Google Chrome:

All you have to do is look at a website’s URL once you’ve entered it into the URL bar. Does it contain “https://” with that added “s,” or does it contain “http://” without an “s”? Websites that have SSL contain that extra “s.” You can also enter any URL into this SSL Checker from HubSpot and it’ll tell you whether it’s secure without having to actually visit that site.

If you do have Chrome:

It’s easy to see whether a website is secured with an SSL certificate, thanks to the recent update. After entering a URL into the URL bar, you’ll see the red “Not Secure” warning next to websites that aren’t certified with SSL:

star-wars-not-secure.png

For websites that are certified with SSL, you’ll see “Secure” in green, alongside a padlock icon:

facebook-secure.png

You can click on the padlock to read more about the website and the company that provided the SSL certificate.

Using one of the methods above, go ahead and check to see if your business’ website is secure.

Yes, it does have SSL! Woohoo!

Your site visitors already feel better about browsing and entering sensitive information into your website. You’re not quite done, though – there’s still more you can do to make your website even more secure. We’ll get to that in a second.

Shoot, it doesn’t have SSL yet.

You’re not alone – even a few well-known sites, like IMDB and StarWars.com, weren’t ready for Google’s update. But it’s time to knock on your webmasters’ doors and have them follow the steps outlined below.

How to make your website more secure

Ready to protect your visitors from data theft and get rid of that big, red warning signal staring every Chrome user in the face in the process? Below, you’ll find instructions and resources to help you secure your website and reduce the chances of getting hacked.

Securing your site with SSL

The first step is to determine which type of certificate you need – and how many. You might need different SSL certificates if you host content on multiple platforms, such as separate domains or subdomains.

As for cost, an SSL certificate will cost you anywhere from nothing (Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates) to a few hundred dollars per month. It usually averages around $50 per month per domain. Some CMS providers (like HubSpot) have SSL included, so check with them before making any moves.

(Read this post for more detailed instructions and considerations for SSL.)

Securing your site with additional measures

Even if you already have SSL, there are four other things you can do to make your website significantly more secure, according to Vocell.

1) Update any plugins or extensions/apps you use on your site.

Hackers look for security vulnerabilities in old versions of plugins, so it’s better to take on the challenges of keeping your plugins updated than make yourself an easy target.

2) Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network).

One trick hackers use to take down websites is through a DDoS attack. A DDoS attack is when a hacker floods your server with traffic until it stops responding altogether, at which point the hacker can gain access to sensitive data stored in your CMS. A CDN will detect traffic increases and scale up to handle it, preventing a DDoS attack from debilitating your site.

3) Make sure your CDN has data centers in multiple locations.

That way, if something goes awry with one server, your website won’t stop working all of a sudden, leaving it vulnerable to attack.

4) Use a password manager.

One simple way of protecting against cyberattacks is by using a password manager – or, at the very least, using a secure password. A secure password contains upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.

Suffering a hack is a frustrating experience for users and businesses alike. I hope this article inspires you to double down on your website security. With SSL and the other security measures outlined in this post, you’ll help protect your visitors and your business, and make visitors feel safe browsing and entering information on your site.

Does your website have SSL enabled? What tips do you have for making your website more secure? Tell us about your experiences and ideas in the comments.

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SearchCap: Google AMP requirements, AdWords promotion extensions & smart speakers

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. The post SearchCap: Google AMP requirements, AdWords promotion extensions & smart speakers appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Taste The Local Difference Names New CEO

Taste the Local Difference, a marketing agency focused on promoting local food that's part of the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, has …

Google aims to make apps for Google Assistant more functional and discoverable

It also enables users to start a task on Google Home and complete it on a smartphone. The post Google aims to make apps for Google Assistant more functional and discoverable appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

South Florida Business Marketing Company Named to Inc. 5000 List

Local Management, Boca Raton's premier SEO and business marketing service, has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing …

How to Build the Right Content Marketing Strategy for SEO Growth

Posted by AlliBerry3

Delivering content that best serves the needs of users is certainly top-of-mind for many SEOs since the Hummingbird algorithm update and subsequent buzz around RankBrain. It sounds easy enough in theory, but what does that actually mean in practice? Many SEOs believe that they’re already doing this by driving their content strategy by virtue of keyword research alone.

The problem with solely using keywords to drive your content strategy is that not all of your audience’s content needs are captured in search. Ask your nearest customer service representative what questions they answer every day; I can guarantee that you won’t find all of those questions with search volume in a keyword research tool.

Keyword research can also tempt you to develop content that your brand really shouldn’t be creating because you don’t have anything unique to say about it. Sure, you could end up increasing organic traffic, but are those going to be converting customers?

Moving away from a keyword-first-driven content strategy and into an audience-centric one will put you in a better place for creating SEO content that converts. Don’t get me wrong — there’s still an important place for keyword research. But it belongs later in the process, after you’ve performed a deep dive into your audience and your own brand expertise.

