What To Do With Your Political Site After The Election

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Louisville Cloud – SEO – Web Design

Its something farthest from your mind, I’m sure.  If you’re working for a political campaign you’re pushing forward and the next 5 weeks are all out war ahead.  What to do with your campaign site after the election?  Heck I suspect some of you are just now getting around to your website, or many feel it hasn’t helped in the past so no need to worry.  You’d be wrong if you fall into either of those mindsets, if you’re the diligent one you’ll find the rewards are like a garden.

I started renting a house in my hometown after returning from Chicago and suddenly I found I had room to grow things. I wanted hydrangeas so I planted 14 or so … it took a lot of them to make a show at a gallon a plant. We also planted a grapevine.  Not much happened though, and I could have easily given up after the summer, just ignore them…but they were never going to be mature in one season.  A grapevine takes 3 years before it produces grapes, I learned hydrangeas were “old” wood and new growth wouldn’t come from new plant life.  If you get where I’m going, I’ll stop with the gardening story.  You’re website will not produce fruit in its first couple months.

Domain age actually has both a direct and indirect effect on your ranking.  For one, a website thats been up and running since the last election has had links from other sites organically made, not a ton if you just leave it sitting there but definitely more than if you take it down and just hold on to the domain.  In a previous post I mentioned it takes 3 to 6 months to rank a site, you’ll be a step further if you just leave it up and alone.  (Best not alone, maybe post a new article every couple months.)

Domain Age directly affects your Trust Factor/Citation Factor and your Domain Authority which in turn suggest that your Google standing next election cycle is going to be improved as well.  And stop thinking your target keyword is your name, if someone is Googling your name they’ve already heard of you. Take the big terms like election results, voter guide or the other candidate’s name.

Take seandelahanty.com and judgeseandelahanty.com the first is younger but it has 70 times the backlinks and its been updated religiously, has the social media mentions, it has the content.  The first address is a Domain Authority 23 and the older one is a Domain Authority 2! Its still neck and neck in some searches.  Just today I Googled the candidates name the older one comes up 3rd and the real site thats 2 months old, has 10+ times the domain authority that site is 6th. Here is a representation of how much weight domain age may have, I link to the case study below.  Oh and BTW the new site is actually doing pretty good I think. Page 1 ranking on 45 keywords on Google…100 ranked keywords altogether. But back to the point…

what goes into a ranking

what goes into a ranking

Now let me clear the air though, no matter how old your domain is and consistently you’ve had a site up…if the content isn’t any good its a lost opportunity.  So do make an effort to convey your continued message through your site and when you run for the next office you’re site will be that much more ready.  Final note here, there are a ton of opinions out there on domain age, but no one would disagree a site thats up and updated periodically is more likely to gain backlinks.

SO Just get a cheap web hosting plan and post every few months, don’t just take it down and box it up till a month before the next election.  For further reading on domain authority a case study.  Id recommend that article, it goes over several factors.

And I can tell you one person who’s still got her site up…signs of the times.

clinton

clinton

https://www.matthewleffler.com/what-to-do-with-your-political-site-after-the-election/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-to-do-with-your-political-site-after-the-election

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An Article Worth A Second Read

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Louisville Cloud – SEO – Web Design

So I was cleaning up some posts on Sean Delahanty’s site and making them fresh for folks when I ran across this often missed and misunderstood posting of a WDRD story.  Sean Delahanty and the controversy with jailing everyone for everything.

The issue can kinda be boiled down to this …

If you are arrested you are innocent until proven guilty. Thats our rule of law. Now LMPD and prosecutors feel that if the police arrest you, you are guilty and you should only get bail if they (the police think you shouldnt be there…which why would they bring them there if they didnt think they were guilty?) But these two statements cant both be true…

officers
LMPD officers arrested following allegations of rape of underage minors.

Or how about the guy who was a suburban police chief who said just shot the black people.

Racist Chief

Racist Chief

SO police arrested those police officers…so they must be guilty?  And this racist says shooting black people is cool…even the County Attorney had to agree the police were wrong on that one. But then …. see its a paradox.

Now I’m not saying that LMPD officers are normally like these three…but I am saying they are human, and capable of good and bad.

They are not judge and jury ..thats why we have a judge and jury.  If you get the time read that long in depth article.

https://www.matthewleffler.com/an-article-worth-a-second-read/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=an-article-worth-a-second-read

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Cloudflare DNS and CDN With WordPress High Availability On Google Cloud

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Cloud502

Key Components & Services

There are two custom services running on the deployed machines that are essential for the solution to function properly. These services are ​gcs-sync ​(running on WordPress instances – both Admin and Content) and ​cloudsql-proxy​ (running on the SQL Proxy instances).

