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A Peek at the Hiring Process and Life as an SEO Specialist

It’s that time again…Wpromote is hiring for a SEO Specialist position! Know anyone who might be interested? Learn more about what it means to be part of the Wpromote team from our very own Justin McKinney!


Tara: What compelled you to apply to Wpromote in the first place?

Justin: I acquired a basic understanding of SEO at another company, but I was looking for an opportunity to really break into the SEO industry despite not having years of experience. When I Justin_pic for blog postfound Wpromote online, I immediately thought that it would be a perfect fit for me. From the website and reviews of the company online I could tell Wpromote had a great company culture and space. Reading the job description for the SEO Specialist role was what convinced me to apply; it didn’t require several years of experience, training would be provided, and I would be working on real accounts right from the start.


Tara: How would you describe your recruitment experience, from the initial conversation to accepting an offer?

Justin: The recruitment experience was quick, easy, and professional. A few days after submitting my resume I received a call and had a brief phone interview with HR. At the end of that call I was scheduled for an interview at the beginning of the following week. I interviewed with a SEO Director and Manager for about 45 minutes. Finally, the Friday of that same week I received a call saying that I got the job! The entire process took less than 2 weeks, and everybody I interacted with was courteous and professional.


Tara: What excites you about the Account Manager role within the SEO team?

Justin: The Specialist role was the perfect place for me to really begin my SEO career in earnest. I received excellent training from our experts in the department, and I developed a number of SEO skills, technical and otherwise. Now that I am transitioning to the Manager position, I am excited to take my knowledge and skills and apply them to full SEO and digital marketing campaigns. I’m also looking forward to working directly with Wpromote’s clients, as the Specialist role is generally not client facing.


Tara: What hints and tips would you give to candidates looking to join your team here at Wpromote?

Justin: Have a really solid understanding of the SEO basics; you should be able to explain the importance of title tags or why links matter in SEO. Additionally, read up on some SEO blogs to make sure you are up-to-date on SEO news and best practices, as this industry is constantly changing. The Wpromote Blog is a great place to start! Lastly, ask yourself if you are a good fit for the job; we’re fast-paced, hard working, and team-oriented.


Tara: Why did you see Wpromote as the agency of choice for opportunities within the sphere of SEO?

Justin: Wpromote is one of the few companies, let alone agencies, that has an entry-level SEO position. While you do need some skill and background in SEO, it does not require years of experience. Additionally, as I mentioned the SEO department is filled with SEO experts who really accelerated my own learning and development. Lastly, it was clear that Wpromote is a leader in the online marketing industry, and I wanted to be a part of that type of community.



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A Smattering of SEO – Will It Or Won’t It Boost My Rankings…

Howdy folks, happy October and welcome to another Smattering of SEO news! This week we have a couple of interesting tidbits, such as the possibility of a real-time Penguin algorithm right around the corner, along with things that will and won’t boost your rankings in Google! Check it all out below, and have a great week!

Google News

  • Mueller: Real-Time Penguin Algorithm Possibly Launching By Year’s End – In a recent Google Hangout with Google’s John Mueller, he said that while he’s not sure when the real-time update to the Penguin algorithm would launch, he believes it could be within the next few months, or before the end of the year. This doesn’t mean it’ll actually happen, mind you, as this is something they’ve been trying to do for a while now, but it’d be great to see it finally happen.
  • Mueller (Again): There’s No Ranking Advantage To External Linking – Some SEO folks have believed for a while that there might be a ranking advantage – however infinitesimally small – in linking from your site to other, relevant sites. It was believed that, if you linked to relevant sites, you were trying to show yourself as relevant and authoritative in your space. Well, John Mueller squashed those beliefs in a recent Google Hangout saying, “It is not something that we would say that there is any SEO advantage of linking to someone else’s site.”


  • Google Ads Ranking Advantage For Apps Using New App Indexing API – Recently at SMX East, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Mariya Moeva said that there would be an upcoming rankings boost for apps that used their new App Indexing API. Apparently the API will help Google figure out how useful the app is to users, and will use that information to likely help rank more useful apps higher in search results. Therefore, if you have an app, make sure you implement this API.
  • Illyes: We’re Experimenting With A Mobile Index – If you recall, last week I reported that Google’s Gary Illyes said via Twitter that Google only has a desktop index and no mobile index. Apparently, again over Twitter, he’s now said Google is “still experimenting” with a mobile index, so one might as of yet exist at some point in the future, maybe. As of right now, however, it’s still all desktop all the way.

