Tag Archives: rankings

You Asked: Top 10 Questions about SEO from our webinar

The post You Asked: Top 10 Questions about SEO from our webinar appeared first on HostGator Blog . When you think about Search Engine Optimization, you probably think about how to increase your website’s ranking in Google. While that’s correct, it’s not as simple as it may sound, and there’s a lot that goes into the practice of SEO.  HostGator offered a free webinar about the 5 Steps to SEO Success to help website owners get started with optimizing their website for search.  We focused on on-page SEO and covered the following steps:  Implement keyword research  Set up metadata on all pages Create quality content Format URL structure and links Use schema, if appropriate  Missed the webinar? No worries. Check out the recording below. Here are the top 10 questions about SEO that our webinar attendees asked.  1. Once you have a website, what is the #1 thing you should do to immediately increase your rankings?  The easiest thing you can do to quickly impact your search results and rankings is to register your business with Google My Business. Google My Business is the official business profile listing from Google that integrates with Google Maps and Google search. GMB is Google’s way of allowing you to control what shows up in search by giving you the space to provide as much information as possible about your business. You’ll want to make sure that your Google My Business listing is accurate and matches all your listings online.  2. I don’t have a physical address or storefront. Do I still need a Google My Business account?   Yes! If you want to be found online you should definitely have a Google My Business account even if you don’t have a physical address or storefront. In fact, when you set up your Google My Business account, you can note your business as a “ service area business ,” meaning you serve a certain cities or zip codes.  When you set up your account, one of the first questions will be ‘do you have an address where customers can visit you?’ Follow these prompts to indicate that you do not have a physical location. If you already have a Google My Business account, you can edit your physical location from the dashboard. You will see that “service area” and “storefront address” can now be edited separately. 3. How important are sitemaps? Do I need one?  Sitemaps help Google identify and crawl all of your site’s pages and URLs. Without a sitemap, Google might not be able to index all of your pages – meaning you could be missing out on a lot of organic traffic.  A lot of CMSs automatically generate sitemaps; or if you use the Yoast plugin for WordPress, it will create your sitemap for you. Manually creating a sitemap is a fairly intensive process, especially if you have a lot of pages. So if your CMS has the functionality to create a sitemap for you, take advantage of it!  It’s important to note that when SEO’s refer to “sitemaps” we’re typically referring to sitemap.xml not HTML sitemaps that you might find front-of-site.  4. How important are good Google reviews for SEO?  Google reviews are important for SEO! Essentially, Google reviews show Google that your business is real and that people have interacted with it. Additionally, reviews frequently contain relevant keywords which add to Google’s understanding of your business. The more context you can provide to Google about your business, the better.  5. For SEO purposes, is it more important to update existing content or create new content?  This is a great question and one that we debate at HostGator as well! You should do both! As content gets old, it may no longer be relevant, which then causes it to not rank well anymore (don’t forget, you want your content to be timely!) For example, an article about ‘top web design tips of 2015’ only holds value during 2015 because people always want the most current tips. To improve your rankings of that article, you should update the content to make it more evergreen and relevant to your readers no matter when they find the article.  Updating older posts is great because they typically have more SEO value, since they have been indexed longer and have more backlinks. If you do have to delete a post or page however, you’ll want to do a 301 redirect to a new, highly-relevant article. A 301 redirect indicates to Google that the page has permanently moved and allows you to pass 90-95% of SEO value from the original article to the new one. 301 redirects allow you to both maintain your rankings and update your content.  If you can, we recommend that you publish new articles on a regular basis to indicate to Google that your website is current, relevant, and active.  6. How many keywords should I have? And where do I put them?  The number of keywords you need is really dependent on your business. You should have a mix of both long-tail keywords (phrases or questions that are fairly specific) and head terms (general keywords with high search volume). For HostGator, our head terms include our products, such as web hosting and shared hosting, while our long-tail keywords include phrases like what is web hosting, how expensive is web hosting, and how to keep my website secure.  If you are a local business, be sure to include the city or state in your keywords to target people in your area. We covered keyword research in detail during the webinar – go back and watch from minute mark 7:05-12:45. As a reminder, you can target three to five keywords on any given page and the biggest tip we can offer is this – use your keywords naturally.  Finally, think about keywords like topics. Don’t just “say” them, talk about them. Write as much as you know about the topic and make the conversation natural. 7. How do I get backlinks?  Essentially, a backlink is when another website links to yours. The absolute best way to get backlinks is to develop quality content, like blog articles, and wait for other websites to link to your articles. If your content is helpful and original, this should happen naturally.  