This is an approach that the best content marketers excel at. And it’s something that SEOs can utilize, too, as they strive to provide more relevant and higher-quality content for your target audiences.


How is an audience-focused content strategy different from a keyword-focused content strategy?

A content marketing strategy starts with the target audience and dives deeper into understanding your brand’s expertise and unique value proposition. Keyword research is great at uncovering how people talk about topics relevant to your brand, but it is limiting when it comes to audience understanding.

Think about one of your prospective customer’s journey to conversion. Is search the only channel they utilize to get information? If you are collecting lead information or serving up remarketing ads, hopefully not. So, why should your audience understanding be limited to keyword research?

A content strategy is a holistic plan that tackles questions like:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What are their pain points and needs?
  • What types of content do these people want to consume?
  • Where are they currently having conversations (online or offline)
  • What unique expertise does our brand offer?
  • How can we match our expertise to our audience’s needs?

Finding your unique content angle

The key to connecting with your audience is to develop your unique content angle that finds intersections between what your brand’s expertise is in and your audience’s pain points. The Content Marketing Institute refers to this as a “content tilt” because it involves taking a larger topic and tilting it in your own way. Defining your brand’s expertise can be more difficult than it appears on the surface.

It isn’t uncommon for brands to say their product is what makes them unique, but if there is a competitor out there with the same general product, it’s not unique. What makes your organization different from competitors?

Here’s an example

When I worked for Kaplan Financial Education, a professional licensing and exam prep provider brand under Kaplan Professional, finding our tilt was a real challenge. Kaplan Financial Education has a lot of product lines all within financial services, but the audience for each is different. We needed a tilt that worked for the entire Career Corner content hub we were creating. What we realized is that our core audience all has a big pain point in common: entering the financial services industry either through insurance or securities (selling stocks and bonds) has low barriers to entry and high turnover. Everyone entering that job market needs to know how to not only pass their licensing exam(s), but also be successful as professionals too, both in the early years and also in the years to come.

Kaplan Financial Education’s biggest content competitors create very factual content — they’re websites like Investopedia, Wikipedia, and governing bodies like FINRA and state government departments. But Kaplan Financial Education has something going for it that its competitors do not: a huge network of students. There are other licensing exam prep providers that compete with Kaplan Financial Education, but none that cover the same breadth of exams and continuing education. It’s the only brand in that industry that provides licensing education as individuals progress through their financial careers. “From hire to retire,” as the marketers say.

We made our content tone more conversational and solicited input from our huge student and instructor network to help new professionals be more successful. We also used their quotes and insights to drive content creation and make it more relatable and personalized. All of our content tied back to helping financial professionals be successful — either as they’re getting licensed or beyond — and rather than simply telling people what to do, we leveraged content to allow our current students and instructors to teach our prospective students.

You may be thinking… so I can only write content that fits in this tilt? Isn’t that limiting?

As SEOs, it can be really hard to let go of some keyword opportunities that exist if they don’t fit the content strategy. And it’s true that there are probably some keywords out there you could create content for and increase your organic traffic. But if they don’t fit with your target audience’s needs and your brand’s expertise, will it be the kind of traffic that’s going to convert? Likely not. Certainly not enough to spend resources on content creation and to distract yourself from your larger strategy objective.


How to build your content strategy

1. Set your goals.

Start at the end. What is you are ultimately trying to accomplish? Do you want to increase leads by a certain percentage? Do you want to drive a certain number increase in sales? Are you trying to drive subscribers to a newsletter? Document these goals first. This will help you figure out what type of content you want to create and what the calls-to-action should be.

If you’re a business like Kaplan and leads are your ultimate goal, a proven strategy is to create ungated content that provides good insights, but leaves room for a deeper dive. Have your calls-to-action point to a gated piece of content requiring some form of contact information that goes into more depth.

A business like a car dealership is going to have a primary goal of getting people into their dealership to buy a car. Their content doesn’t necessarily need to be gated, but it should have a local spin and speak to common questions people have about the car buying process, as well as show the human elements that make the dealership unique to establish trust and show how customers will be treated. Trust is especially important in that industry because they have to combat the used car salesman stereotype.

2. Identify your primary audience and their pain points.

The next step is to identify who you’re targeting with your content. There are a lot of people at your disposal to help you with this part of the process. Within your organization, consider talking to these teams:

  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Technical Support
  • Product Management
  • Product Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing

These are often the people who interact the most with customers. Find out what your audience is struggling with and what content could be created to help answer their questions. You can also do some of this research on your own by searching forums and social media. Subreddits within Reddit related to your topic can be a goldmine. Other times there are active, related groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. If you’ve ever been to the MozCon Facebook group, you know how much content could be created answering common questions people have related to SEO.

