SEO & Local SEO

Website Performance and Site Speed Tests Revisited

In a previous post from April 2018, Testing WordPress Performance and Site Speed, I discussed an article describing five online tools for testing the page load speeds for your website. Google PageSpeed Insights Pingdom GTmetrix WebPagetest YSlow Browser Plugin Most of these simply test a webpage from the URL submitted and report relative site speed of that page (it’s not always clear relative to what exactly – presumably all other webpages that tool has tested) and then make suggestions on how you can improve the performance of that page. Pingdom allows you to select from one of three locations to use to test your page load speed. WebPagetest expands on this by offering a choice of several locations around the world and in addition allows you to check your page speed with a choice of browsers and devices. More recently, I learned about a new online tool which is similar to those discussed above but with several significant improvements: Website Speed Test | Dotcom-Tools. Dotcom-Tools adds the following features to those offered by their competitors: Tests browser-based load time of all page elements Detects slow or missing elements Tests from your selection of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or  various mobile web browsers Provides a complete waterfall report with  charts and graphs Displays results from nearly two dozen global locations all in the same report Conducts tests from each location twice, with the second visit cached to allow you to estimate the effectiveness of the various caching systems used by your page These tests are all absolutely free with no sign-up required. Dotcom Web Site Monitoring also offers a selection of various paid plans as well. In addition to the features of the free service described above, the Pro plans offer Website Performance Monitoring starting at $7.99 USD per month for

Social Media Outperforms Google for Small Business

Google still dominates the search market but for small business social media, especially Facebook, may be the best marketing tool. How social networks usurp Google’s local search dominance by Wesley Young, Search Engine Land June 18, 2018 Google may dominate most results, but not local search: How Facebook and other social networks take a significant share of local search away from Google. Google claimed that at the end of 2013, it had 540 million monthly active Google+ users. According to SmartInights, quoting data from StaticBrain (paywall), in 2017, it was estimated that only 4-6 million were active. Compare that to almost 1.5 billion daily active Facebook users. In other words, Google’s social media presence is less than 0.4 percent of Facebook’s. Why social will win local search market share A Local Search Association study conducted by Burke in 2016 showed that word of mouth or referrals from friends and family was tied with company websites for second place among resources that consumers used to look up or learn about local products and services…. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising study, consumers trusted recommendations from friends far more than any other source…. In the US, 82 percent of respondents trusted recommendations from people they know. For comparison, 66 percent trusted online consumer opinions (reviews), 61 percent trusted branded websites, 49 percent search ads, 47 percent video ads and 39 percent mobile ads. …. Is it more likely for Google to attract social users or for Facebook to adopt search and commerce into its platform? Based on results to date, Google hasn’t been successful in several attempts at social media. Yet Facebook has incorporated maps, reviews, recommendations and search functions into its platform. Edge: Facebook. And it seems that the changes are having their desired effect. A recent study by

Facebook Users Visit Local Business Pages Weekly

Here is another study showing the importance of both smart phones and social media in how the potential customers of local small business research and conclude the purchase of products and services. If you don’t have a responsive internet presence coupled with social media marketing, consumers won’t find you. But they will find your competitors! Nearly 2 in 3 Facebook Users Visit Local Business or Event Pages Weekly by Courtney Dobson, LSA Insider May 29, 2018 A recent Facebook study of over 6,000 local businesses and over 10,000 people around the world found that 2 in 3 people on Facebook visit the page of a local business or event at least once a week. The study defined local businesses as, “one that isn’t part of a chain, franchise or non-profit and isn’t purely online, but has fewer than five store locations in a single market.” Additionally, while ecommerce is seeing growth, in-store experiences offer a personal appeal that is unparalleled to digital experiences. In fact, 87% said trust and security was the main motivator for local-based purchases, and 40% said that the store offers a more personal customer experience. When looking further into the motivations for in-store vs. online, people prioritize things like conveniences, ease and cost savings. According to the survey, the top three reasons people shop in-store are goods being immediately available, goods that are close by and not having to pay for shipping costs. On the other hand, the top reasons for shopping online included not having to leave the house, not being limited to shopping during store hours and comparing costs easily. Mobile-first shoppers, however, pave the way for opportunity, as they seek to interact with and learn more about a business and its offerings. Eighty percent of people surveyed said they use their smartphones to

