Sex, Speed And The SEO Migration of Romantic Depot to WordPress

Romantic Depot operates six, soon to be seven adult stores offering sex toys and lingerie, in the New York City area.  Their flagship stores are in Manhattan and the Bronx.  They’ve been around for sometime and over the years their website aged along with other businesses seeking to help drive local foot traffic.

With the move to mobile devices in full demonstration the old RomanticDepot.com site was not responsive.  This lead the owner of the chain to build a new site that was mobile friendly and it lead to Ultimate SEO‘s involvement overseeing the process of migrating to this new site without hurting the site’s strong local SEO presence.

Romantic Depot does have an impressive keyword positioning presence in the New York City area. Even nationally they are on page 2 of results for “sex shop“.  The goal was to ensure a smooth transition to the mobile site while maintaining the SEO that had been built over the years.

301 Redirects

The new site was largely a 1 to 1 ratio.  The html static page manhattan.html went now to /manhattan/ on the WordPress site.  We placed in any one off redirects, a redirect that took any url that ended in .html and would return it without the html and a redirect for the index.html homepage to come back with the WordPress homepage at /

Backlink

Backlinks are the life blood of a sit’s ranking and it was important to ensure that those would be maintained with relevant content as well.  Using SEMRush.com we collected all of the backlinks and their existing targets and ensured those had rules as well.  While the site’s backlinks were in the tens of thousands it quick came down to a few hundred target urls that needed to be accounted for to maintain SEO.

Site Speed

Most of the work involved in preparing for the migration was speed performance in nature.  The new site when tested on GTMetrix.com was loading in 12.6 seconds with over 400 http requests. We targeted a 3 second load and through Cloudflare.com we were able to utilize a CDN that brought the site closer to users as well as offered other benefits.  Cloudflare alone brough the site load time to about 7 seconds.

We further limited content that could be on other pages for those other pages such as Google maps to the location homepages. Instituting lazy load ended up being the primary aspect of speeding up the site.  Image optimization was also completed and a move to PHP7.3 from 5.6.  Merging CSS and JS files also worked to reduce the requests.

SIte Speed FOr SEO MIgration

SIte Speed FOr SEO MIgration

With our work to provide a faster site complete the migration was completed and load times on the site are under 3 seconds for mobile users.

Multi Domain Strategy Consolidation

During the migration I also mentioned the value of building one brand.  RomanticDepotSuperStore.com was the site used as the online store for the chain.

The problem that arises from multiple domain strategies is the segmentation of resources and confusion it can cause to Google Analytics.  An easy eample of this is the bounce rate and pageviews metrics are actually hurt on the primary domain.

Consider this… a person searches romantic depot on Google.  The first result is their site, likely the person is going to want to know what items might be at the store.  Once the page loads they find the link to the store, maybe even before the page loads.  Clicking that link they are now taken to a new domain.

That visitors actions would have counted as a bounced visitor.  See when someone goes to your site and immediately leaves for another site that signals to Google that what was on that original site wasn’t what the searcher wanted.  To prevent future searchers from going to a site that people leave directly after going to it they might increase the position of other sites to try and correct for this in the future.  That ultimately means the top spot position for the keyword is being hampered by the site’s structure.

Further Google sees that a person wasn’t even interested enough in the site to look at a second page, they just left.  In realty the second site is part of the same overall topic or brand its just that Google doesn’t necessarily understand that.  An artificially inflated bounce rate and lower page views are all that the first site is getting and the second site is losing out as well as most of the marketing is surrounding the first site’s address…backlinks, social mentions and such.

Lower Bounce Rate

The illustration above shows our page views of the main root domain.  Guess when on the graph the romanticdepotsuperstore.com site was rolled into the main domains … late July.  The thing is, the traffic isn’t any greater its just not split up anymore.  The homepage link to the store is now going to a subfolder of the same domain, its helping by acting as another page view rather than hurting the site as a bounce.

The keywords and authority of this additional site were better utilized under the main domain RomanticDepot.com and this site was migrated to a subfolder /store as a separate WordPress site.