The ​gcs-sync​ service runs a script ​/opt/c2d/downloads/gcs-sync​ that, depending on the role the VM is assigned (Content or Admin), will check in with the GCS bucket tied to the deployment and determine if content needs to be pushed to or pulled from GCS. If you need to interact with the service, you can do so via ​systemctl​. For example:

systemctl stop gcs​-​sync

will kill the script checking GCS, and the node will not receive any updates that come from the Administrator Node. Conversely, if the service needs to be started you can do so with the following command:

systemctl start gcs​-​sync

The ​cloudsql-proxy​ service makes use of the ​Cloud SQL Proxy​ binary so you can connect to your Cloud SQL instance without having to whitelist IP addresses, which can change when instances are deleted and recreated in a Managed Instance Group. The Cloud SQL binary is located at ​/opt/c2d/downloads/cloud_sql_proxy​ and the script that executes the binary is located at ​/opt/c2d/downloads/cloudsql-proxy​. Like the service that runs ​gcs-sync​, it can be interacted with using ​systemctl​. Stopping the service can be done with:

systemctl stop cloudsql​-​proxy

At this point your instance will not be able to communicate with the Cloud SQL instance, and the application will not function. If you needed to manually start the service for any reason you can do so with the following command:

systemctl start cloudsql​-​proxy

Cloudflare DNS and CDN With WordPress High Availability On Google Cloud

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Study Reviews Success Of Website Technology And Congressional Wins

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Hindsight is 20/20 and given the findings of the report below every campaign in 2016’s house races in the study, who relied solely on Facebook pages to represent their campaign’s online presence, would likely build a WordPress site now.  No one who had just a Facebook presence won in 2016.

There are a lot of reasons this could be true, but one fact remains … Do you want to replicate the losers in the last cycle?  Visit my Political SEO site to learn more about what I have done for campaigns and candidates in 2018.

Reposted Article, original source at bottom of article.

Every year I analyze the use of websites in political races across the country. This year there were more candidates with websites than I’d noticed in the past. That’s a good thing, in my opinion – the web is an ever-increasing way to reach your audience at a much lower cost base than sending mailers or printing signs and flyers. And while those other methods shouldn’t be ignored, the web is, in my opinion, the way forward!

What follows is my analysis of websites used by candidates in various races across Pennsylvania – mostly from the race for Governor and the various races for US House of Representatives. I analyzed 40 websites in total, through which I found candidates employing 5 major web platforms, in order of the most prevalent.

Data was taken from the PA Secretary of state an is the official posted election result counts. Additionally, the websites listed here were those registered when the candidate applied to run for office. Of course, there are many more candidates who did not declare his or her website to the Secretary of State, and those websites were not included in this analysis.

Political Candidate Website Types

WordPress was the most prevalent website system used among the sites analyzed making up 42.5% of all websites, followed by regular HTML sites at 37.5%. The remaining 20% were composed of NationBuilder sites, Facebook, and Twitter. I think it’s important to note that while Facebook and Twitter aren’t actually full websites, the candidates in those cases, 4 in total, decided to forego a traditional website in favor of marketing the campaign only through social media networks. In a moment, I’ll discuss how those campaigns fared.

CandidateSEO.com is Matt Leffler’s Political SEO Site

Political Website Effectiveness

There are literally dozens of ways to rate the effectiveness of a website. You can look at length and type of content on the website, format and structure, or even a more subjective analysis like colors used or artistic flair. I was more interested in the bottom line – the win!

So the next analysis I ran was a win/loss ratio by website type being used in the races. As you can see in the chart below, WordPress has the highest win / loss ratio with 11 wins to only 5 losses. HTML is close behind with 9 wins and 5 losses. These two website types make up all the wins, while the candidates who used other website types, namely NationBuilder, Facebook, and Twitter, experienced only losses.

You’ll notice that the WordPress website count for the purposes of this analysis drops from 17 to 16. This is due to one candidate dropping from the race, so for purposes of wins/losses it does not factor in.

Campaign SItes

Campaign SItes

Website Type Match-Ups

It is also helpful to note here that in some cases, candidate websites analyzed were used in races running against each other. For example, the 15 HTML sites were used across 10 races. That means, in some cases, a candidate with an HTML site was running off against another candidate with an HTML site. Of course, in political races there can be only one winner, with the other (or others) being the losers. Among the 17 WordPress sites, there were 4 common races – one of those races had 3 or more candidates – all with WordPress sites. What’s interesting to note here is that the only time a WordPress site associated with a losing candidate is when it ran against another candidate using a WordPress site also.

When candidates using a WordPress site ran against a candidate using any other type of website, the WordPress site was associated with the winner 100% of the time.

There were two instances of a direct match up between HTML sites and WordPress sites running against each other, and in each case the WordPress site was associated with the winning candidate.

Political SEO

Political SEO

A Closer Look at WordPress in Political Websites

With WordPress being used in such a high percentage of winning races I took a closer look at the types of WordPress websites being used by the candidates. The advantage of using a system like WordPress is its high extensibility, modular plugin-in features, and ease-of-use. It also offers the ability to quickly switch between free and stock templates and custom frameworks.