Listing your local business to increase visibility

Creating a web presence is just step one. Now you have to make sure your business is visible in search engine listings. Here’s one important component of achieving that. Best Local Citations by Country – A 2018 Update by Nyagoslav Zhekov, Whitespark.ca April 12, 2018 Find out Which Sites Are the Most Important For Your Business In: The United States Canada The United Kingdom Australia Germany The Netherlands France Ireland New Zealand Singapore South Africa Spain Italy Brazil Poland Visit the top citations page to download our full list for all 15 countries, as well as learn more about our process for qualifying the sites that are included in our resource. Read more…

Testing WordPress Performance and Site Speed

5 Tools to Test WordPress Performance and Site Speed WPExplorer January 10, 2018 The following tools will give you a complete picture of your website’s performance. You can use a single tool, or use them all in conjunction to cross-reference website data. 1. Google PageSpeed Insights PageSpeed Insights is a brainchild of Google. This nifty web app measures your site’s performance across multiple devices, including desktop and mobile browsers. This is useful if your visitors are accessing your site from a variety of screen sizes and devices. 2. Pingdom Pingdom is a free tool that gives you full-site performance information including load time, page size, as well as a detailed analysis of each page on your website. Best of all, this app saves your performance history, so you can track if your efforts to improve loading times are working. 3. GTmetrix The report that GTmetrix generates will show you a complete history of the website’s loading speeds, as well as a detailed report that suggests ways to improve the performance of your website. Beyond the initial page analysis tools, this web tool also has a video playback feature that enables you to see where the loading speed bottlenecks occur. 4. WebPagetest WebPagetest gives you your site’s loading speed and a grade breakdown of your site’s performance. It’s unique in that it allows you to select a country to view your report from, so you can see how your site performs across the world. This is useful if you have a large overseas user base. 5. YSlow Browser Plugin YSlow is a browser plugin that lets you track the performance of any site you’re currently visiting. It doesn’t give you the actual load time, but it does break down over 20 different performance cues. This can help you compare other competitors site’s within your niche to see

Google: Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing

Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing Google Blog December 18, 2017 Currently our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for…. Sites that make use of responsive web design and correctly implement dynamic serving (that include all of the desktop content and markup) generally don’t have to do anything. Here are some extra tips that help ensure a site is ready for mobile-first indexing: Make sure the mobile version of the site also has the important, high-quality content. This includes text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos – in the usual crawlable and indexable formats. Structured data is important for indexing and search features that users love: it should be both on the mobile and desktop version of the site. Ensure URLs within the structured data are updated to the mobile version on the mobile pages. Metadata should be present on both versions of the site. It provides hints about the content on a page for indexing and serving. For example, make sure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent across both versions of all pages on the site. No changes are necessary for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). For sites using separate mobile URLs, keep the existing link rel=canonical and link rel=alternate elements between these versions. Check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. When using link rel=hreflang elements for internationalization, link between mobile and desktop URLs separately. Your mobile URLs’ hreflang should point to the other language/region versions on other mobile URLs, and

Google Rankings and Your Business

  An important reminder about Google Search Rankings: If they can’t find you, they can’t become clients or customers!     Are Poor Google Rankings Hurting Your Business? Here’s What You Can Do About It NoobPreneur.com December 4, 2017 How Important are Your Rankings? Perhaps you’re in the group that doesn’t really give much credit to Google rankings. If that’s the case, you may be surprised to learn that studies show 94% of Google search clicks result from that first page worth of results. What this means is that if your company isn’t showing up on that first page, there is only a 6% chance that customers will find you. It’s not that there is a lack of people searching for information it’s that they can’t be bothered to look past that first page of results.Make Sure You are Using Keywords Properly One of the biggest tips for those looking to improve their Google ranking is to take a close look at the keywords they are using, and how they are using them. Keyword phrases must be properly placed in order to garner results, and of course the right words need to be contained. It’s always a good idea to take a look at Google Trends to see which phrases are currently “trending”. It’s also a good idea to stay on one topic per page, rather than bounce around.Make Sure the Site is Updated Regularly Another tip is to make sure your site isn’t stagnant, meaning it is updated on a regular basis. Google likes active websites that are constantly getting attention from you. Blogs can be very helpful in this regard because it’s fresh new content that you add on a regular basis.Investigate the Speed of the Site Another area that you can be suffering is with the site