Thats important the site was migrated as a separate site under the original.  This was done for multiple reason and it creates its own set of unique challenges but we’ll discuss that later in a future post.

Consolidated Backlinks

The consolidation of the sites further helps with SEO because after we migrated we put into place redirects from the store’s domain to its new home within the subfolder.  That means all the backlinks now combine to help one site.  Lets consider the following illustration…

Domain A: DA 30 Backlinks: 10,000 Referring Domains: 1,000

Domain B: DA 30 Backlinks: 9,000 Referring Domains: 900

Competitor: DA 35 Backlinks: 13,000 Referring Domains: 1,300

Lets assume everything else is the same…we’d expect then that Competitor will rank higher on Google Search.  But if we combine Domain A ad Domain B.

Domain AB: DA 40 Backlinks: 19,000 Referring Domains: 1,900

Everything else still the same….Domain AB will now rank higher than the Competitor.

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https://ultimateseo.org/sex-speed-and-seo-migration/

WordPress SEO Security Settings For WP Cerber

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WordPress SEO Security Settings For WP Cerber

WordPress SEO Security Settings For WP Cerber

Article Name
WordPress SEO Security Settings For WP Cerber
Description
WordPress plugin settings and suggestions using WP Cerber, a Wordfence alternative. Security And SEO Go Hand And Hand Today In Ensuring A Site’s Google Ranking And Index-ability.
Matthew Leffler
Ultimate SEO
Ultimate SEO LLC
https://ultimateseo.org/wp-content/uploads/ultimateseoimpactsm.png

https://ultimateseo.org/wordfence-alternative-seo-security-wordpress/

SEO And Migrations: Matt Cutts On Changing Domain Names

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Changing your website’s domain name
Description

Keeping your domain name but moving to a new IP address?

https://ultimateseo.org/seo-and-migrations-matt-cutts/

Search Engine Ranking: Website Ranking Keywords Backlinks And All

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Search Engine Ranking: Website Ranking Keywords Backlinks And All

What A CDN Can Mean For Your SEO

Almost everyone has heard of the importance of site speed, even the average blogger with lackluster technical skills. In a previous article we did a comparison between two domains and found speed was the likely signal pushing one site above another in mobile searches.

Google wants to provide sites that users will actually use. You may have the absolute best content but if it takes over 3 seconds to load your page its a big problem for ranking.

  • Each 1 second delay reduces page views by 11%
  • Each 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%
  • Each 1 second delay decreases 7% of conversion rate
  • For a store doing $100,000 a day a 1 second delay means $2.5 million in lost sales.
  • Google uses page load speed to help determine your sites rank.

CDNs are great resources to speed up your page speed load times. Think of it like this … if you’re a pharmacy and you have one location for the whole world people are going to have to travel great distances for your products. But if you open a pharmacy in every state people can just go to the nearest location to get all of your webpages and no one has to travel that far. This is a CDN a Content Delivery Network.

The expense of having 50 servers in 50 states is likely too much for most websites. A CDN steps in and provides the infrastructure for us to share with others.

Here are a few common questions site owners ask in regard to CDNs:

  • “What is a CDN?”
  • “What are the benefits of a CDN?”
  • “Do I still need to purchase hosting if I have a CDN?”
  • “Does my site need a CDN?”

We’re going to go over what a CDN is and thoroughly explain the important role this technology plays in the modern web.

We’ll also briefly touch base on the differences between your web server and a CDN before placing our focus on who does and does not need this technology implemented on their website.

What is a CDN?

Here’s the technical definition of a CDN, or at least a paraphrased version of it. A CDN, which stands for Content Delivery Network, is a global network of servers that deliver content to visitors of a website based on where that visitor is located.

You need to understand how regular web hosting works in order to understand this definition as well as the importance of it. In a typical web hosting environment, all of the traffic running to your website gets sent to your host’s web server, the one you installed your site on and the one that holds its data.