Other News

  • Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Feels Installing Ad Blockers Is A “Mistake” –At the recent IAB MIXX conference, Yahoo’s Mayer chimed in on what’s been becoming a larger hot-button issues among Internet advertisers: ad blockers. “I personally think it’s a mistake to install ad blockers,” Mayer said, going on to say that she feels ad blockers result in users losing a “rich, full experience of the web.” She also wants to “keep monetization models vibrant,” as she puts it. Yahoo’s ads contribute to the mobile experience, she says, so it makes sense that she would dislike ad blockers. Whether Yahoo will actively do anything to dissuade their use is another story.


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8 Ecommerce SEO Best Practices

Working at a stellar online marketing agency like Wpromote, I have created SEO campaigns for a variety of Ecommerce brands. Throughout my work, I have discovered that there are certain best practices to keep in mind in order to optimize Ecommerce brands to the fullest. Let’s explore!


  1. User-Friendly Interface

A user-friendly interface is the first step to securing a sale online! If you create a website that’s easy to navigate, users will be encouraged to stay on your website longer and access more of the products that you are trying to promote. Positive product promotion increases your potential for sales. To make your website user-friendly, first and foremost, you must organize your product pages intuitively. Conduct site structure siloing to connect pages effectively and allow the most link juice to be sent from the homepage to subpages.


Organize your product pages how users would want to see them, arranging categories in order of importance. To help with this process, utilize breadcrumbs, so it’s easy to track the customer journey through the site. Provide search capability with either a search bar or filters so that users can find the products they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Finally, utilize internal linking to connect relevant pages to one another and make the user experience smoother.


  1. Content Marketing Strategy

To create a successful Ecommerce website, it is important to employ an eye catching content marketing strategy. Blogs and resource centers are great forums for providing users with fresh content on a regular basis. Blogs are ideal for sharing personalized content and interesting stories that relate to your brand. If you strive to be a thought leader in your industry, implement a resource center to show off articles, infographics, and other relevant materials that your audience will love and appreciate. Whether you are posting on your blog or adding to your resource center, make sure that all of the content you produce is keyword optimized in accordance with the on-site strategy of your website.

When approaching your content marketing strategy at large, don’t be afraid to incorporate influential people outside of your company. For example, guest posts on a blog from leaders in your specified industry can help users trust your brand more. Additionally, make sure to push holiday content, when appropriate. Your content marketing strategy should shift depending on what your users are searching for throughout the year. During the holidays, the priorities of users are very different than during other times of year. Adjust your keyword strategy and content marketing accordingly!


Finally, when approaching your content marketing strategy, make sure to employ strong link building tactics. Blog posts are a great way to link your website to influential bloggers within your industry, but you need to make sure that the websites you are linking to are legitimate. If you link to sites with spammy backlink profiles, Google may penalize you. Take caution!


  1. Technical Diagnostics

When optimizing an Ecommerce site, you must stay on top of technical diagnostics at all times. Using programs such as Screaming Frog and Google Webmaster Tools, you can zone in to the inner workings of your site and diagnose any site errors (such as faulty redirects, broken links, missing header tags, and improperly formatted/missing XML sitemaps). If your site is littered with these sorts of errors, search engines and users can be negatively impacted. Most importantly, the page load time can suffer. 40% of users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load quickly. It is incredibly important to prioritize page load time and make necessary improvements to enhance the user experience. Google PageSpeed Insights is an excellent tool to diagnose issues that could be causing a low page speed score. GPSI will provide specific recommendations as to what you should do to improve your page speed score, whether that be offloading JavaScript or compressing images. Additionally, GPSI will provide recommendations for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site, which is very helpful.image3


  1. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is a crucial element of an Ecommerce website. When approaching your on-page optimization, you should incorporate keyword research and competitor research, to create a unique space within your industry. When conducting keyword research, take into consideration search volume and competition score. The Keyword Planner by Google AdWords and the Keyword Difficulty Tool by Moz can be very helpful with this process. Additionally, make sure to optimize for unique keywords on each of your pages, so you don’t create competition for search engines within your own website. When conducting competitor research, take into consideration page authority, domain authority, site structure, and other factors. Pick up on what your competitors are doing well (to emulate), and take note of their weaknesses (to avoid).

Keyword research and competitor research aside, when conducting on-page optimization for your website, it is extremely important to be conscious of duplicate content. It is tempting to use default product descriptions (especially if you offer a wide variety of products), but Google is known to punish sites that utilize duplicate content. When the same content is put on multiple pages of a website, search engines have difficulty distinguishing the individual significance of each of the pages. Therefore, your site might not get indexed in the way you originally intended.