If you want to take a more proactive approach to building backlinks, you can find a website that might find your information helpful for their readers and actually ask them to link to it.  If you are a local business, you can consider partnering with another business on a promotion and exchanging links in return. Think of this like networking in real life – meet people who have similar interests and ask them to link to your articles, specifically if the content is helpful for their readers.  8. What are the best SEO plugins for WordPress?  Yoast is well-known as the best SEO plugin for WordPress. With a few short configurations, Yoast will manage your metadata, canonicals, sitemaps and your robots.txt. While Yoast automatically selects certain configurations for you, you also have the ability to fully customize your selections. Check out this article for eight more awesome SEO plugins for WordPress .  9. If I’m working with a contractor for SEO, what questions should I be asking my SEO person each month?  I always want to see metrics. While it’s important to note that SEO changes usually take a long time to see results, there are still analytics your SEO contractor could be sharing with you. Things you might be interested in seeing are:  Month over month, or year over year keyword changes The number of keywords you have ranking on pages one and two Organic traffic, transactions and revenue Top organic landing pages Chances are that your SEO contractor is already pulling this information to guide their strategy, so it shouldn’t be too much effort to share that information with you.  You and your SEO contractor should also be monitoring your competitors and any changes they may be making to their sites that could impact their rankings and therefore affect your organic traffic.  10. Are SSL certificates important to being found on Google?  An SSL certificate is very important for a few reasons! To provide context, an SSL certificate prevents a “middle man” from stealing information as it is passed through to your website. This is especially helpful for eCommerce websites where customers are entering their credit card information. Even if you don’t have an online store, an SSl certificate can protect the contact forms on your website.  SSL certificates are also essential for ranking highly in the SERPs. For many years Google has indicated that the presence of an SSL certificate will help your site rankings. Google further proved this statement in July 2018 when Google Chrome started flagging websites without SSL certificates; as of last summer, website visitors started receiving notifications when they visited a site without an SSL certificate. Obviously when visitors see this alert, they will quickly leave your website, which will increase your bounce rate and decrease your rankings.   Luckily, HostGator offers free SSL certificates with all hosting plans . Follow the steps to set yours up today! Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our SEO blog articles or download our free ebook , the Beginner’s Guide to SEO.  Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin

The post How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin appeared first on HostGator Blog . Ranking in the search engines can be a powerful way to grow your site. By using a WordPress hosting plan you’re already giving yourself a head start, as it’s pretty well optimized. However, if you want to take your onsite search engine optimization even further, then you’ll want to use an SEO plugin for WordPress. Part of on-page SEO success is adhering to best practices to help your WordPress website rank. This includes optimizing your pages and other content the right way. The other aspect is offsite SEO, which involves things like building strong and relevant backlinks to your site . This post will focus on the first part of that equation, optimizing your site’s content for relevant keywords to help you rank. Luckily, this process can be simplified by using a WordPress SEO plugin. Below you’ll learn why you’ll want to use a WordPress SEO plugin, which plugins for WordPress are worth using, and finally, how to install a WordPress SEO plugin on your site. Why You Need a WordPress SEO Plugin As we mentioned, choosing WordPress as your CMS already puts you ahead in the SEO game. But, optimizing your WordPress site the right way still takes time and skill. So, if you don’t want to spend months learning the ins and outs of on-page SEO, you can rely on an SEO plugin for WordPress to guide the way . There are dozens of little tweaks you’ll need to make to properly optimize your site .  By using an SEO plugin you’ll save time and make your life a lot easier. Plus, if you want to rank in the search engines, then there are a lot of other, offsite SEO tasks you’ll need to be doing . Spending all your time on onsite SEO just doesn’t make sense. With the help of an SEO plugin you’ll be able to quickly optimize your content, so you can focus on the quality of your content, and other offsite factors that’ll really help your WordPress website rank.   Which WordPress SEO Plugin Should You Choose? Hopefully, by now, you understand why using a WordPress SEO plugin is essential. Now, it’s time to choose the best SEO plugin for your site . There are dozens of different SEO plugins for WordPress you can use. However, instead of diving into every plugin here, we’ll focus on the best one you can use: Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO is one of the most useful and comprehensive SEO plugins for WordPress on the market. Plus, it’s entirely free. With Yoast, you’ll get access to features like: Post title and meta optimization Keyword analysis and expert SEO recommendations XML sitemap creation and integration Taxonomy creation Google Webmaster Tools validation And more! It’s a feature-packed free plugin that will actually educate you about SEO-friendly practices as you spend time optimizing your site and your content.   