We saw two different types of frameworks being used:

  1. Full custom builds
  2. Premium Templates

A full custom build is one where the website is built from scratch. No stock template is employed, or if a template was employed it was modified to such an extent the website no longer looks reasonably like the original template. These are more complex websites with additional features added in, and likely done at a higher price point than the premium template scenario discussed below.

A premium template is a website that is created using a starter template that has the basic features already installed and styled. The candidate, or his/her developer, then went through the process of slightly modifying the template to the candidate’s needs. In these cases, the sites were not modified extensively and the original framework template would clearly be visible in the website structure.

WordPress Framework # Sites % Sites Wins Losses
Custom Framework 9 56% 7 2
Basic Template 7 44% 4 3
Totals 16 100% 11 5

In my analysis, candidates using WordPress chose to use full custom WordPress websites 56% of the time and premium templates 44% of the time. In terms of usage, the numbers are fairly close. But the results are not.

As you can see from the table above and the charts below, candidates using full custom websites experienced a much higher winning percentage. When full custom websites were employed, candidates won 78% of the time, whereas candidates using stock templates won only 57% of the time, a margin of more than 21%.

Political Site Technology

Political Site Technology

Political Candidate Websites Listing

The websites considered in this analysis are listed in the table below, along with the name of the candidate running and type of race. This list is accurate of 11/5/2015 while all the analyzed sites are still live and valid. They may at some point in the future come down. If the link doesn’t work that is likely the reason.

Tim Murphy US House of Representatives http://www.electtimmurphy.com
Matt Cartwright US House of Representatives http://cartwrightcongress.com
Doc Moylan US House of Representatives https://www.facebook.com/MoylanforCongress
Joe Pitts US House of Representatives http://joepittsforcongress.com
Tom Houghton US House of Representatives http://www.tomhoughton.org/
Charlie Dent US House of Representatives http://www.dentforcongress.com
Mike Doyle US House of Representatives http://www.mikedoyleforcongress.com
Allyson Schwartz US House of Representatives http://allysonschwartz.com
Brendan Boyle US House of Representatives http://voteboyle.com
Dee Adcock US House of Representatives http://www.adcockforcongress.com
Keith Rothfus US House of Representatives http://keithpa4.com
Erin McClelland US House of Representatives http://erin14.com
Lou Barletta US House of Representatives http://loubarletta.com
Andy Ostrowski US House of Representatives http://andyostrowski.com
Betsy Summers US House of Representatives https://www.facebook.com/betsy.summers1
Scott Brion US House of Representatives http://www.scottbrionforcongress.com
Nick Troiano US House of Representatives http://www.nicktroiano.com/
Bill Shuster US House of Representatives http://www.billshusterforcongress.com
Mike Fitzpatrick US House of Representatives https://www.fitzpatrickforcongress.com/
Kevin Strouse US House of Representatives http://www.kevinstrouse.com
Pat Meehan US House of Representatives http://www.meehanforcongress.com
Manan Trivedi US House of Representatives http://www.trivediforcongress.com
Glenn Thompson US House of Representatives http://www.friendsofglennthompson.com/#sthash.4MplqlUo.dpbs
Kerith Strano US House of Representatives http://www.kstforcongress.com/join?splash=1
Linda Thompson US House of Representatives http://www.lindathompsonforcongress2014.com/
Scott Perry US House of Representatives http://www.patriotsforperry.com
Mike Kelly US House of Representatives http://www.mikekellyforcongress.com
Dan LaVallee US House of Representatives http://danlavallee.com
Chaka Fattah US House of Representatives http://fattahforcongress.publishpath.com/
Armond James US House of Representatives https://twitter.com/Armond4Congress
Bob Brady US House of Representatives http://www.bobbrady.us
Megan Rath US House of Representatives http://www.meganforcongress.com
Pat Toomey US Senator http://toomeyforsenate.com
Tom Corbett Governor http://www.tomcorbettforgovernor.com/
Tom Wolf Governor http://wolfforpa.com
Mike Stack Lt. Governor http://www.stackforpa.com
Ken Krawchuk Governor http://kenk.org/
Rob McCord State Treasurer http://www.robmccord.com
Tom Lineweaver Governor https://www.facebook.com/tom.lineaweaver

It’s well-known that WordPress accounts for nearly 1 in 5 of every new website created around the world, but I was surprised to see that WordPress was being used in more than 40% of the open races analyzed here in Pennsylvania. I have no doubt the WordPress ratio will continue to climb in future elections as the platform becomes even more prevalent, and even easier to use.

https://www.matthewleffler.com/study-reviews-success-of-website-technology-and-congressional-wins/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=study-reviews-success-of-website-technology-and-congressional-wins

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SEO: How long does it take to rank #1 on Google?

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It Takes About 3 Months To 6 Months To Rank #1 On Google

In the world of politics everything seems to be able the last week of an election, after that its over.  In the business world you have to keep going after a certain defined date to remain in business.  Political SEO requires keeping in mind the business world because in Google ranking they are your biggest competitors and the other candidate is likely just as I was talking with a politico kind of friend in the last two days about the need in getting in contact with any campaigns for November now … he seemed puzzled and said we had three months and most campaigns are just starting.  That may be fine and dandy for yard signs and television commercials but online everything needs to be in place before you want it.  That means now.