This often results in a slower website for all visitors as that single server struggles to stay afloat among the surge of traffic it receives on a regular basis. It can even leave your site vulnerable to DDoS attacks. Why is this bad? Here are a few quick facts to help you understand the importance of having your site run as quickly and reliably as possible:

  • Google made site speed a ranking factor in as early as 2010. [Source: Search Engine Land]
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. [Source: Kissmetrics via Akamai and Gomez.com]
  • 40% of consumers abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. [Source: Kissmetrics via Akamai and Gomez.com]
  • 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the same site again. [Source: Kissmetrics via Akamai and Gomez.com]
  • 52% of online shoppers state quick page loading is important to their site loyalty. [Source: Kissmetrics via Akamai and Gomez.com]
  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. [Source: Kissmetrics via Akamai and Gomez.com]

This, obviously, leads us to our next question.

What are the benefits of a CDN?

The most obvious and most important benefit of a CDN is an increase in site speed for all users of your website no matter where they’re located in the world. When you implement a CDN on your website, you’re distributing access to it to what are known as “proxy servers” located all around the world.

Let’s say the web server you purchased from your host is located in New York and you do notuse a CDN. In this environment, a visitor from Australia would need to load all of the static content on your website, which are your images, CSS stylesheets, and JavaScript files, from New York, which can take quite a bit of time.

If you use a CDN, your Australian user would be able to load that static content from a server that’s closest to them, maybe even in the same country depending on the CDN service you decide to go with. This will allow them to load the page in a much quicker manner.

Your server is orange and other servers keep copies of your site so they are closer to users.

You can see how this works in the illustration above. You still have your “origin server,” which is storing your WordPress installation and database, but you also have your “replicated web-server clusters,” which store your site’s static content. Again, static content are images, videos, CSS stylesheets, and JavaScript files.

The origin server is located toward the south of North America in the illustration above while the replicated web-server clusters are located in six continents around the world. You can see how the “user” icons demonstrate how users are served static content from the replicated web servers closest to them instead.

The impact? Some sites report seeing a decrease of more than 50% in the amount of time it takes for their site to load after implementing a CDN. [Source: KeyCDN]

If you’re still having a tough time figuring out how this technology makes your website faster, think of it like a highway:

  • The main lane is your origin server.
  • The additional lanes are your replicated web servers.
  • The cars are the users visiting your website.

Without those additional lanes, all of the cars on the road need to use the main lane. This will eventually result in a traffic jam as more and more cars fill the lane. Traffic will start to slow before the flow stops altogether after the lane becomes too congested.

If you open those additional lanes, cars will be able to distribute themselves among them rather than relying on a single lane. This will allow them to move at a much quicker pace, and they’ll get to their destination a lot faster than they would have if they were all using the same lane.

CDN Speeding Up

In other words, having your users load static content from a server that’s closest to where they’re located will allow each and every one of them to load your website much quicker than they’d be able to if they were all loading that content from the same server.

I’ve seen this site swing 20 to 30 places in it rankings…and you can over take better content with a faster site if the other site is slow.

Check out some CDNs for your site…

  • Maxcdn
  • Sucuri
  • Swarmify
  • Jetpack – Not recommended
  • Cloudflare – not exactly a CDN but similar
  • keycdn.com
  • rackspace
  • AWS Cloudfront
  • CDN Enabler
  • Cloudinary

We can review some of these in another post soon.

What A CDN Can Mean For Your SEO

Is A Site Low Level? DA vs CF vs TF … DR, DS, AS, TS and more!

What to do with a low ranking site?

I was asked a seemingly simple question by a client today. Should low level sites he owns be scrapped and used for their backlinks by 301 redirecting the sites.

Simplest Answer: I think it’s hard to quantify if a site is low level.

Ultimateseo.org has a DA 19, that seems pretty low. But keep in mind it used to be a DA 40 before Moz changed it’s scoring. Keep also in mind that change in scoring showed no reflection in the site’s ranking. I recommend 301 redirecting based on anchor text not necessarily on the score a site earns.

Longer Answer: What backlinks should be 301 redirected from another domain?

While it is a Domain Authority 19 now it is a CF 34, and a TF 14. It has a DR 45, and a DS 24, TS 22, AS 36 ….. head spinning yet? As a reminder here are what those abbreviations mean … and to whom.