How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin Below you’ll learn how to install and configure Yoast SEO on your WordPress blog or site. For the sake of this tutorial, we’re assuming you already have WordPress installed on your site. If you don’t then follow this tutorial and do that first. For those who are already rocking WordPress, let’s dive in!   1. Install and Activate the Plugin First, you’ll need to install and activate the Yoast plugin to make your site more SEO friendly . To do this navigate to Plugins> Add New on your sidebar. Next, search for Yoast SEO and install the free plugin that looks like the one below. Now, click ‘Activate’ and the Yoast plugin will be installed on your site. With the plugin installed it’s time to start configuring the settings. You’ll probably notice that there are a ton of different settings you can play around with. Instead of focusing on every aspect of the tool, we’ll only focus on tweaking the settings that are most relevant towards improving your rankings. With that being said, click on the new ‘SEO’ tab on the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. This will open up Yoast SEO.   2. Using the Configuration Wizard The easiest way to set up WordPress Yoast SEO is by using the configuration wizard. Click on the link that looks like the picture below to get started. Select Your Environment. The first step is easy. Click the box that says ‘Option A’. Unless you’re building a site that isn’t quite ready to launch to the world. Select Your Site Type Next, you’ll select the type of site that best matches your site. Choose Company or Person. Next, you’ll choose whether this site will represent a person or a company. This will help when ranking and displaying your site in the Google Knowledge Graph. If you choose ‘Company’ you can also add your logo during this step. Add Your Social Profiles. If you have any existing social media profiles, then you’ll want to enter those URLs now. This will help the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin provide more details about your site to Google. You don’t have to enter every single profile you have, just the ones you use most often and are actually related to your website. Select How You Want Your Site to Appear in the Search Engines. Now, you’ll decide if you want both your posts and pages to show up in the search engines. You’ll probably want to leave these default settings and allow the search engines to index your entire site. Determine Authorship. If you’re going to be the only author for your blog, then you’ll want to select ‘No’. This will help you avoid any duplicate content issues that can reflect negatively on your rankings. However, if you will have multiple authors on your site then choose ’Yes’. This will create individual archive pages, so people can access posts written solely by that author. Integrate Google Search Console. Google Search Tool is a valuable tool that will provide you with relevant search information about your site. To configure this you’ll need to have an existing Google Search Console profile. If you don’t have it set up already, then this post will show you how to do it . You can always set this up later if you don’t want to go through the process at this time. It isn’t necessary for the proper functioning of Yoast SEO. Choose Your Title Settings. Your title is the main headline that will appear in the search results. Here you’ll choose your website name and the separator you want to use. There are a few more sections to click through, which will ask you to sign up for their newsletter and upgrade to the premium version of Yoast. However, you don’t have to do either of these if you don’t want to. Just keep clicking through until you get to the ‘Success!’ page. Congratulations! Y ou’ve now properly configured the Yoast WordPress plugin for your site.   Optimizing Your Pages and Posts One of the coolest features of the Yoast plugin is how easy it is to optimize your pages and posts. To do this open up one of your existing posts or pages. Towards the bottom of the page (underneath your content), you’ll see a box labeled Yoast SEO. Here you can change your title , meta description , URL, and enter your focus keyword.  Then, you’ll get a score and recommendations for how you can improve that score based on search engine optimization best practices. For every page and post on your site, you should aim for ‘Green’, which means that your content is properly optimized for your chosen keyword. If for some reason Yoast WordPress SEO plugin isn’t the right one for you, then spend some time finding an SEO plugin that works better for you. The installation process will be the same as the first few steps above.   Start Optimizing Your On-Site SEO Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to install a WordPress SEO plugin on your site and set it up the right way. Finally, it’s important to note that your host can actually have an influence on your rankings, so make sure you choose a quality hosting environment . If you have any more questions about how to install a WordPress SEO plugin , please contact us at HostGator today! Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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How to Write Title Tags for SEO: 5 Best Practices

The post How to Write Title Tags for SEO: 5 Best Practices appeared first on HostGator Blog . SEO 101: How to Write Compelling Title Tags One of the first things most website owners learn about SEO is how little power you truly have. A lot of what determines where your website’s pages will show up in the rankings is outside of your control. But those limitations make it all the more important to do what you can with the parts you can control. Every business can at least practice good on-site optimization. It’s a relatively cheap and easy way to give your website an edge over the (surprisingly) numerous sites that don’t bother to do it. One of the most important on-page ranking factors you have control over is the title tag . What is a Title Tag? On the search engine results page (SERP), the title is the main part of a site’s listing. It shows up in blue, in bigger font than everything else, and is hyperlinked back to your website. On your website, the title shows up in