I will grant you that Jefferson County Judge Executive isn’t a highly sought after keyword.  But then who is going to Google that keyword closer to the election?  If you thought that was the keyword for that office, you’d be wrong.  You need to stop thinking of proper nouns as good Google keywords.  I’ll pin a conversation about keywords at another time but for now focus on timing.

Its not too late to invest in search engine optimization and building an engaging site for voters.  It will be too late in October when you will wish you had.

https://www.matthewleffler.com/seo-how-long-does-it-take-to-rank-1-on-google/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seo-how-long-does-it-take-to-rank-1-on-google

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Campaign, Candidate And Political SEO: Optimize Or Be Trumped

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Cloud502

I say be “Trumped” because for all that he did wrong in tarditional campaigning, he did Political SEO better than anyone had before.

I’ve always been a political guy.  I love using technology to those political ends.  Earlier this year I was able to leverage my experience in SEO, Adwords, cloud computing, data analysis and web design for a political candidate. It’s why these unique products are bundled into what I offer through Upwork.  Today there is no excuse for a candidate to neglect digital media needs.  Local candidates can easily benefit from a solid online presence for much less than they might think.  The past experience with Brent Ackerson’s campaign was very encouraging.

I’ve started to reposition satellite sites made in March for a new project I’ll mention below.  VoteLouisville.com for instance is intended to be a voter education site for anyone who wants to post I just so happen to post all of the stuff there.  I have some further plans for louisvilleelection.com but those are all in my head.

All of these sites are hosted by my Google and Amazon cloud accounts, so that stuff has come in handy.  I hope to attract additional campaign work if not in 2018 by 2020.  I figured this new niche deserved a site so I’m working on candidateseo.com with a handful of .net names also headed there just for ease of use.

Candidate SEO

I said at the a campaign meeting that I felt radio and TV ads were as effective as yelling out a window.  I still feel that way, even more so each day.  In these meetings people point out I’m tech savy but others still watch TV … then I think of my 88 and 92 yr old grandparents who recently decided Netflix, Amazon and Hulu were all they needed.

My Grandmother is the idea focus for a campaign, everyone knows older people vote much more regularly and reliably than younger people. She has 29 children, grand children and great grand children.  Living in half a dozen states I think now.  Guess what that means…she’s on Digital mediums 29 times the amount you’d probably expect.

I’ve also explained to candidates that it is a growing trend for a voter to arrive on election day with one or two races already decided.  This voter is now faced with several other races on the same ballot and will likely reach for their phone and decide who to vote for with only minutes of searching for the office or candidates.  The results of these searches will ultimately decide these votes.  Interestingly the money needed for Political SEO and Campaign Site Digital Marketing, creating content with the candidate amounts to a fraction of what campaigns will spend on radio.

I’ve added Candidate SEO to my domain family because I figured I needed a site as unique as this niche.

Position, Position, Position Its Up To Campaign SEO

Real estate brokers say location, location, location.  Did you know that first position in Google search results gets about 35% of users focus but 3rd gets some where around 7%?  If one candidate SEOs their site and a negative site against the other unprepared candidate that could be the election.

Sean Delahanty

I’ll be focused these next months on politics and SEO again.  I’m excited that Judge Sean Delahanty has signed on board with me to help him get out his digital message.  I’ve only had a couple weeks to put into this but check out his new campaign site. There is method to the madness, Ive also create a sister site that serves as a funnel or over flow thats officially the campaign committee‘s site.

I dont want to give away much during a race, but when we search Sean’s name its already number one on Bing and Yahoo.  Google of course is the goal, and we are climbing … as an army of pages are indexing daily.  Last search I found 73 pages indexed for the site each with their own distinct keywords all climbing in ranking.   UPDATE:  Its 146 pages now … on one domain mind you, that started less than a month ago.  The social media presence is expansive, Ive left off some sites from this social media collage.

Social Media – Candidate SEO – “You’re going to be popularrr”

 Sean Delahanty Social Media

Most of you will look at this wall of profiles and think to yourself who is ever going to go to these?  If you did and you’re running for office send me an email…you need me.  These sites aren’t REALLY there to be read by people.  All of these sites are visited by search engines and these sites frame an image of a candidate to Google. All of these social media accounts ultimately end up at the campaign site, there is value in reaching voters … but you’ll reach voters if you are at the top of their searches.

I’ll post shortly about the positioning the sites are reaching.  If you are running for office in Louisville Kentucky and looking for what you dont know you need reach out to me.  Not convinced you need me?  What would you say is the least important phrase for me to ranking these pages for on Google?  If you aren’t thinking the candidates name you should email me.  I’ll explain after the election or ya best ask in person.

Future post I’ll explain why IP based Digital Marketing is so 2001!  Don’t do it…its technically and human behaviorally flawed.