3. Determine your brand’s unique expertise.

Again, dig deeper and figure out what makes your brand truly unique. It likely isn’t the product itself. Think about who your subject matter experts are and how they contribute to the organization. Think about how your products are developed.

Even expertise that may seem boring on the surface can be extremely valuable. I’ve seen Marcus Sheridan speak a couple of times and he has one of the most compelling success stories I’ve ever heard about not being afraid to get too niche with expertise. He had a struggling swimming pool installation business until he started blogging. He knew his expertise was in pools — buying fiberglass pools, specifically. He answered every question he could think of related to that buying process and became the world thought leader on fiberglass pools. Is it a glamorous topic? No. But, it’s helpful to the exact audience he wanted to reach. There aren’t hundreds of thousands of people searching for fiberglass pool information online, but the ones that are searching are the ones he wanted to capture. And he did.

4. Figure out your content tilt.

Now put your answers for #2 and #3 together and figure out what your unique content angle will look like.

5. Develop a list of potential content topics based on your content tilt.

It’s time to brainstorm topics. Now that you know your content tilt, it’s a lot easier to come up with topics your brand should be creating content about. Plus, they’re topics you know your audience cares about! This is a good step to get other people involved from around your organization, from departments like sales, product management, and customer service. Just make sure your content tilt is clear to them prior to the brainstorm to ensure you don’t get off-course.

6. Conduct keyword research.

Now that you’ve got a list of good content topics, it’s time to really dive into long-tail keyword research and figure out the best keyword targets around the topics.

There are plenty of good tools out there to help you with this. Here are a few of my go-tos:

  • Moz Keyword Explorer (freemium): If you have it, it’s a great tool for uncovering keywords as questions, looking at the keyword competitive landscape, and finding other related keywords to your topic.
  • Keywordtool.io (free): One of the only keyword discovery tools out there that will give you keyword research by search engine. If you are looking for YouTube or App Store keywords, for instance, this is a great idea generation tool.
  • Ubersuggest.io (free): Type in one keyword and Ubersuggest will give you a plethora of other ideas organized in a list alphabetically or in a word cloud.

7. Create an editorial calendar.

Based on your keyword research findings, develop an editorial calendar for your content. Make sure to include what your keyword target(s) are so if you have someone else developing the content, they know what is important to include in it.

Here are a couple resources to check out for getting started:

8. Determine how to measure success.

Once you know what content you’re going to create, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll measure success. Continuing on with the Kaplan example, lead generation was our focus. So, we focused our efforts on measuring leads to our gated content and conversions of those leads to sales over a certain time period. We also measured organic entrances to our ungated content. If our organic entrances were growing (or not growing) disproportionate to our leads, then we’d take deeper dives into what individual pieces of content were converting well and what pieces were not, then make tweaks accordingly.

9. Create content!

Now that all the pieces are there, it’s time to do the creation work. This is the fun part! With your content tilt in mind and your keyword research completed, gather the information or research you need and outline what you want the content to look like.

Take this straightforward article called How to Get Your Series 7 License as an example. To become a registered representative (stockbroker), you have to pass this exam. The primary keyword target here is: Series 7 license. It’s an incredibly competitive keyword with between 2.9K–4.3K monthly searches, according to the Keyword Explorer tool. Other important semantically related keywords include: how to get the Series 7 license, Series 7 license requirements, Series 7 Exam, General Securities Registered Representative license, and Series 7 license pass rate.

Based on our content tilt and competitive landscape for the primary keyword, it made the most sense to make this into a how-to article explaining the process in non-jargon terms to someone just starting in the industry. We perfectly exact-match each keyword target, but the topics are covered well enough for us to rank on the front page for all but one of them. Plus, we won the Google Answer Box for “how to get your Series 7 license.” We also positioned ourselves well for anticipated future searches around a new licensing component called the SIE exam and how it’ll change the licensing process.


Once you’ve created your content and launched it, like with any SEO work, you will have a lag before you see any results. Be sure to build a report or dashboard based on your content goals so you can keep track of the performance of your content on a regular basis. If you find that the growth isn’t there after several months, it is a good idea to go back through the content strategy and assess whether you’ve got your tilt right. Borrowing from Joe Pulizzi, ask yourself: “What if our content disappeared? Would it leave a gap in the marketplace?” If the answer is no, then it’s definitely time to revisit your tilt. It’s the toughest piece to get right, but once you do, the results will follow.

If you’re interested in more discussion on content marketing and SEO, check out the newest MozPod podcast. Episode 8, SEO & Content Strategy:

Listen to the podcast

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Call for Review: Indexed Database API 2.0 is a W3C Proposed Recommendation

The Web Platform Working Group has published a Proposed Recommendation of Indexed Database API 2.0. This document defines APIs for a database of records holding simple values and hierarchical objects. Each record consists of a key and some value. Moreover, the database maintains indexes over records it stores. An application developer directly uses an API to locate records either by their key or by using an index. A query language can be layered on this API. An indexed database can be implemented using a persistent B-tree data structure. Comments are welcome through 14 December 2017.