Create unique engaging product descriptions that will capture the attention of users in the SERPs. On point product descriptions can keep Google penalties at bay and increase the odds of user engagement. It’s a win-win! Additionally, don’t forget to optimize for the images on your site, as Ecommerce sites are visually driven. Make sure that the alt text for your images is relevant and free of unnecessary text, to present a clear image of your website to search engines.

Once you are content with your on-page meta data and content, consider schema implementation to further enhance your website in the eyes of search engines. With Ecommerce brands in particular, products should be marked up with rich snippets, for reviews. Doing so will make your product stand out amongst the crowd within the SERPs.


Finally, to stay ahead of the curve, you should test the efficiency of your on-site optimization on an ongoing basis. Conducting periodic clickthrough rate analyses and A/B testing through Google Analytics can be helpful in finding areas of improvement with keyword optimization. If you are running a pay-per-click campaign, it can also be helpful to see which keywords are converting well within that platform, and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.


  1. Product Reviews

77% of users buy products after reading reviews. Keeping this statistic in mind, all Ecommerce brands should try to gather product reviews from happy customers. On an SEO level, more reviews equals more content. Best of all, reviews are fresh content that can draw in new users on a regular basis. An email address is necessary for many online purchases. Following a purchase, make sure to follow up with the customer and ask for a review. Worst-case scenario, the customer will say no. Best-case scenario, the customer will provide a positive review that enhances your online profile. With Ecommerce brands, it is important to show your customers that you appreciate them. When a customer writes a positive review, if possible, send them some sort of thank you message and acknowledge their contribution. If you treat your customers with respect and gratitude, they are likely to refer you to their friends, and expand your circle of potential business.



  1. Mobile Optimization

Living in the digital age, it is crucial to have a mobile-friendly website, whether you are in the Ecommerce realm or not. That being said, 50% of all Ecommerce purchases take place on mobile devices. That number cannot be ignored! When approaching mobile optimization, responsive design is best, as it can work with any device (phones, tablets, etc.). When implementing mobile optimization on your site, it is important to make the transition from the desktop version of your site to the mobile version of your site seamless. You don’t want the mobile site to be missing important information that is featured on the desktop version of the site. When assessing the mobile optimization of your website, utilize Google PageSpeed Insights to diagnose any page speed errors that may exist. With the help of this tool, you can ensure that your users are getting the best experience possible. Google, Bing, and Yahoo have been known to reward mobile-friendly sites with higher rankings. Mobile optimization isn’t an option; it is a requirement.



  1. Social Media Activity

In the digital era, social media is key for establishing brand loyalty. When optimizing your Ecommerce website, make sure to implement social media share buttons on all important pages, such as the “Contact Us” page, blog pages, and product pages. Though it takes time, establishing a strong social media presence is paramount in becoming an industry leader. Cross promotion between social media and SEO is a great way to enhance your connection to your user base. When you post blogs and articles, make sure to share them on your social media pages. Interact with users on your social media platforms. Users want to feel loved and appreciated. Consistent social media activity signals to search engines that your brand/website is valuable.



  1. Local SEO (If Applicable)

If your Ecommerce brand has brick and mortar stores, you should incorporate local SEO tactics into your overall strategy. There are a few different ways to optimize your Ecommerce website for local SEO. First, make sure to state your geographic location on prominent parts of your website. When doing so, make sure that you are consistent in how you state your business information. Google will take negative notice if even a letter is off in the spelling of your street address. You want all citations to be accurate and consistent. Second, make sure to create a Google My Business profile and keep it up to date with current information.



On your profile, make sure to name all of your locations. Yext and Whitespark are helpful tools that can help you to keep track of all of your business citations. Though creating business citations is a lengthy process, Google will take notice of your hard work. The more you can make Google aware of your business, the better. Additionally, encourage your users to write reviews on your Google My Business page. Positive reviews always help to drive positive energy to your brand, but Google will take particular notice if they pop up in this location.


Many different elements go into creating an exemplary Ecommerce website. Keeping all of these tips in mind, you can start optimizing your Ecommerce website for SEO success!




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A Smattering of SEO News – Repeated Offenses, Forgotten Rights

Hello my friends, and welcome to another Smattering of SEO News! This week was kind of fascinating for a couple of reasons. First, Europe’s Right to be Forgotten law might become worldwide at some point, while Google lays down the law on repeated webmaster guideline offenses. All that and more in this week’s roundup of SEO news! Enjoy!