the tab at the top of the browser (although it’s normal for a lot of it to be cut off from view here). The title tag is the spot in the html where you define what will show up in these places. Generally you add it to the html in the page header with a tag that looks like: Title of Your Page If you use WordPress and have an SEO plugin , you can skip the html and add the title tag to your page by filling in the field that’s labeled “Title” or “Title tag” in your plugin. Why Title Tags Matter Google’s goal is to deliver up results that are relevant to the searches people make. For the search engine to do that, it has to recognize what different pages on the web are about. Google discovers this information by looking at the words used on the page, but it also gives certain parts of the page more weight than others in determining the page’s content. The title tag is one part of the page that’s given a lot of weight by search engine algorithms in determining what a page is about, since it’s a short and simple way for website creators to signal what’s on the page that follows. For that reason, title tags are one of the most important on-page ranking factors . But beyond the role they play in ranking, they’re also extremely important for getting people to click on the link once it shows up in the search results. The title is the first and most obvious part of the listing they see – it’s big, it’s blue, and people expect it to provide the main information they need about what’s on the page behind that link. Ultimately, itle tags aren’t just about improving rankings, they’re about getting people to click once your webpage does show up in the search engine – which what you care about the most. And they do make a difference in that. In one case study , Ahrefs found that improving the title tag of a webpage led to a 37% increase in web traffic to that page. If you aren’t optimizing your title tags, you’re missing a big opportunity.   5 Tips for Writing Title Tags To make the most out of the space you have for title tags, follow a few best practices.   1. Write unique titles for every page. Every page on your website is unique and your title tags should reflect that. Make sure you customize the title tags on each page of your website so that they accurately describe what’s on that specific page. You want your title tag to signal to Google what the individual page is about. Plus, having a clear and accurate title is more useful to anyone who sees the page in the search listings.   2. Pay attention to length. Google will display 50-60 characters of a title tag in the search results before cutting it off, so you should generally aim for title tags that are around 50 characters or less . To be safe, you want the most important or descriptive words in the keyword toward the beginning so they’re less likely to get cut off. If you like to include your brand name in every title tag (which can be a good idea for recognizable brands), put it at the end, behind the words that describe what’s on the specific page. 3. Use your target keyword (but don’t overdo it). Every page on your website should answer a question or provide valuable information someone will be searching for. Your website will be more useful to those people if it shows up in search for the right term – just when they’re looking for the information you provide.  So for each page, you should have a target keyword (or a few) in mind. Since Google’s algorithm uses the title tag as one of the main ways to determine what a page is about, it’s a good opportunity for you to include the main keyword you’re targeting for that page. That makes it clear to Google that this page is relevant for anyone searching for that specific term.   4. Be descriptive of what’s on the page. When your web page does show up in search, a lot of people will decide whether or not to click based on your title tag. If they click and come to a web page that isn’t what they expect based on the title, they’ll likely click that back button right away and look for another result to try. You want your title tag to provide an accurate description of what people will see when they choose to visit the web page. When people’s expectations match what they see on the page, it means a lower bounce rate and a longer time spent on the site – metrics that signal to Google your page is valuable and should keep ranking high. More importantly, it creates a better experience for your visitors. You want every visitor to like what they see and hopefully come back for more.  If your title tag isn’t clear, that’s less likely to happen.   5. Make a (brief) case for what’s on the page. You don’t have a lot of space for this, but use what you have to differentiate what makes your web page so great. Often this can be accomplished by adding an adjective in front of the descriptive keyword or additional description behind it.  For blog posts and articles, a good title tag often looks a lot like a good headline , so you may be able to use the headline you’ve already written. Make sure you really think about what on the page is most valuable or important to your target audience. Your title tag should emphasize the value your page provides to them .   Title Tags: Short, but Powerful Title tags are a short and therefore deceptively simple part of SEO. Just because they don’t require writing much, don’t assume they’re something you should treat as quick and easy. Take some time to really think about the best words to use to signal to Google what the page is about and to communicate to potential visitors what’s valuable on the page. Your title tag has to do both at once. If you get it right, it can improve your rankings and increase your click-through rates. Don’t miss the rest of our SEO 101 series! How Do Search Engines Work? How to Write the Best Meta Descriptions What’s the Best URL Structure? Best Practices for Website Architecture Want expert help improving your SEO rankings? Get in touch with HostGator’s expert SEO services. Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Does the Type of Web Hosting You Choose Affect Your SEO?