SEO Metrics

  • DA is Domain Authority created by Moz
  • CF is Citation Flow created by Majestic
  • TF is Trust Flow created by Majestic
  • DR is Domain Rank created by AHREFS
  • DS is Domain Score created by SEMRush
  • TS is Trust Score by SEMRush
  • AS is Authority Score by SEMRush

DA is Unreliable To Me

The DA metric lost a lot of credence in my mind when they redid their formula, it made it more obvious that it’s just a number in a vacuum. What we saw after Moz released DA2.0 was as a DA40 became a DA19 it wasn’t reflective by what Google saw.

The day before this site ranked as it did the day after DA2.0. Google doesn’t use DA and what we care about is what does Google think about a site.

So Id say if we want to redirect 301 links we can …. and I do. But I do it because the anchor text is what I want, not because a site’s DA is low.

Assessing A Site’s SEO Value

When we assess if a site is high or low we have to consider all of the SEO metrics we have available and use these numbers together. Keep in mind they are not intended to be apples to apples. For instance Citation Flow is how influential a site appears where Trust Flow and Trust Score are meant to tell us how trustworthy a site is considered. AS is Authority Score which I lump in with CF. I think of DA, DR and DS as comparable metrics.

So assessing if this site is low or high I’d say we have the following metrics:

Overall scores: DA: 19 DR: 45 DS: 24

Trustworthiness: TF: 14 TS: 22

Authority: AS: 36 CF: 34

It’s also important to look at some of the raw indicators to understand the values we are seeing above. I use Majestic, SEMRush And Moz to answer these questions, and I always expect Majestic to have higher numbers because it crawls more of the web than Moz.

Moz likely would say they crawl more of the relevant web … but who are they to decide whats relevant and I dont care what they think is relevant … just what Google crawls.

Backlinks: So how many links to my site are there?

Backlinks . Moz: 18445 Majestic: 139903 SEMRush 1000000*

Backlinks are fine and dandy but keep in mind a million from one website vs a hundred from a hundred sites says something. So what is the “Domain Pop” … how many domains link to our site?

Domain Pop: MAJ 1302 SEMRush: 4,000

Domains can be owned and operated easily from the same cheap shared host. So how many seperate IP Addresses link to our site?

IP Pop: SEMRush 885 Majestic 905

These numbers above 885 and 905 seem a lot more comparable to each other than some of the other numbers.

Now consider a site that may have a DA: 50 vs Ultimate SEO’s DA: 19. I’m willing to bet 9 times out of 10 Ultimate SEO will out rank the other site as long as the other site has 500 or less domains on different IP addresses.

Better Backlinks and Best Backlinks

Trustworthy

Now to be fair this explanation above is overly simplifying the answer. You may wonder how that could be … it seems rather complicated. Well ask yourself which site would you rank higher … a site that has a link to it from 20 research universities or a site that has 200 links to it from random weirdly named domains? Obviously the 20 research universities suggests a more authoritative and trustworthy site.

Authority On The Topic

But getting more complicated what if the page we are considering for ranking is about 2000 dance mixes. The 20 research universities are all medical schools and the anchor text reads “open heart surgery mortality rates” … do we think that the site should rank that high now…and how authoritative do we think the site is on dance remixes of 2000?

301 Backlinks Based On Backlinks Not Your Domain

So the best answer I can give for when to 301 redirect a domain or not is to ignore any one metric completely. If multiple numbers lead you to believe a site isn’t going to be good then sure consider each backlink individually. Keeping in mind what earned the site a low metric across the board IS mostly those backlinks.

If you find a .gov or .edu link using the anchor text you are after on another site then yes … thats the time to 301 redirect that backlink to the best content you have that is relevant to that anchor text. That last part is essential.

You can’t expect long term gains by redirecting a backlink to content that isn’t able to hold its own. User behavior is a big factor in Google’s ranking of a site. And it should be, you can’t prevent what you cant predict.

After all is said and done if no one stays on a site for more than 10 seconds or if they always click the result after yours in Google’s search results you must ask yourself why users hate your content.

And I mean it … people hate your content if you have 301 redirected, optimized your on page and studied your backlinks but users still go elsewhere. Google may rank you high for a time but without users liking your content and staying for awhile you will drop in rankings due to user behavior.

