Series of posts over the next few months to say what I’ve found works and what doesn’t in SEO. So this is installment 1 in Top SEO Tools I Use.
So this is somewhat of a product endorsement piece but its also worth sharing with others what you’ve found useful and hopefully they’ll let you know what they have found useful. So Tools I use and even a few I don’t and why.
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…
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.
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:
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 Googleranking 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.
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:
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.
If your website is not optimized for mobile, you could see a drop in traffic and rankings.
Over a few days that the update was pushed live, Glenn Gabe from GSQIS started to notice fluctuations in rankings, rich snippets, and more:
This prompted tweets from Google’s Search Liaison account, confirming the updates:
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.
Anyone who knows me knows I love visualizations. I’ve been working on SEO strategies for a site and the beginning of any good strategy is understand the site and quality of its content. Some studies suggest 60% of people think in pictures…that is to say if I said the word “cat” some people will see a cat and some will see the letters cat. Its hard for visual people to grasp complex concepts such as “millions” its harder to produce that word in a visual way in your mind. Similarly when we think about a web site its often hard to grasp the links and relationship between a sites pages. Sure we can create a boring flow chart but it often has to be over simplified and lacks a good representation of the sites content.
Recently while working for https://pearlharbor.org I found a tool that created some really useful visualizations of the site and the sites pages with linkage between them. I believe the software limits its linkage to 10,000 which is astounding. The site offers information and Pearl Harbor tours while serving as a memorial that includes a page for all the survivors. My focus with this site is to make SEO recommendations and ensure the effective utilization of social media in improving site ranking.
The free plug for this software is Website Auditor you can use the free evaluation version for as long as you’d like, you just cant save or print anything. Its still something extraordinary for understanding a sites layout. In addition this software includes additional tools for site link building and so on.
I’m excited about my newly discovered free SEO tools. I’m going to make these images for any site I work on. While I want to improve SEO through increased authoritative external links its essential that these links land on a site that utilizes intelligent internal linkage.