WordPress 4.9 “Tipton”

Major Customizer Improvements, Code Error Checking, and More! 🎉

Version 4.9 of WordPress, named “Tipton” in honor of jazz musician and band leader Billy Tipton, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.9 will smooth your design workflow and keep you safe from coding errors.

Featuring design drafts, scheduling, and locking, along with preview links, the Customizer workflow improves collaboration for content creators. What’s more, code syntax highlighting and error checking will make for a clean and smooth site building experience. Finally, if all that wasn’t pretty great, we’ve got an awesome new Gallery widget and improvements to theme browsing and switching.


Customizer Workflow Improved 

Draft and Schedule Site Design Customizations

Yes, you read that right. Just like you can draft and revise posts and schedule them to go live on the date and time you choose, you can now tinker with your site’s design and schedule those design changes to go live as you please.

Collaborate with Design Preview Links

Need to get some feedback on proposed site design changes? WordPress 4.9 gives you a preview link you can send to colleagues and customers so that you can collect and integrate feedback before you schedule the changes to go live. Can we say collaboration++?

Design Locking Guards Your Changes

Ever encounter a scenario where two designers walk into a project and designer A overrides designer B’s beautiful changes? WordPress 4.9’s design lock feature (similar to post locking) secures your draft design so that no one can make changes to it or erase all your hard work.

A Prompt to Protect Your Work

Were you lured away from your desk before you saved your new draft design? Fear not, when you return, WordPress 4.9 will politely ask whether or not you’d like to save your unsaved changes.


Coding Enhancements

Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking? Yes, Please!

You’ve got a display problem but can’t quite figure out exactly what went wrong in the CSS you lovingly wrote. With syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and the Custom HTML widget introduced in WordPress 4.8.1, you’ll pinpoint coding errors quickly. Practically guaranteed to help you scan code more easily, and suss out & fix code errors quickly.

Sandbox for Safety

The dreaded white screen. You’ll avoid it when working on themes and plugin code because WordPress 4.9 will warn you about saving an error. You’ll sleep better at night.

Warning: Potential Danger Ahead!

When you edit themes and plugins directly, WordPress 4.9 will politely warn you that this is a dangerous practice and will recommend that you draft and test changes before updating your file. Take the safe route: You’ll thank you. Your team and customers will thank you.


Even More Widget Updates 

The New Gallery Widget

An incremental improvement to the media changes hatched in WordPress 4.8, you can now add a gallery via this new widget. Yes!

Press a Button, Add Media

Want to add media to your text widget? Embed images, video, and audio directly into the widget along with your text, with our simple but useful Add Media button. Woo!


Site Building Improvements 

More Reliable Theme Switching

When you switch themes, widgets sometimes think they can just move location. Improvements in WordPress 4.9 offer more persistent menu and widget placement when you decide it’s time for a new theme. 

Find and Preview the Perfect Theme

Looking for a new theme for your site? Now, from within the Customizer, you can search, browse, and preview over 2600 themes before deploying changes to your site. What’s more, you can speed your search with filters for subject, features, and layout.

Better Menu Instructions = Less Confusion

Were you confused by the steps to create a new menu? Perhaps no longer! We’ve ironed out the UX for a smoother menu creation process. Newly updated copy will guide you.


Lend a Hand with Gutenberg 🤝

WordPress is working on a new way to create and control your content and we’d love to have your help. Interested in being an early tester or getting involved with the Gutenberg project? Contribute on GitHub.

(PS: this post was written in Gutenberg!)


Developer Happiness 😊

Customizer JS API Improvements

We’ve made numerous improvements to the Customizer JS API in WordPress 4.9, eliminating many pain points. (Hello, default parameters for constructs! Goodbye repeated ID for constructs!) There are also new base control templates, a date/time control, and section/panel/global notifications to name a few. Check out the full list.

CodeMirror available for use in your themes and plugins

We’ve introduced a new code editing library, CodeMirror, for use within core. CodeMirror allows for syntax highlighting, error checking, and validation when creating code writing or editing experiences within your plugins, like CSS or JavaScript include fields.

MediaElement.js upgraded to 4.2.6

WordPress 4.9 includes an upgraded version of MediaElement.js, which removes dependencies on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernizes the UI, and fixes many bugs.

Roles and Capabilities Improvements

New capabilities have been introduced that allow granular management of plugins and translation files. In addition, the site switching process in multisite has been fine-tuned to update the available roles and capabilities in a more reliable and coherent way.