Just in case anyone was worried I have not disclosed anything that someone can learn within a little bit of research concerning my candidate’s sites. All the secret sauce is still in the bottle.

Campaign, Candidate And Political SEO: Optimize Or Be Trumped

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SEO Backlinks: Guest Blogging Sites

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Cloud502

state-of-seo

state-of-seo

Search engine optimization is a competitive, ever-changing landscape that requires marketers to adapt fast.

Google changes its own algorithm up to 600 times every single year.

And according to Google itself, it has confirmed this in tweets, “each day, Google usually releases one or more changes…”

Keeping up with changes is extremely hard. But it’s also necessary if you want your organic traffic to be consistent and continue to improve.

You can’t be doing what worked five years ago today and expect the results to last forever.

With changes coming daily and significant updates in the works, SEO is, has and will keep changing as consumer behavior changes.

Google’s search engine is designed for the people, not for the marketers.

We can’t keyword stuff anymore and expect to rank number one.

Now meaningful experiences for users play a key role in success. Creating content that solves user problems faster and more efficiently.

As of late, Google has pumped out a few major changes to the way we conduct SEO practices in 2018 and beyond.

1. The mobile and page speed era is here

Just five years ago, mobile optimization was an afterthought.

You’d optimize your website with keyword-rich content, schema markup, and metadata.

Then, you’d dynamically update your mobile site to capture that bit of mobile traffic that needed it.

You know, the mobile-friendly crowd.

And, you’d simply repeat the process and watch the traffic flood in, mainly focusing analysis on desktop reports and rarely reviewing your mobile reports.

But times have changed.

In 2016, mobile traffic started to become a more substantial portion of the overall internet usage worldwide in comparison to desktop.

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With mobile traffic continuing to rise, it’s time to shift our perspectives from desktop first to mobile first.

And that’s exactly what Google is doing with the mobile-first index.

Zenith Media predicts that mobile traffic will account for 79% of all Internet traffic by the end of 2018.

Initially announcing the mobile-first index in November 2016, Google made it clear that mobile was dominating the search engine.

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

Let me summarize this for you in plain English:

Most people are using Google on a mobile device.

Conducting mobile searches is more common than ever. Yet Google was still ranking search results by desktop page content and experience.

The disconnect here is that most are on mobile yet website owners are designing for an audience viewing desktop.

This results in bad experiences for users on unoptimized mobile pages.

And Google is all about providing the best search engine to its user base. Which is the majority of the world:

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If Google didn’t make the change to rank mobile pages, there would likely be a drop in mobile users not searching with Google due to slow sites and unoptimized mobile pages.

So, they started testing the mobile-first index in 2016, where Google planned to shift its indexing to mobile pages before desktop, providing better browsing for the majority of users.

As you can imagine, this was a pretty significant shift. And, it left the industry with a lot of unanswered questions.

Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 4.31.01 PM

Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 4.31.01 PM

If your website is not optimized for mobile, you could see a drop in traffic and rankings.

Just recently in March 2018, Google announced that it was “rolling out mobile-first indexing,” giving users messages in their search console to inform them:

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So, what implications does this have for you?

It means that you need to have a functioning mobile site with content that matches your desktop site.

This can be achieved with a responsive mobile site that dynamically updates content from desktop to mobile.

Or, if you’re using an m-dot site, you need to update content from your desktop to mobile manually.

If you’re using WordPress, I recommend using a plugin like WPtouch to move your site to responsive.

WPtouch allows you to transform your site into a responsive, mobile-friendly site with the click of a button:

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You can instantly edit your mobile site themes, and content will transfer dynamically as you make edits on the desktop version.

You can even create landing pages specifically for mobile within the plugin, making it great to prepare for mobile-first indexing.

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After you’ve got a responsive site setup, turn your focus to improving page speed and designing a better user experience for mobile users.

If people are bouncing from your site within seconds, Google knows that.

And trust me, it isn’t going to keep your page ranking first if the average time on site is five seconds.

That’s a clear signal that user’s problems aren’t being solved with your content or UX, making it irrelevant.

On top of that, 85% of online users won’t return to your site if they have a bad experience on mobile.

Poorly designed UX isn’t the only cause of that bad experience.

Mobile data collections show that mobile landing pages are dreadfully slow:

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In fact, they take on average 3x the best practice to load.

And these slow load times lead to hugely inflated bounce rates:

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You can’t risk a slow mobile site. Not when page speed is a mobile ranking factor now.

To keep up, eliminate heavy page elements and keep a simple design. I’ve been testing this on my mobile site with great success so far:

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I have removed big elements and compressed images to create a simple, sleek design that is easy to read and use.

Try using plain white backgrounds with black text that is big enough for mobile.

Simplicity is key. Don’t use heavy CTAs and big images that slow your site down.

Simply put:

Mobile UX and speed are crucial to success in SEO right now.

Since that was a ton of information, let’s recap:

  • Mobile-first indexing is rolling out
  • Your content on desktop should match mobile
  • Focus on improving your site speed
  • Make sure that mobile pages are fast and simple in design

Follow these steps, and you will be prepared to take on the new mobile-first index. The state of SEO is changing, and mobile is becoming king.