Paying for Nofollow Links in Directories

Is it worth paying for links to your website from directories like the Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce? This question was recently raised in a thread at the Local Search Forum and an earlier version of this post was written in response to that thread. One of the questions posed was specifically, “Why are the links nofollow and what is the benefit if any of continuing to pay an annual fee for a nofollow link?”. Basically, is this some sort of scam with no benefit to the webmaster, i.e., a waste of money? To understand why such links are nofollow, you need to understand the history of directories and links. In the early days of the internet, directories popped up as a way of screening out good sites or useful sites for crap sites. There were some good ones back then and you had to provide useful and accurate information or a useful service to be included. And people actually used those directories to find information on the net because they provided something older search engines didn’t: an evaluative component. Sites in the directory could be assumed to be better than sites not in the directory, all things being equal… except of course that all things were not equal because the process of scouring the net and screening sites using human editors could not possibly keep pace with the number of new websites being added every week or month. Then Google happened, one might argue the first search engine that had real value in ranking sites for value to the searcher the way the directories used to. Suddenly links pointing to your site and then to specific pages on your site had real value to webmasters. And that link value meant there was money to be

Local Search: Blogging will Help Your Small Business

Keep it Local: How and Why Simple Blogging will Help Your Small Business by Scott W Johnson, NoobPreneur.com October 28, 2017 Step One: The Exact Same Listing, Every Time Before you go and spend tons of money hiring people to do all sorts of search engine marketing, the very first thing you should do is to claim your operation on Google, Yelp, & Hotfrog. Don’t fret if your operation is home based, just follow their rules. Use the exact same way of writing your companies name and address for each and every internet listing moving forward. In other words, do not change up the name of your company from Johns Plumbing to John’s Plumbing; those types of slight differences can wreak havoc. Step Two: The Local Contact Page and Contact Form If you already have a company name and website established you are in lucks way. Make sure your website clearly states your contact information that exactly matches the address of the Google Local listing – on your Contact page. Preferably your website will also have a ‘contact me form’ which will easily allow potential clients to reach out to you for a request for service…. keep the contact form as simple as possible. Step Three: Blog about Business, Blog about Local The first blog post that many people write can seem extremely scary, get over it. Just write it. Your first blog piece should shoot to be over 600 words and contain information about what you do and where you do it. Depending on exactly what you do, people may or may not care about the quality of the writing. … Now you will want to repeat this exercise each and every week for about six months, changing up topics and locales, the more specific the problems of the

Get ready now for Google’s Mobile First Index

Google’s Mobile First Index is not expected top go live until some time next year (2018). But that doesn’t mean you should wait until 2018 to make sure your site conforms to the mobile search criteria. Prepare now and you’ll get the “ready now” bonus when Google starts crawling sites for inclusion in the new index. Google Will Roll Out Mobile-First Index to Individual Sites That Are Ready by Matt Southern, Search Engine Journal July 3, 2017 When Google rolls out its mobile-first index, it will begin by indexing individual sites that are ready for it. This was confirmed by John Mueller in a recent Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout. Mueller went on to say sites may or may not be informed the mobile-first switch has changed for them. This presents a challenge when it comes to tracking analytics and ranking positions. On the positive side, with Google rolling out the mobile-first index on a per-site basis, those that are prepared have a good chance of being indexed before others. Those that aren’t ready for the mobile-first switch will have to wait a bit longer to be indexed, Mueller says. This can be seen a positive thing for both searchers and site owners. Searchers will see only the most mobile-friendly sites, as intended, while site owners who have put in work preparing for the mobile-first index will be rewarded with priority indexing. Read more… Check here if to see your site is mobile-friendly.
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