The Squad

This release was led by Mel Choyce and Weston Ruter, with the help of the following fabulous folks. There are 443 contributors with props in this release, with 185 of them contributing for the first time. Pull up some Billy Tipton on your music service of choice, and check out some of their profiles:

Aaron D. Campbell, Aaron Jorbin, Aaron Rutley, Achal Jain, Adam Harley (Kawauso), Adam Silverstein, AdamWills, Adhun Anand, aegis123, Afzal Multani, Ahmad Awais, Ajay Ghaghretiya, ajoah, Akash Soni, akbarhusen, Alain Schlesser, Alex Dimitrov, Alex Goller, Alexandru Vornicescu, alibasheer, alxndr, Andrea Fercia, andreagobetti, Andrew Duthie, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Norcross, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Taylor, Andy Fragen, Andy Meerwaldt, Andy Mercer, Angelika Reisiger, anhskohbo, Ankit K Gupta, Anthony Hortin, Anton Timmermans, antonrinas, appchecker, arena94, Arnaud Coolsaet, ArnaudBan, Arun, Ashar Irfan, atachibana, Atanas Angelov, audrasjb, Avina Patel, Ayesh Karunaratne, Barry Ceelen, bduclos, Bego Mario Garde, Behzod Saidov, Ben Cole, Ben Dunkle, benoitchantre, Bharat Parsiya, bhavesh khadodara, Biplav, Biranit, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), biskobe, BjornW, Blackbam, Blobfolio, bobbingwide, bonger, Boone B. Gorges, Boro Sitnikovski, Brad Parbs, Brady Vercher, Brandon Kraft, Brandon Payton, Brent Jett, Brian Layman, Brian Meyer, Bruno Borges, bseddon, Bunty, Carl Danley, Carolina Nymark, Caroline Moore, carolinegeven, Charlie Merland, Chetan Chauhan, chetansatasiya, choong, Chouby, Chris Hardie, Chris Runnells, Christian Chung, Christian Herrmann, Christoph Herr, chsxf, cjhaas, Cliff Seal, code-monkey, Collins Agbonghama, corvidism, csloisel, Daedalon, Daniel Bachhuber, Daniel James, Daniele Scasciafratte, dany2217, Dave Pullig, DaveFX, David A. Kennedy, David Aguilera, David Anderson, David Binovec, David Chandra Purnama, David Herrera, David Shanske, David Strauss, David Trower, Davide ‘Folletto’ Casali, daymobrew, Derek Herman, designsimply, DiedeExterkate, dingo-d, Dion Hulse, dipeshkakadiya, Divyesh Ladani, Dixita Dusara, dixitadusara, Dominik Schilling, Dominik Schwind, Drew Jaynes, dsawardekar, Dzikri Aziz, Eaton, eclev91, Edd Hurst, EGregor, Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, elvishp2006, enrico.sorcinelli, Eric Andrew Lewis, euthelup, Evan Mullins, eventualo, Fabien Quatravaux, FancyThought, Felipe Elia, Felix Arntz, fergbrain, Florian TIAR, Gabriel Mariani, Garth Mortensen, Gary Pendergast, Gennady Kovshenin, George Stephanis, Girish Lohar, Govind Kumar, Graham Armfield, Greg Ross, Gregory Cornelius, grosbouff, Guido Scialfa, Gustave F. Gerhardt, guzzilar, Hardeep Asrani, Hazem Noor, hazimayesh, Helen Hou-Sandí, Henry, Henry Wright, herregroen, Hinaloe, Howdy_McGee, Hugh Lashbrooke, Hugo Baeta, Iacopo C, Ian Dunn, imath, Ippei Sumida, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Irene Strikkers, Ivan Kristianto, ixmati, J.D. Grimes, j.hoffmann, James Nylen, Janki Moradiya, Jason Stallings, Jeffrey Paul, Jennifer M. Dodd, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Pry, Jip Moors, jjcomack, jkhongusc, Joe Dolson, Joe Hoyle, Joe McGill, Joen Asmussen, John Blackbourn, John Eckman, John James Jacoby, John Regan, johnpgreen, johnroper100, Jonathan