2. Zero-result SERPs: SERPs are changing fast

With changes to Google’s algorithm, we’ve seen massive changes to the search results page over the last decade.

Back in 2010, our search results looked like this:

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These simple results are vastly different than a given search engine results page in 2018.

Even in 2013, SERPs underwent massive changes, including different snippets, demographic categories, and social mentions:

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But now, our SERPs contain tons of new elements, like answer boxes and frequently asked questions regarding the topic you search for:

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Or detailed knowledge graphs for specific companies, displaying very complex and detailed information directly on the SERP.

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For example, with the Evernote image above, you can find its social media profile, iTunes app, and Google Play link without ever clicking on its website.

You can even find a detailed product description, screenshots, and software compatibility data directly on the graph.

There is almost no need to click on actual search results anymore.

And, we see this because of the rise in voice search and artificial intelligence (AI).

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Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 5.01.20 PM

With voice search and AI, searchers can order goods, make suggestions, and talk about current events. Searchers are now presented with one answer.

This shift has been dramatic and often worries SEOs: will people even click on our links now?

More recently, in March 2018, Google tested zero-result SERPs, where only a single piece of information was displayed in the form of definitive answers or knowledge cards:

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To see any link-based results, you’d have to click “Show all results.”

If not, the entire Google SERP is taken up by this simple answer.

Meaning all of those standard results you’d expect when searching for the time…

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…don’t show up without the extra effort of clicking the results button.

While only limited to a select grouping of searches, it’s a telling sign that Google is consistently refining the search engine results to be less link-based and more results based.

It allows users to get answers faster than ever before without the need to read a 5,000-word article.

Instead, the most important bits of information are fetched from top content sites and utilized in the results:

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Data shows that while this test was being conducted, and many experienced the effects for a few days, most current results pages still display with the traditional ten links:

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The fact of the matter is:

SERPs are changing. Fast.

And we can’t sit back and watch our rankings dwindle down.

Instead, SEOs have to get ready for the future SERPs and how different they will likely be.

We need to start focusing on generating better content, even if it means answering the questions before users click.

Right now, try targeting keywords that don’t have rich results or knowledge cards/graphs.

Conduct simple searches on Google to see what the search results look like:

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If you notice standard results, this is a good sign that you can expect a ton of organic click traffic and these terms are likely great to target while you can.

SERPs will change over the next few years. Prepare for it while you can.

3. PageRank patent is a game changer for link building

Last month, Bill Slawski of SEO by the Sea, published an article announcing that Google had made an update to its PageRank patent.

This update to its patent describes how Google’s algorithm will affect the way websites are ranked.

The patent goes on to explain how Google will calculate link distances between authoritative websites and spam sites using a web-link graph.

Essentially, Google is creating a map of your links. Something like this.

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And, within that map, Google is looking for the shortest path to seed spam-free websites.

So, you want your link map to consist of the most authoritative, trusted domains with the shortest way to get back to your website.

Nothing new, right?

Guess again.

This update gives smaller niche websites a chance to outrank more prominent websites.

Why?

Just because you have more links, doesn’t mean you have the high-quality links.

For example, if you’re a small website competing against a Buzzfeed or Amazon for a search query, you may outrank them if your link map consists of more niche, trusted sites.

The goal is to have a reduced link graph with niche, spam-free websites linking to one another.

This is only the starting point for ranking. Google uses over 200 different factors to rank your website.

The key to ranking with Google’s PageRank is to provide relevance in links and content.

4. March 7 algorithm update: “Brackets.”

On March 7th, 2018, rankings were shifting for tons of people in the SEO community.

Just a few days later, Google confirmed the updates as a “core update” to the algorithm.

Due to the update being live in March, G-Squared Interactive coined the core update as “brackets” to reflect March Madness:

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Over a few days that the update was pushed live, Glenn Gabe from GSQIS started to notice fluctuations in rankings, rich snippets, and more:

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This prompted tweets from Google’s Search Liaison account, confirming the updates:

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So, what exactly happened here?

Websites with little content relevance were primarily affected, sending rankings for companies to either jump high or fall heavily.

Many SEO marketers suspected this update was targeted at low-quality websites.

As Glenn speculates on the “brackets” update:

“This was one of the biggest updates I’ve seen in a while. It seems Google once again improved how it assesses quality, and with Google always looking to surface the highest quality content for users, that’s a really big deal.”

However, John Mueller cleared things up during a Google Webmaster Hangout on April 6th.

He went on to explain that if your site was affected by the March 7 update, it is not an indication of a low-quality site, but more about content relevance.

Meaning your website is attempting to rank for specific queries that might not be relevant to the user clicking through to read them.

Your content has to connect the dots to search queries. Bounce rates must be reduced. Anything and everything you write and publish should be relevant to the reader.

This update comes out just two months before Google Research’s release of  Ask The Right Questions: Active Question Reformulation with Reinforcement Learning (PDF).