The post Does the Type of Web Hosting You Choose Affect Your SEO? appeared first on HostGator Blog . Can Your Web Hosting Plan Affect SEO? When it comes to SEO, the details matter a lot. One of those details that’s commonly neglected is your choice of web host. Usually, it’s the last thing that people think about. However, the type of hosting you’re using can have a big impact on your rankings. The extent of the impact will depend on the size of your site and its overall traffic levels, but your host is either supporting or damaging your rankings. Obviously, you want a host that does the former. Below you’ll learn how your host affects your search engine rankings, and how to choose a hosting environment that will actually support your rankings. 5 Ways Your Web Host Affects Your Rankings The type of web hosting you choose can either help or hurt your rankings. Below we cover five different ways your choice of host can affect your SEO.   1. Site Speed Is a Ranking Factor The faster your site loads the better your site will rank in the search engines . Now, just having a fast loading site isn’t enough to push your site to page one. But, if you already have solid onsite and offsite SEO and you boost your site speed you will start to see your rankings climb. Having a slow loading host will lead to a poor user experience since they’ll be sitting and staring at a blank screen. Poor user experience leads to poor metrics, like a high bounce rate , and a very low time on site, both of which will push your rankings down.   2. Data Loss = Rankings Loss No one likes to think about it, but there is a chance that your site will face a disaster. Whether it’s getting your site hacked , a catastrophe at your host’s datacenter, or unintended site data loss, it can happen. To protect your site and your rankings from data loss you need to have some kind of backup system. A high-quality host will have a backup system in place that will help you quickly recover from any of the above scenarios. HostGator customers, learn more about protecting your site with CodeGuard.   3. SSL Certificate Improves Rankings Trust is huge online. If your site doesn’t seem trustworthy , then Google won’t trust you and you’ll have a hard time ranking. The same goes for your visitors. If your visitors don’t trust you, then they probably won’t purchase anything from you, or stay with your brand over the long-term. One easy way to improve your trust is to install an SSL certificate on your site . An SSL certificate will encrypt the connection between your server and your user’s web browser. This will allow for the secure exchange of personal information. But beyond making your visitors feel safe an SSL certificate will also help your site improve its rankings. Since 2014 Google has acknowledged that SSL certificates are a ranking factor .   4. Uptime Matters No host can guarantee 100% uptime, but the better your host, the higher uptime your site will have. If you’ve been experiencing high levels of downtime, then it’s probably time to think about switching your hosting environment. Learn more about HostGator’s 99.9% uptime guarantee! Having your site down shouldn’t affect rankings too much, but it can have a negative impact on your user experience. If a person tries to visit your site time and time again and your site is offline, they simply won’t come back. This can have a negative impact on your bounce rate and your CTR from the search engines.   5. Server Location and Performance Another factor that influences the performance of your site is the location of your physical server. Now this will depend on what kind of hosting you’re actually using. For example, if you’re using cloud hosting it won’t be a factor. But, if you’re using shared, VPS, or a dedicated server, then the farther your visitors are from the physical location of your server the slower your site will load. However, if you have a high-quality host this will be offset through an integrated CDN and a high performing server environment.   How to Choose an SEO Friendly Host An SEO-friendly host will look different depending on the kind of site you run and how much traffic you receive. There is no perfect hosting choice for every style of website. For example, if you have a small site that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic, then a solid shared host will be enough to support your site. But, if you receive hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, then using a shared host will probably have a negative impact on your site’s performance and rankings. In that case upgrading to a VPS , cloud, or dedicated host would be the best course of action. In order to find the best SEO-friendly host, evaluate your hosting choices with the factors below: Does the host have a high benchmark of performance? If you’re unsure, spend some time checking out user reviews online. Does your host include an automated backup system or use a third-party plugin? Do you have the ability to install or purchase an SSL certificate for your site? Does your host guarantee a high site uptime? Is there data, or a guarantee to back it up? Can you choose your datacenter location? Or, does you hosting include an integrated or third-party CDN? Going through the above questions will help you find a high-performing host that’ll actually support your rankings, not bury your site in the search results. Overall, your host can have a big impact on your SEO. If your site hasn’t been ranking as high as you think it should, then your hosting environment could be the culprit. There’s a reason people consistently choose HostGator web hosting. Learn more about our award-winning hosting by reading real reviews from our customers! Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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Keys to Keyword Research: 4 Reasons Your Rankings Are Tanking

The post Keys to Keyword Research: 4 Reasons Your Rankings Are Tanking appeared first on HostGator Blog . 4 Mistakes You’re Making With Keyword Research We live in a content-driven online world, and writing for the web is a tricky business. That’s not to say you can’t have great success with the right mix of keyword optimizations and authoritative content resources. Quality keyword research (and how you leverage your findings) can mean the […] Find the post on the HostGator Blog Continue reading

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