Bardo, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, Joost de Valk, Josepha, Josh Pollock, Joshua Wold, Joy, jrf, jsepia, jsonfry, Juhi Saxena, Julien, Justin Kopepasah, Justin Sternberg, K.Adam White, Karthik Thayyil, Kathryn Presner, keesiemeijer, Kelly Dwan, Ken Newman, Kevin Newman, Kim Parsell, Kiran Potphode, Kite, Konstantin Kovshenin, Konstantin Obenland, Konstantinos Galanakis, koopersmith, Krista Stevens, Kristin Kokkersvold, lalitpendhare, Lance Willett, lemacarl, lessbloat, llemurya, Luke Cavanagh, Mário Valney, m1tk00, Maedah Batool, Mahesh Prajapati, Mahvash Fatima, Maja Benke, Mako, manolis09, manuelaugustin, Marcel Bootsman, Marius L. J., Marius Vetrici, Mark Jaquith, Mark Root-Wiley, markcallen, Marko Heijnen, MatheusGimenez, Matias Ventura, Matt Gibbs, Matt Mullenweg, matthias.thiel, mattyrob, Maxime Culea, mdifelice, megane9988, Mel Choyce, Menaka S., Michael Arestad, Michele Mizejewski, Michelle Weber, Miina Sikk, Mike Crantea, Mike Hansen, Mike Schinkel, Mike Schroder, Milan Dinić, Milana Cap, Milind More, Mirucon, Mitch Canter, Mithun Raval, mkomar, Monika Rao, Morgan Estes, moto hachi ( mt8.biz ), msebel, munyagu, MyThemeShop, N’DoubleH, Nathan Johnson, nenad, nic.bertino, Nick Diego, Nick Halsey, Nicolas GUILLAUME, nicollle, Nidhi Jain, Nikhil Chavan, Nilambar Sharma, Nileshdudakiya94, Nishit Langaliya, Norris, obradovic, Ov3rfly, Paal Joachim Romdahl, palmiak, Parth Sanghvi, Pascal Birchler, Pat O’Brien, patel, Paul Bearne, Paul Biron, Paul Dechov, Paul Wilde, pcarvalho, Pedro Mendonça, Pete Nelson, Peter “Pessoft” Kolínek, Peter J. Herrel, Peter Toi, Peter Westwood, Peter Wilson, Philip John, Piotr Delawski, Pippin Williamson, Plastikschnitzer, powerzilly, Pratik Gandhi, Presslabs, Punit Patel, Purnendu Dash, r-a-y, Rachel Baker, Rafael Miranda, Rahmohn, Rami Yushuvaev, ramon fincken, Ravi Vaghela, RC Lations, redrambles, RENAUT, Reuben Gunday, rfair404, Riad Benguella, Rian Rietveld, Riddhi Mehta, Rinku Y, Rob Cutmore, Rodrigo Primo, Ronak Ganatra, rugved, Rushabh Shah, Ryan Boren, Ryan Duff, Ryan Holmes, Ryan Marks, Ryan McCue, Ryan Neudorf, Ryan Plas, Ryan Welcher, ryanrolds, ryotsun, Sabuj Kundu, Sagar Prajapati, sagarladani, Said El Bakkali, Sami Keijonen, Sampat Viral, Samuel Sidler, Samuel Wood (Otto), sarah semark, sathyapulse, Sayed Taqui, sboisvert, Scott DeLuzio, Scott Kingsley Clark, Scott Lee, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, scribu, Sebastian Pisula, SeBsZ, Sergey Biryukov, Sergio De Falco, Shamim Hasan, Shawn Hooper, Shital Marakana, shramee, Siddharth Thevaril, Simon Prosser, skostadinov, Slava Abakumov, someecards, Soren Wrede, spencerfinnell, spocke, Stanko Metodiev, Stephane Daury (stephdau), Stephen Edgar, Stephen Harris, Steve Grunwell, Steve Puddick, stevenlinx, Subrata Mal, Subrata Sarkar, Sudar Muthu, Susumu Seino, svrooij, Takahashi Fumiki, Takayuki Miyauchi, Tammie Lister, Taylor, tejas5989, terwdan, tharsheblows, thingsym, Thoriq Firdaus, Thorsten Frommen, thulshof, Timmy Crawford, Timothy Jacobs, tmatsuur, tobi823, Todd Nestor, Tor-Bjorn Fjellner, Torsten Landsiedel, Toru Miki, toscho, transl8or, truongwp, tuanmh, TV productions, uicestone, Ulrich, Umang Vaghela, Umesh Nevase, upadalavipul, Utkarsh, vhauri, williampatton, withinboredom, Wojtek Szkutnik, Xenos (xkon) Konstantinos, Yahil Madakiya, yonivh, yrpwayne, zachwtx, and Zane Matthew.