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Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 6.11.10 PM

This paper explores the machine learning algorithm that uses the Reinforcement Learning approach.

Essentially, this algorithm decides what to display in the SERPs using machine learning structured around user intent.

And, we might see Google create its own content in the SERPs soon.

Content is still king. But content for the sake of creating more isn’t.

Improving content relevance bridges the gap to user intent.

With this new update, it’s time to focus on creating more content that is useful to your readers and improving your design.

Run a basic audit of your existing content to see where you can improve it.

For example, comb through your latest blog posts and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this provide value to the query?
  • Can I include more information that others are probably also searching for?
  • Does my content solve the problem with actionable, detailed steps and examples, or does it merely point out the problem and tell (instead of show) the fix?

If you are struggling with content ideas or ways to improve existing posts, use Google to your advantage.

Remember those question boxes I showed you earlier? These ones:

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Turn those questions into a long-form post about PPC. Take each question and use them as your H2 headers to structure an outline.

These topics are all interrelated. People want to find resources online, not a simple post that tells them how great SEO is without teaching them how to do it.

And, don’t be afraid to ask for input from your visitors. Get feedback from your visitors to gauge how they feel about your website and content.

Then, expand and improve your current content.

As for website design, you should always be assessing your landing page metrics in Google Analytics:

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Work to improve your time on site and reduce bounce rates by creating engaging content pieces.

Simplify your blog structure and website design to focus on content and usability.

And, conduct a quick SEO audit to make sure Google can crawl your content and that your content is being indexed correctly.

With this latest update, one thing is guaranteed:

Quality is more important than quantity.

5. HTTPS

The speed update isn’t the only update coming in July this year. Google announced that also in July all sites still using HTTP would be marked non-secure like this.

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And, now Google issues its final warning stating that by October 2018, all sites using HTTP will be marked with a strong red warning.

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It’s important to note that this will affect all websites that are opened using Chrome.

While this does not affect your rankings, this will eventually affect your bounce rate and the user experience.

Which, in turn, affects your rankings.

Adrienne Porter Felt, software engineer and manager on the Google Chrome Security Team, took to Twitter to share the importance of HTTPS.

She stated, “HTTPS is a foundational part of web security. It’s a grassroots effort that worked hard to get leadership support.”

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Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 7.35.46 PM

It’s important to note that it’s not just Google pushing for the move to HTTPS.

Mozilla, inventors of Firefox, are pushing for secure Internet.

However, Bing is not on board with this…yet.

But, it’s clear, that HTTPS does affect ranking.

SEMrush proves that in recent research. They discovered that the higher position in the SERPs, the more HTTPS sites existed.

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And, Searchmetrics discovered Google is already placing higher value on HTTPS sites for specific industries.

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Luckily, there’s still time for you to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS before the launch in July.

However, before migrating, you’ll want to make sure to take the right steps. Otherwise, your organic traffic could end up like this.

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Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 7.48.17 PM

To prevent a drop in traffic when switching from HTTP to HTTPS, review the following:

  • Make sure that all versions of your site redirect to the correct HTTPS version, including canonical tags.
  • Update all internal links pointing from HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Submit a new sitemap with the correct HTTPS link.

I’d recommend running a full SEO audit of your website before going live with HTTPS to ensure you’ve covered all your basics.

And, before you get started, get all hands on deck for any potential issues that may arise when you’re ready to go live.

Conclusion

SEO is a rewarding and frustrating marketing tactic.

When your efforts pay off, they can result in big wins for your traffic, sales and ultimately, your bottom line.

I’ve grown multiple businesses off SEO alone. But SEO is also frustrating.

With 600 algorithm changes every year, staying on top of the best practices is brutal.

What worked last year might be out of style the next.

And those tactics you just spent money investing in could be outdated by next quarter.

It’s a constant uphill battle, but staying on top of changes can produce a significant profit.

The latest updates and reports point toward a mobile shift:

The mobile-first index is rolling out, and while Google says it doesn’t directly impact rankings, we can assume that it’s highly likely to in the near future.

With zero result SERPs and voice search, we can gather that SERPs are changing fast and moving toward instant answers.

Social media is still a big player in SEO, but it’s becoming harder than ever before to stand out.

Lastly, with the latest core update, content relevance is becoming harder to make. Seek to improve your content every single day to benefit from better rankings and avoid potential drops.

SEO is changing. Keep up to date with these latest algorithm updates and reports and you will be on the right track for continued success.

What are some SEO predictions you have for the coming year?

The post The State of SEO: What the Latest Algorithm Updates and Reports Are Telling Us appeared first on Cloud502.
Cloud502 – Cloud502 Cloud based Data, Analytics, SEO and Hosting Solutions. Cloud502 offers data insights in Louisville, KY.

https://www.cloud502.com/seo-backlinks-guest-blogging-sites/

When Keyword Ranking Requires A Pass

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big data

big data

Keyword Ranking is ultimately the goal of every SEO and Adword campaign.  I was invited to an Upwork project this past week, I always like being invited and generally I try to make the project work. Someone out there noticed my efforts and wants to hear from me.  It is unfortunate though when I feel I have no other choice but to decline the invite and not submit a winning contract.