Google News

  • shutterstock_160362164-760x400Google Warns Against Repeat Webmaster Guideline Offenses – Google has posted a new blog post in which they discuss how they’re going to crack down on folks who repeat spammy offenses even after submitting a reconsideration request. Apparently a lot have folks have been repeating their naughty behavior even after their reconsideration request has been accepted! Well, Google says that if they detect folks repeating the same offenses, it will be much, much harder to earn reconsideration in the future. There’s an easy way to avoid this, my friends: Don’t do things that violate Google’s Webmaster guidelines. It’s just that simple, and it’s never worth it in the long run.
  • Right To Be Forgotten Might Go Worldwide After Google Loses Appeal In European Court – A French regulatory commission has rejected Google’s appeal to not apply the European Union’s “Right to be Forgotten” rules worldwide, meaning that if Google doesn’t comply with the ruling, they could face fines and further court action. While the commission still only intends requests to be inside of Europe, they want the results of the requests to be allowed worldwide. Google has been very wary to censor information, and would rather individual countries mandate how information is presented to their residents, so we can likely expect further court battles over this one.
  • Illyes: Google Only Has A Desktop Index – This is less “news” and more “Huh, that’s interesting.” A while back, Google’s Gary Illyes mentioned that they were working on a mobile site index, obviously specifically tailored for mobile-friendly websites. Apparently that’s either not happening at all now, or just not any time soon, as Mr. Illyes recently said on Twitter,  “we only have a ‘desktop index.’” One wonders what happened to the mobile-friendly index.


  • Study: YouTube Monetizes Views From Robots And Humans – According to a study by European researchers from a variety of firms such as NEC Labs Europe and IMDEA Networks Institute, YouTube still charges advertisers whether videos are viewed by humans or search engine spiders. Apparently, even though YouTube can identify 83 percent of the bots they were sent by researchers, they still charged advertising companies for them 91 percent of the time. That sounds a bit fraudulent to me. Google said they’d be contacting the researchers to discuss their findings.

Other Newsduck-duck-go-logo-full-1920-800x450

  • DuckDuckGo To Be Default Search Engine Of AdBlock Browser – I had no idea there was an AdBlock Browser coming out specifically for Android and iOS devices, but apparently it’s an actual thing. Now it’s been announced that privacy-friendly search engine DuckDuckGo will be the default search engine for this new kid on the browser block. It makes perfect sense really. DuckDuckGo is also working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation on new “Do Not Track” standards for even further increased privacy. Will people take to all this? That remains to be seen, but I love that it’s happening at all.
  • Twitter Going HTTPS On New Links Starting October FirstTwitter is the latest large website to announce they’re making the move to go HTTPS. They claim that, for tracking purposes, you’ll only see “a 10% drop in traffic attribution from Twitter as a result of this security change.” Still, with more and more websites going HTTPS, it’s getting more and more difficult to gather data from these sources. Again, this is only on new links as of 10/1/15. Existing links won’t be affected, apparently.
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10 Infographic Best Practices

As you can probably infer from the word itself, infographics are graphic visual representations of information. For audiences, great infographics organize data in a systematic and visually appealing way to present valuable and interesting information quickly and clearly. From a digital marketing perspective, infographics are fantastic for generating a diverse range of inbound links, building brand visibility online, and driving potential referral traffic when done correctly. Here are ten best practices on how to create and publicize infographics so they can be beneficial for your audiences and make a positive impact in your digital marketing campaign.


1. The Info – present pertinent information and data that your intended audience will engage with and appreciate.
Needless to say, great “info” is an essential component of great infographics. Before creating an infographic, evaluate your brand, your product and your audience first. Once you have a clear understanding of what is relevant to your company and your target demographic, brainstorm a list of ideas to deliberate over and choose from. Upon ensuring that your ideas are of value to your audience, be daring and creative.
Avoid the following types:

– Topics that don’t pertain to your audience

– Cliché or banal subject matters

– Useless or unverified information

– Overly broad or exceedingly complicated issues

image1Once you come up with several topics, discuss them with the other decision makers on your team and pick the one you like best.


2. The Graphic – employ visually appealing graphics and showcase them in a balanced and consistent manner.
Of course, the other crucial component of an infographic is the “graphic.” Aside from being captivating, the graphics should also complement the overall theme of your content and brand. Graphics such as charts and tables can help to condense convoluted data, so be sure to keep them simple and easy to digest. The color schemes and typography used can help enhance or detract from the infographic, so be mindful of your choices. Your graphics don’t have to be overly colorful and the fonts you employ don’t have to be super fancy, but they should be fitting for the topic as well as the overall theme of the infographic.