Is A Site Low Level? DA vs CF vs TF … DR, DS, AS, TS and more!

Hiring An SEO? Hear From Google What SEOs Do

Hire An SEO

This Google video “How to hire an SEO” isn’t new but it’s to the point and vital to setting expectations.  I encourage both SEOs and clients to watch this video and learn what Google says you should look for in an SEO.

How to hire an SEO

[embedded content]
Transcript
hi I’m Maile Ohye and I work with Google
search I like to share advice to help
you hire a useful SEO and prevent hiring
a bad SEO one who you might pay a lot of
money without positive results or even
worse one who implements shady practices
on your website that result in a
reduction in search rankings SEO stands
for search engine optimization – some
SEO seems like black magic having worked
with Google search for over a decade
what I’ve learned is that first it’s not
black magic and second if you want
long-term success
there aren’t any quick magical tricks
that an SEO will provide so that your
site ranks number one it’s important to
note that an SEO potential is only as
high as the quality of your business or
website so successful SEO helps your
website put your best foot forward so
that it ranks appropriately in the spot
where an unbiased potential customer
would expect your site to be seen
a successful SEO also looks to improve
the entire searcher experience from
search results to clicking on your
website and potentially converting a
good SEO will recommend best practices
for a search friendly site from basic
things like descriptive page titles for
a blog or small business to more complex
things like language markup for a
multilingual global site SEO is ensure
that you’re serving your online
customers a good experience especially
those coming from a search engine and
that your site is helpful whether
they’re using a desktop computer or
mobile phone in most cases the SEO will
need four months to a year to help your
business first implement improvements
and then see potential benefit my
strongest advice when working with an
SEO is to request if they corroborate
their recommendation with a documented
statement from Google either in a Help
Center article video or Google a
response in a forum that supports both
one the SEO description of the issue
that needs to be improved to help with
ranking and to the approach they
prescribed to accomplishing this
tasks requesting these two bits of
information will help prevent hiring a
poor SEO who might otherwise convince
you to do useless things like add more
words to the keyword meta tag or by
links because if you search for google
advice on this topic you’d see blog
posts and videos from us that clearly
explain that adding keywords to the meta
tag wouldn’t help furthermore while
google uses links for page rank our
documentation highlights that we
strongly advise against the approach of
buying links for the purpose of
increasing page rank one basic rule is
that in a majority of cases doing what’s
good for SEO is also doing what’s good
for your online customers things like
having a mobile-friendly website good
navigation and building a great brand
additionally if you’re a more
established brand with complicated
legacy systems then good search friendly
best practices likely involved paying
off some of your site’s technical debt
such as updating your infrastructure so
that your website is agile and able to
implement features faster in the long
term if you own a small local business
you can probably do the initial work
yourself check out our 30-minute video
series on how to build an online
presence for your local business now if
you still believe you want to hire an
SEO here’s a general process one conduct
a two way interview with your potential
SEO check that they seem generally
interested in you and your business to
check their references three act four
and you’ll probably have to pay for a
technical and search audit 4 decide if
you want to hire let’s break this down
and start with step 1 conduct a two-way
interview in the interview here are some
things to look for a good SEO doesn’t
focus only on search engine ranking but
how they can help your business so they
should ask questions like what makes
your business content and/or service
unique and therefore valuable to
customers they want to know this
information to make sure it’s
highlighted on your website for your
current and potential new audience
– what does your common customer look
like and how do they currently find your
website 3 how does your business make
money and how can search help for what
other channels are you using offline
advertising social networks 5 who are
your competitors what do they do well
online and potentially offline if the
SEO doesn’t seem interested in learning
about your business from a holistic
standpoint look elsewhere it’s difficult
to do good SEO without knowing about a
business’s goals their customers and
other existing marketing efforts SEO
should complement your existing work the
second step in hiring an SEO is to check
references if your potential SEO
provides prior clients be sure to check
their references you want to hear from
past clients that the SEO was able to
provide useful guidance and worked
effectively with their developers
designers UX researchers and our
marketers a good SEO should feel like
someone you can work with learn from
experiment with and who generally cares
about you and your business not just
getting your site the highest rank as
ultimately those techniques rarely last