A new site was seeking proposals for ranking at the top of search results using only organic search. I love a challenge but this search term was epic … Big Data.  Initially I thought sure you can do it with six months to a years worth of work, a dedicated staff and a budget to grease the wheels of backlinking.

Maybe a personal interest story that resonated with the public at large concerning your keyword and how you would change society would muster up some viral shares that network news might pick up.  The budget allocated was one hundred dollars.

Take a few moments before determining a keyword and check out Google Trends.  You’ll gain insight into the keywords popularity.  In these Google Trends graphs keep in mind 100 does not mean it was searched a hundred times, but on a scale of 0 to 100 how many people are searching for that keyword.

I realized at that moment this client hadn’t taken the time to research the current state of that keyword.  Big Data is a buzz today and everyone wants to claim authority of that phrase. Even though we’re looking at Organic Search it can be useful to turn to Adwords and see what people are paying for regarding your keyword. Knowing what others are already doing is essential to understanding keyword ranking.

While Google Adwords Keyword Plan suggests the keyword has “low” competition a simple search of the keyword shows seven companies advertising under that keyword. SAS, Oracle, and Amazon are just a few actively paying for that keyword. Organic search results show IBM and Forbes ranking on the first page.  These would be our competitors, I hadn’t even looked on page two.  In my previous time with HP I knew they sought that keyword ranking as well…any computing company would.

Its competitive…consider the “low range” cost of that search term is $7 a click with up too a million searches a month in the United States alone. Now at $7 a click the earnings are likely much greater but how many clicks will turn into sales, and for a generic brand? Keyword Plan forecasts about 190 clicks for $110 dollars.keyword plan

keyword plan

The client wasn’t ranking at all for this keyword, a lot of effort would be required to attain top keyword ranking.  I knew that the likelihood of failure was high, the reward was low and so I declined to submit a proposal for that project.  I want to maintain a high feedback score and I could see the client likely needing more resources to achieve their goal than they were willing to invest.  I was surprised when I saw the project already had 15 proposals from other freelancers.

Advice I’d offer Upwork clients…It’s important to set attainable SMART goals and the best way to determine if a goal is attainable is to research it for a few minutes.  There are free tools out there that can help draw the geography ahead.

Advice I’d offer to freelancers…pass on the deals that are unlikely to satisfy the client.  If you do submit a proposal to a deal like the one I noted, be frank and honest about the prospect of attaining the goal.  Possibly suggest an alternative keyword with similar relevance.

I’ll be watching “Big Data” and I wish the project luck.

https://www.matthewleffler.com/when-you-should-find-a-new-keyword/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=when-you-should-find-a-new-keyword

The post When Keyword Ranking Requires A Pass appeared first on Cloud502.
Cloud502 – Cloud502 Cloud based Data, Analytics, SEO and Hosting Solutions. Cloud502 offers data insights in Louisville, KY.

https://www.cloud502.com/when-keyword-ranking-requires-a-pass/

SEO Tools and Guides

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Cloud502

Free SEO Tools

On going collection of SEO Links including Free Tools and strategy guides. They come from a varied amount of external sources but together create an essential full picture of a site’s presence.  Duplicate content, missing title tags and 404 errors beware.

Essential SEO Tools 

Google Search Console:

If you are not already using this tool you’ve missed the first step to understanding your sites SEO status. Its essential to have this product setup. You will see what Google is pulling from your site and you can interact with the search environment by adding sitemaps as well as diagnose search issues.

Google Analytics: 

Isnt Search Console enough? Absolutely not…Google Analytics provides the other half of the picture. This is an after the fact SEO tool that should be used in addition to GSC.

Additional Tools



Free SEO Tools And Guides




https://www.matthewleffler.com/seotools/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seotools

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Cloud502 – Cloud502 Cloud based Data, Analytics, SEO and Hosting Solutions. Cloud502 offers data insights in Louisville, KY.

https://www.cloud502.com/seo-tools-and-guides/

Fascinating Frank Abagnale: Catch Me If You Can | Talks At Google

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Cloud502

Frank Abagnale depicted by Leonardo deCaprio in Catch Me If You Can speaks at Google about his life and cyber crime.

We’ve all seen the movie or at least we all should have the teen who runs away and becomes everything from an airline pilot to an ER doctor to an Asst. District Attorney all before he turns 21. He’s a cyber crime expert these days and his experience in forgery and documents is fascinatingly from the other side of most experts.

The post Fascinating Frank Abagnale: Catch Me If You Can | Talks At Google appeared first on Cloud502.
Cloud502 – Cloud502 Cloud based Data, Analytics, SEO and Hosting Solutions. Cloud502 offers data insights in Louisville, KY.

https://www.cloud502.com/fascinating-frank-abagnale-catch-me-if-you-can-talks-at-google/