Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- New Cloudflare Tutorials
- A roundup of posts on speed and things you can do to make your site fast right now
- Why Voice Search will soon be the norm
- What mobile-first indexing is and how it works
- What I discovered about Yoast SEO premium redirects that I don’t like
- A monster list of GDPR plugins
- How Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub might affect future plugin development
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live tonight around 8pm ET / 5pm PT for the party and an interactive Tips Tuesday recap and breaking news discussion on the BlogAid Facebook Page. You can also catch the quick recap later that evening on the BlogAid YouTube Channel.
Working on the biz as much as in the biz
It’s been a very productive week here at BlogAid!
First, it’s been a bit of a slow news week, which is very welcome these days with so much site stuff changing. I didn’t have any major fires to put out or breaking news to tell you about.
And, there aren’t as many tips to pass along to you this week either because blog posting has lightened up a bit from others too. A lot of folks are on vacation right now.
But in all client projects, there are days when we wait for the site to be checked thoroughly after major changes, or a wait time before our next live session to be scheduled.
At the end of last week and through the weekend, most all of those wait times hit at once, which is unusual.
New Cloudflare Tutorials
I had several full days to get caught up on my own to do list.
Among other things, I updated all of the Cloudflare tutorials in the Webmaster Training courses, as there have been so many updates and new features in the past few months.
I’m especially excited about the new security features in the Web Application Firewall (WAF). There are 2 new settings to protect us from the most common plugin vulnerabilities, which are Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and mySQL injections that affect the database.
The WAF is available on the Pro plan, which I suggest you make room in your budget for. I’ve slept better this whole past year since getting BlogAid on it. And that protects my sub-domains for the member sites as well.
2017 marked the rise of a new hack attack vector where they go after mother companies that have an open door to your site, like cloud backup services and plugins. They can now do one hack and easily gain access to tens of thousands of sites.
Webmasters, look for an email with a full list of the Cloudflare updates.
If you’re a site audit client and haven’t had a check up in a year, now would be a good time to get one. Besides the Cloudflare changes, there have been a lot of changes to caching and we can really speed up your site and get it more secure with all these updates too.
Loyalty audits are faster and cheaper and you get priority on my wait list as well.
New Speed Posts on the Way
As we draw closer to the July deadlines for Google requiring all sites to be HTTPS and speed becoming a ranking factor, I’ll be renewing my campaign of speed posts.
I had released several new ones just prior to the GDPR frenzy hitting. And I’ve got several new ones on the way.
Get up to speed now with these posts:
- Why Image Reduction and Optimization is the Quickest Way to a Fast Site
- How Render Blocking Above the Fold Slows Page Load and Costs You Visitors
- How to Test Your Site Speed Accurately
- How to Test Image Optimization for Faster Page Load Speed
- 5 Ways to Create Image Widgets that Won’t Slow Down Your Site
- How Pinterest Widgets Slow Page Load and Best Alternatives
And, I sent an email to my Level 6 Webmasters asking what they need the most help with.
Prior to GDPR, we were in the middle of speed workshops. So, we’re picking those back up now, and looking to the future of what we all need to know to stay as far ahead of the curve as possible.
We’re the ones tasked with getting in the know first, so we can keep our clients ahead of whatever is rolling down the pike next.
Webmasters, if you haven’t responded to the survey yet, please do so today, as it will close at midnight and I’ll be doing a livestream in our group with the results later in the week.
Things are moving along with the new house too. We still don’t have a closing date yet, but we’re hoping for end of the month. I likely won’t be physically moving for another week or so after that.
So, I’m going full steam on open projects and on-boarding new projects from the wait list as fast as possible.
I’ve been half packed since April, when the house hunt first started. So, I’ve been able to just continue packing about an hour or so a night, and giving everything a good cleaning as I go.
It’s super good exercise, especially after a long day at my desk.
And I sure do appreciate being able to do all this in a relaxed way.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’ tips.
Half of searches will be Voice Search by 2020, according to this post on Marketing Land.
That’s a huge shift, and one that you most definitely want to start preparing your content for.
Every major SEO person and agency I follow has been heralding this since 2017, and it’s picking up momentum now.
All of the manufacturers of Voice Search products are scrambling now to ensure their devices can answer any questions put to it, including Google Assistant.
And they want to go way beyond the weather and trivia now.
You may recall in the last few Tips Tuesdays me suggesting you get in on the ground floor of Google’s call for more recipes. They will branch out to other niches from now on too.
I’m already covering this in the DIY SEO course with the special formatting you need to get your posts into Voice Search now, as well as Featured Snippets.
Plus, I already have it on my to do list to start checking the recipe plugins my peeps use and see if the schema markup they offer meets Google’s criteria.
Expect to hear a LOT more about this topic from now on, as it will mean huge traffic source shifts for many sites all through next year, especially for those who are preparing for it now.
And don’t think for a minute that this isn’t tied into Google’s Mobile-First Indexing strategy they released in late 2017 too. You’ll be hearing more about that from now on as well.
If you’re new to what’s going on with this, check out this post on WP Explorer that gives a good overview of Mobile-First Indexing.
And then jump over to this post on Higher Visibility to see how Google may once again change its ranking algorithm to be more about mobile presentation and keywords than about links. Plus, you’ll see how AI (Artificial Intelligence) also factors in.
Rolling with the SEO Changes
Here’s the thing.
Google makes 150 tweaks a month to its algorithm.
Unless you are a pro SEO and playing the game every day, you need to focus on more long-term SEO strategies.
Think of it like investing in a 401k for years compared to being a day trader.
Look at the overall trends with search and make a play for those, like what’s coming with Voice Search.
And before you get all tied up in trying to rank, ensure you have solid SEO fundamentals on your site, like the ones I teach in the DIY SEO course.
There are 14 levels of SEO on every post you create. And no, they aren’t all shown to you as one of the dot scores in the Yoast SEO plugin either.
We go a LOT deeper than that in the course.
And, you’ll see why chasing those green dots can actually be detrimental to getting your posts ranked high too.
Yoast premium redirects
I was a bit shocked to discover this feature in the premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin!
It has an auto redirect feature that makes a redirect anytime you change a URL, even if you only made a title change when you were creating the post, and before you ever shared the link. And it even does redirects for anything moved to Trash, to keep folks from hitting a 404 page.
The reasons behind this have me scratching my head, as Google tells us they had rather trashed pages go to 404 so it can eventually be dropped from the index.
Now I wonder what it redirects folks to.
And it’s nuts to me that they don’t have an easy way to turn this feature off other than adding a bunch of code to your theme’s functions.php file. Who’s going to remember they have all those special filters in the functions.php file when they change themes?
All these redirects start piling up in your database too.
And since the redirects are not in the .htaccess file, does it have to open an instance of WP, then the plugin, then do the redirect just to open another page? That’s whack, and chews up system resources.
Plus, what happens to all those redirects if you ever come off the premium plugin? Do you get a sudden rise in 404s?
I want to thank my site audit clients Harriet and Toki for the heads up on this issue.
I want to thank my client, Lin Pearson, for the heads up on this post from Blog Mojo.
I have not vetted any of the plugins on that list, so you’ll need to do your own research and see which one, if any, are the right fit for your site’s needs.
This news caused quite a stir in the dev community.
And while most of you have probably never heard of GitHub, just know that’s where the devs of most all the popular plugins we use hang out.
It’s also where they post the latest version of their plugin for public feedback and testing.
Any changes to GitHub are going to trickle down to us in one way or another, so that’s why I’m mentioning it, and keeping my eye on it for us.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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