Finally, thanks to all the community translators who worked on WordPress 4.9. Their efforts bring WordPress 4.9 fully translated to 43 languages at release time, with more on the way.

Do you want to report on WordPress 4.9? We've compiled a press kit featuring information about the release features, and some media assets to help you along.

If you want to follow along or help out, check out Make WordPress and our core development blog.

Thanks for choosing WordPress!

Rewriting the Beginner’s Guide to SEO

Posted by BritneyMuller


(function($) { // code using $ as alias to jQuery $(function() { // Hide the hypotext content. $(‘.hypotext-content’).hide(); // When a hypotext link is clicked. $(‘a.hypotext.closed’).click(function (e) { // custom handling here e.preventDefault(); // Create the class reference from the rel value. var id = ‘.’ + $(this).attr(‘rel’); // If the content is hidden, show it now. if ( $(id).css(‘display’) == ‘none’ ) { $(id).show(‘slow’); if (jQuery.ui) { // UI loaded $(id).effect(“highlight”, {}, 1000); } } // If the content is shown, hide it now. else { $(id).hide(‘slow’); } }); // If we have a hash value in the url. if (window.location.hash) { // If the anchor is within a hypotext block, expand it, by clicking the // relevant link. console.log(window.location.hash); var anchor = $(window.location.hash); var hypotextLink = $(‘#’ + anchor.parents(‘.hypotext-content’).attr(‘rel’)); console.log(hypotextLink); hypotextLink.click(); // Wait until the content has expanded before jumping to anchor. //$.delay(1000); setTimeout(function(){ scrollToAnchor(window.location.hash); }, 1000); } }); function scrollToAnchor(id) { var anchor = $(id); $(‘html,body’).animate({scrollTop: anchor.offset().top},’slow’); } })(jQuery);

.hypotext-content { position: relative; padding: 10px; margin: 10px 0; border-right: 5px solid; } a.hypotext { border-bottom: 1px solid; } .hypotext-content .close:before { content: “close”; font-size: 0.7em; margin-right: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid; } a.hypotext.close { display: block; position: absolute; right: 0; top: 0; line-height: 1em; border: none; }

Many of you reading likely cut your teeth on Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Since it was launched, it’s easily been our top-performing piece of content:

Most months see 100k+ views (the reverse plateau in 2013 is when we changed domains).

While Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO still gets well over 100k views a month, the current guide itself is fairly outdated. This big update has been on my personal to-do list since I started at Moz, and we need to get it right because — let’s get real — you all deserve a bad-ass SEO 101 resource!

However, updating the guide is no easy feat. Thankfully, I have the help of my fellow Mozzers. Our content team has been a collective voice of reason, wisdom, and organization throughout this process and has kept this train on its tracks.

Despite the effort we’ve put into this already, it felt like something was missing: your input! We’re writing this guide to be a go-to resource for all of you (and everyone who follows in your footsteps), and want to make sure that we’re including everything that today’s SEOs need to know. You all have a better sense of that than anyone else.

So, in order to deliver the best possible update, I’m seeking your help.

This is similar to the way Rand did it back in 2007. And upon re-reading your many “more examples” requests, we’ve continued to integrate more examples throughout.

The plan:

  • Over the next 6–8 weeks, I’ll be updating sections of the Beginner’s Guide and posting them, one by one, on the blog.
  • I’ll solicit feedback from you incredible people and implement top suggestions.
  • The guide will be reformatted/redesigned, and I’ll 301 all of the blog entries that will be created over the next few weeks to the final version.
  • It’s going to remain 100% free to everyone — no registration required, no premium membership necessary.

To kick things off, here’s the revised outline for the Beginner’s Guide to SEO:

Click each chapter’s description to expand the section for more detail.

Chapter 1: SEO 101

What is it, and why is it important? ↓

  • What is SEO?
  • Why invest in SEO?
  • Do I really need SEO?
  • Should I hire an SEO professional, consultant, or agency?

Search engine basics:

  • Google Webmaster Guidelines basic principles
  • Bing Webmaster Guidelines basic principles
  • Guidelines for representing your business on Google

Fulfilling user intent

Know your SEO goals


Chapter 2: Crawlers & Indexing

First, you need to show up. ↓

How do search engines work?

  • Crawling & indexing
  • Determining relevance
  • Links
  • Personalization

How search engines make an index

  • Googlebot
  • Indexable content
  • Crawlable link structure
  • Links
  • Alt text
  • Types of media that Google crawls
  • Local business listings

Common crawling and indexing problems

  • Online forms
  • Blocking crawlers
  • Search forms
  • Duplicate content
  • Non-text content

Tools to ensure proper crawl & indexing

  • Google Search Console
  • Moz Pro Site Crawl
  • Screaming Frog
  • Deep Crawl

How search engines order results

  • 200+ ranking factors
  • RankBrain
  • Inbound links
  • On-page content: Fulfilling a searcher’s query
  • PageRank
  • Domain Authority
  • Structured markup: Schema
  • Engagement
  • Domain, subdomain, & page-level signals
  • Content relevance
  • Searcher proximity
  • Reviews
  • Business citation spread and consistency

SERP features

  • Rich snippets
  • Paid results
  • Universal results
    • Featured snippets
    • People Also Ask boxes
  • Knowledge Graph
  • Local Pack
  • Carousels

Chapter 3: Keyword Research

Next, know what to say and how to say it. ↓

How to judge the value of a keyword

The search demand curve

  • Fat head
  • Chunky middle
  • Long tail

Four types of searches:

  • Transactional queries
  • Informational queries
  • Navigational queries
  • Commercial investigation

Fulfilling user intent

Keyword research tools:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Google Trends
  • AnswerThePublic
  • SpyFu
  • SEMRush

Keyword difficulty

Keyword abuse

Content strategy {link to the Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing}


Chapter 4: On-Page SEO

Next, structure your message to resonate and get it published. ↓

Keyword usage and targeting

Keyword stuffing

Page titles:

  • Unique to each page
  • Accurate
  • Be mindful of length
  • Naturally include keywords
  • Include branding

Meta data/Head section:

  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords tag
    • No longer a ranking signal
  • Meta robots

Meta descriptions:

  • Unique to each page
  • Accurate
  • Compelling
  • Naturally include keywords

Heading tags:

  • Subtitles
  • Summary
  • Accurate
  • Use in order

Call-to-action (CTA)

  • Clear CTAs on all primary pages
  • Help guide visitors through your conversion funnels

Image optimization

  • Compress file size
  • File names
  • Alt attribute
  • Image titles
  • Captioning
  • Avoid text in an image

Video optimization

  • Transcription
  • Thumbnail
  • Length
  • “~3mo to YouTube” method

Anchor text

  • Descriptive
  • Succinct
  • Helps readers

URL best practices

  • Shorter is better
  • Unique and accurate
  • Naturally include keywords
  • Go static
  • Use hyphens
  • Avoid unsafe characters

Structured data

  • Microdata
  • RFDa
  • JSON-LD
  • Schema
  • Social markup
    • Twitter Cards markup
    • Facebook Open Graph tags
    • Pinterest Rich Pins

Structured data types

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Reviews
  • Events
  • Business information
  • People
  • Mobile apps
  • Recipes
  • Media content
  • Contact data
  • Email markup

Mobile usability

  • Beyond responsive design
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
  • Google mobile-friendly test
  • Bing mobile-friendly test

Local SEO

  • Business citations
  • Entity authority
  • Local relevance

Complete NAP on primary pages

Low-value pages


Chapter 5: Technical SEO

Next, translate your site into Google’s language. ↓

Internal linking

  • Link positioning
  • Anchor links

Common search engine protocols

  • Sitemaps
    • Mobile
    • News
    • Image
    • Video
  • XML
  • RSS
  • TXT

Robots

  • Robots.txt
    • Disallow
    • Sitemap
    • Crawl Delay
  • X-robots
  • Meta robots
    • Index/noindex
    • Follow/nofollow
  • Noimageindex
  • None
  • Noarchive
  • Nocache
  • No archive
  • No snippet
  • Noodp/noydir
  • Log file analysis
  • Site speed
  • HTTP/2
  • Crawl errors

Duplicate content

  • Canonicalization
  • Pagination

What is the DOM?

  • Critical rendering path
  • Help robots find the most important code first

Hreflang/Targeting multiple languages

Chrome DevTools

Technical site audit checklist


Chapter 6: Establishing Authority

Finally, turn up the volume. ↓

Link signals

  • Global popularity
  • Local/topic-specific popularity
  • Freshness
  • Social sharing
  • Anchor text
  • Trustworthiness
    • Trust Rank
  • Number of links on a page
  • Domain Authority
  • Page Authority
  • MozRank

Competitive backlinks

  • Backlink analysis

The power of social sharing

  • Tapping into influencers
  • Expanding your reach

Types of link building

  • Natural link building
  • Manual link building
  • Self-created

Six popular link building strategies

  1. Create content that inspires sharing and natural links
  2. Ego-bait influencers
  3. Broken link building
  4. Refurbish valuable content on external platforms
  5. Get your customers/partners to link to you
  6. Local community involvement

Manipulative link building

  • Reciprocal link exchanges
  • Link schemes
  • Paid links
  • Low-quality directory links
  • Tiered link building
  • Negative SEO
  • Disavow

Reviews

  • Establishing trust
  • Asking for reviews
  • Managing reviews
  • Avoiding spam practices

Chapter 7: Measuring and Tracking SEO

Pivot based on what’s working. ↓

KPIs

  • Conversions
  • Event goals
  • Signups
  • Engagement
  • GMB Insights:
    • Click-to-call
    • Click-for-directions
  • Beacons

Which pages have the highest exit percentage? Why?

Which referrals are sending you the most qualified traffic?

Pivot!

Search engine tools:

  • Google Search Console
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • GMB Insights

Appendix A: Glossary of Terms

Appendix B: List of Additional Resources

Appendix C: Contributors & Credits


What did you struggle with most when you were first learning about SEO? What would you have benefited from understanding from the get-go?

Are we missing anything? Any section you wish wouldn’t be included in the updated Beginner’s Guide? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Thanks in advance for contributing.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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