3. Inform with “Info” and Engage with “Graphics” – conduct thorough research to create a copy deck and outline the visuals in a wire frame.
Double check again to confirm that your topic is not too broad and can be covered in one infographic. Then, for the “info” aspect, conduct extensive, methodical research and draft a copy where the relevant information you want to impart is presented in an organized and cohesive manner. On the “graphic” side, envision how to convey this information with a stimulating, captivating design that will “show” the story and enable your audiences to visualize the data. Keeping this goal in mind, design a wire frame as a visual scaffold to build upon. The copywriter and the graphic designer may not be the same person, but because the “info” and “graphic” have a symbiotic relationship, it is vital that the copy and the graphic supplement and enhance each other.


4. Balance Between “Info” and “Graphic” – strive to achieve an equilibrium between the “textual” and the “visual” within in your infographic.
Creating an exceedingly text-heavy infographic may defeat its purpose and bore the audience. However, having too much visual and not enough information may make the infographic insubstantial and pointless. Depending on the topic and nature of the infographic, try to find a good balance between the written information and the illustrations. Of course it doesn’t have to be a 50-50 split, but unless the visual is self-explanatory, always provide a written description so that it is not just a pretty picture.


5. Make a Great First Impression – make people want to check out your infographic, whether it is with a catchy title or the overall appearance.
Having a beguiling or interesting title can help draw attention to your infographic, sometimes even before it’s seen. An equally great way to make a strong first impression and invite your audience to learn more is to ensure that the overall look and feel of your infographic is attractive. Here are some shortcomings to avoid in terms of the visual appearance of your infographic:
– Making the page too busy or cluttered

– Employing the wrong format and style for the topic

– Including too much data or text on one page

– Using unappealing color scheme or unintelligible typography

– Featuring mediocre or irrelevant imagery



6. Infographic not “Infomercial” – refrain from using the infographic as a form of advertisement for products and services your company has to offer.
It’s the perfect opportunity. It’s very tempting. But don’t do it. Infographics are not meant to be mediums for you to promote your company’s products and services. An infographic should provide useful or interesting information without the intention to sell. The fact that an infographic isn’t an ad is part of what makes it appealing to people, and thus it will lose its value entirely if you make the infographic a part of your product-push strategy.


7. Size Matters – your viewers’ attention span is limited, so be cognizant of your infographic’s length.
Unlike blog posts such as this one, an infographic should engage the audience quickly and present information in an extremely clear but succinct manner. Try to keep the infographic at a good length so that your audiences don’t lose focus, and compress the infographic size if needed so it doesn’t increase the page’s load time. Another very important question to ask is, “can people view this infographic on their mobile phones?” A lot of your audiences will be viewing the infographic on small screens, so definitely keep mobile-compatibility in mind during the creation and implementation process.


8. Give Credit Where Credit is Due – it is absolutely vital to utilize credible sources to create the infographic and cite all the sources you use.
The data and information presented in infographics often come from a smorgasbord of sources. Make sure to use valid, reliable, and up-to-date references when creating an infographic, and always cite them and give proper credit. You can attribute a statement or a statistic to specific sources within the body of the infographic. However, a best practice is to always provide the full list of sources you used for the infographic at the end, including the ones already mentioned in the body.




9. Take Credit Where Credit is Due – if you created the infographic, take credit by including your company logo in an unobtrusive but visible manner. Although the infographic is not utilized for self-promotional purposes, it’s important that you take the credit for creating this great piece of content by including your company logo in the infographic itself. The logo should not detract from the overall aesthetic appeal or topical focus of the infographic, but instead, it should be on the bottom of the infographic serving a similar purpose as “end credits” in movies. It is a subtle but effective way of building brand visibility.


10. Linkable and Shareable – ensure that the infographic can be easily shared by other websites and on social media.
It’s beneficial to create a separate landing page for the infographic with a simple URL that includes the title of the infographic. Draft an introductory paragraph for the infographic and optimize the page with proper meta data. Once the landing page is created, provide an HTML embed code underneath the infographic so that others can share it on their own websites. Double check to include the correct website URL, image destination URL, and image ALT tag in your embed code so that link equity is passed on to your site when others use the code to implement the infographic elsewhere. It’s also helpful to place social buttons near the infographic so that any reader who engages with the content can readily share it on their own social media channels. Encourage others to help publicize the infographic by adding a call to action such as “if you enjoyed it, please share…” Of course, you should always promote the infographic through your own social media and email marketing efforts.


