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Does Your Local Business Still Need a Website?

Do Local Businesses Still Need a Website? by Jamie Pitman, BrightLocal.com April 16, 2018 While 97% of consumers looked online for an local business last year, fewer people are following up that research with a website visit. The median click-through rate for the number 1 ranking on Google was down 37% last year, suggesting that fewer search users are clicking through to local business websites. For SEO, link building, brand building, and meeting consumer expectations, having a great local business website is still critical. If you’re on the fence about having a website built for your local business, it’s easy to read all of the above and decide that there’s very little point. However, there are a multitude of reasons why every small business should have its own website, regardless of its Google My Business listing, directory listings or Facebook page popularity. Reason 1: It’s (almost) a pre-requisite for local SEO It’s far, far more difficult to rank in the local pack listings without your own website. While it isn’t impossible, it’s far, far more difficult to rank in the local pack listings without your own website.With the continuing advancement of mobile search and the increasing popularity of voice search, local search visibility is important for every local business. If you don’t have your own website, it is almost impossible to attain the level of visibility you need to drive footfall to your local business. Reason 2: Consumers expect it While consumers are increasingly able to find the information they need and take an action directly from search results, research from the Local Search Association confirms that most consumers expect a local business to have a website. In The Digital Consumer Study, the Local Search Association found that 63% of consumers used the website to find a local business or

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

WordPress 4.9.4 Fixes Critical Auto Update Bug in 4.9.3

WordPress 4.9.4 Fixes Critical Auto Update Bug in 4.9.3 by Jeff Chandler, WordPress Tavern February 7, 2018 Hours after WordPress 4.9.3 was released, the WordPress development team followed it up with 4.9.4 to fix a critical bug with the auto update process. The bug generates a fatal PHP error when WordPress attempts to update itself. This error requires [some] WordPress site owners and administrators to manually update to WordPress 4.9.4 by visiting your Dashboard and clicking the Update Now button on the Updates page. Alternatively, you can update by uploading the files via SFTP or by using WP-CLI. Dion Hulse, WordPress lead developer, says managed hosts that apply updates automatically for their customers will be able to update sites as they normally do. This may explain why some users have reported that sites running 4.9.3 have automatically updated to 4.9.4 without issue. Read more…

The #1 Marketing Tool Your Business Needs

  The No. 1 Marketing Tool Every Business Needs By Rieva Lesonsky, AllBusiness.com December 22, 2017 Do you think your social media presence or your word-of-mouth is so strong that you don’t need a website for your business? Maybe you have amazing online reviews or a stellar reputation in the community. But that doesn’t mean your business can survive without a website of its own. Unfortunately, a surprising number of small business owners seem to view a business website as an “extra” rather than what they really are: an essential foundation for their marketing efforts…. Why is a business website so important? It’s all about control. As a small business owner, you can’t control the algorithms that social media sites use to determine what posts people see. You can’t control whether a crazy customer writes a negative review that stirs up controversy and attracts unwanted attention. You can’t control whether a newspaper subscriber actually reads the ad you placed. On your business website, however, you’re in complete control of the way you present your business, the image you create, and the information you share. And if you use social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, local SEO, and online advertising wisely, you’ll have a great deal of control over whether people searching for what you sell end up on your website. Here are some keys to making the most of your business website: Regularly update your website so it always looks contemporary and fresh. Outdated design elements will make your business look less competitive. Don’t forget about functionality. If your website isn’t working as well as it used to, perhaps you need to revamp some navigation features. For example, your website should be designed to not only look great but also function smoothly on a mobile device. Create high-quality

Marked jump in brute force attacks against WordPress sites

If you haven’t done a security audit on your WordPress sites recently, now is the time!   Breaking: Aggressive WordPress Brute Force Attack Campaign Started Today, December 18, 2017, @ 3am UTC by Mark Maunder, Wordfence December 18, 2017 A massive distributed brute force attack campaign targeting WordPress sites started this morning at 3am Universal Time, 7pm Pacific Time. The attack is broad in that it uses a large number of attacking IPs, and is also deep in that each IP is generating a huge number of attacks. This is the most aggressive campaign we have seen to date, peaking at over 14 million attacks per hour. The attack campaign was so severe that we had to scale up our logging infrastructure to cope with the volume when it kicked off, which makes it clear that this is the highest volume attack that we have seen in Wordfence history, since 2012. The campaign continues to ramp up in volume during the past hour as we publish this post. A graph of the attack volumes is shown below which shows the number of attacks per hour and the number of attacking IPs that we see each hour. Our infrastructure automatically blacklisted the participating IPs in real-time and distributed those to our Premium customers. This all happened unattended early this morning. We continue to monitor the campaign and are analyzing its origin and who is behind it. What we know at this time: The attack has so far peaked at 14.1 million attacks per hour. The total number of IPs involved at this time is over 10,000. We are seeing up to 190,000 WordPress sites targeted per hour. This is the most aggressive campaign we have ever seen by hourly attack volume. Read more…

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
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