long if they work at all they’ll want to
educate you and your staff on how search
engines work so that SEO becomes part of
your general business operations step 3
is to request a technical and search
audit if you trust your SEO candidate
give them restricted view not full or
right access to your Google search
console data and even your analytics
data before they actually modify
anything on your website have them
conduct a technical and search audit to
give you a prioritized list of what they
think should be improved for SEO if
you’re a larger business you can hire
multiple SEO to run audits and
prioritize improvements see what each
has to say and then determine who you
could work with the best in the audit
the SEO should prioritize improvements
with a structure like one the issue to
the suggested improvement 3 an estimate
on the overall investment in other words
the time energy or money it would take
for your developers to implement the
improvement and for Google search as
well as searchers and customers to
recognize the improvement the SEO will
need to talk with your developers to
better understand what technical
constraints may exist for the estimated
positive business impact the impact
might be a ranking improvement that will
lead to more visitors and conversions or
perhaps the positive impact comes from a
back-end change that cleans up your site
and helps your brand be more agile in
the future five a plan of how to iterate
and improve on the implementation or
perhaps how to experiment and fail fast
should the results not meet expectations
that covers the structure of the
technical and search audit now let’s
talk about each of these audits
individually in the technical audit your
SEO should be able to review your site
for issues related to internal linking
crawl ability URL parameters server
connectivity and response codes to name
some if they mention that your site has
duplicate content problems that need to
be corrected make sure they show you the
specific URLs that are competing for the
same query or that they explained it
should be cleaned up for long term site
health not initial growth I mention this
because lots of duplicate content exists
on web sites and often it’s not a
pressing problem in this search audit
your potential SEO will likely break
down your search queries into categories
like branded and unbranded terms branded
terms are those with your business or
website’s name like a search for Gmail
is a branded term while the search for
email is an unbranded or general keyword
an SEO should make sure that for branded
queries such as Gmail your website is
providing a great experience that allows
customers who know your brand or website
to easily find exactly what they need
and potentially convert they might
recommend improvements that help the
entire searcher experience from what the
searcher sees in search results to when
they click on a result and use your
website for unbranded queries an SEO can
help you
better make sense of the online
competitive landscape they can tell you
things like here are the types of
queries it would make sense for your
business to rank but here’s what your
competition is done and why I think they
rank where they do for instance perhaps
your competition has great reviews
really shareable content or they run a
highly reputable site an SEO will
provide recommendations for how to
improve rankings for these queries and
the entire searcher experience they’ll
introduce ideas like update obsolete
content they might say your site is
suffering because some of your well
ranking content is obsolete has poor
navigation a useless page title or isn’t
mobile-friendly let’s improve these
pages and see if more website visitors
convert and purchase or if they can
micro convert meaning that perhaps they
subscribe or share content improve
internal linking your SEO might say your
site is suffering because some of your
best articles are too far from the
homepage and users would have a hard
time finding it we can better internally
link to your content to feature it more
prominently generate buzz the SEO might
say you have great content but not
enough people know we can try to get
more user interaction and generate buzz
perhaps through social media or business
relationships this will help us attract
more potential customers and perhaps
garner natural links to your site learn
from the competition your SEO might
explain here’s what your competitors do
well
can you reach parity with this and
potentially surpass them in utilities or
can you better show customers your
business’s unique value again a good SEO
will try to prioritize what ideas can
bring your business the most improvement
for the least investment and what
improvements may take more time but help
growth in the long term
once they talk with you and other
members of your team such as developers
or marketers they’ll help your business
forge a path ahead the last thing I want
to mention is that when I talk with SEO
s one of the biggest holdups to
improving away
site isn’t there recommendation but it’s
the business making time to implement
their ideas if you’re not ready to
commit to making SEO improvements while
getting an SEO audit may be helpful make
sure that your entire organization is on
board else your SEO improvements may be
non-existent regardless of who you hire
so that wraps it up thanks for watching
and best of luck to you and your
business

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Hiring An SEO? Hear From Google What SEOs Do