Additionally, you can find a list of relevant sites, influencers in your industry, and infographic submission sites to actively earn links for the infographic, but make sure to have different introductory paragraphs written for each individual site that the infographic is placed on. Great infographics have the potential to go “viral,” so definitely take advantage of this quality content to engage your audiences and boost your brand visibility online.

I hope you find these ten practices helpful. Please comment below if you have other suggestions!

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A Smattering of SEO News – Structure, Lawsuits, and Brute Force

Hey folks, welcome to another Smattering! Kiiiind of a neat, interesting week so far. We have Google suing a search engine marketing firm while they themselves are found guilty of market share abuse in Russia, and heck, even more! Check it out!

Google News

  • Google Could Possibly, Maybe, Add Structured Data To Its Ranking Algorithm – Though Google has previously denied using structured markup and data in their ranking algorithms, they might be changing their tune. In a recent Google Hangout, Google’s John Mueller said that over time, he can see structured data as something that can go into rankings as well. He went on to say he could definitely seeing it being used if it was particularly relevant to the website and what its users are searching for. This is something we’ll definitely keep an eye on.robocalls
  • Google Plans To Sue Search Marketing Firm Over Robocalls – According to sources, Google is set to open a lawsuit against a search marketing firm called Local Lighthouse that has been posing as Google and sending harassing phone calls to local businesses demanding payment for their services. Apparently they’re not the only firm doing this, and Google is getting tired of it. If you get one of these, keep in mind that calls from Google will always be from a real person.
  • Russian Regulators Find Google Guilty Of Abusing Their Dominant Market Position – An antitrust probe in Russia has found Google guilty of abusing its dominant market position in, particularly, the Russian smartphone market. They found Google guilty of packing Google Android with a bevy of their own apps and then deterring users from using third-party apps somehow. We’ll have to see how Google responds to this, if at all.
  • Google And Twitter Reportedly Work On Their Own Content Delivery Network – Sources report that Google and Twitter are banding together to bring an “instant articles” solution to mobile devices, so users would get content instantly rather than having to wait a few horribly boring seconds. Thankfully, neither Google nor Twitter will host the actual content, instead relying on caching to more quickly present content to users. It’s not fully clear how this will work, but I look forward to seeing it in action.

Other News

  • wordpressBrute Force Attacks On WordPress Sites Are Increasing At An Alarming Rate – Not strictly an SEO story, but since so many of us use WordPress for our blogging solutions, I thought it’s worthy of note. According to Sucuri, brute force attacks – which attempt to crack a site’s admin password using scripts that hit the site with thousands of requests per minute – have gone up significantly just this year. While there were around five million attacks per day at the beginning of the year, as of the second week in September, it’s up to thirty-five million a day. A. DAY people. If you have a WordPress site, it behooves you to take advantage of the multiple security plugins available (I personally use WordFence and iThemes Security) to make your site more secure. At the very least you should add two-factor authentication. Good luck!
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How to Earn Links With Curated Content

Welcome to the guide for building curated lists of content to attract links and benefit SEO.

Regularly generating new content for your site is a fundamental tactic for a solid SEO strategy. Creating curated content pieces helps to diversify your content footprint; it also has the added bonus of potentially increasing your posting volume. Making curated lists can ease burnout by providing an alternative method of generating fresh content.


What Is Curated Content?

Curated content is essentially a collection of resources. Content curation is the process of sorting through information available online and creating a cohesive list based around your chosen theme. It’s not a mass information dump – it’s a carefully selected grouping of the highest quality and most relevant resources available on a particular topic. The goal is to present information in a user-friendly way and position your website as the most convenient source for knowledge. There isn’t a “right” way to curate – so have fun with it!


Examples Of Curated Content

Curated content often takes the form of “Best of” lists, weekly link roundups, or industry guides. For example:


The Value Of Curated Content

Google places a high value on fresh, unique content because it is often the most useful. Thus, sites with a deep content footprint typically are rewarded with higher organic rankings. Curated content can be particularly useful because it collates resources from all over the Internet on a single, easy-to-navigate page.

As the curator, you are the middleman between information seekers and content producers. You’re efficiently pointing the information seeker in the right direction, eliminating the difficult work of poring over dozens of pages and sniffing out the desired troves of knowledge. Lists catalog important pieces of content in a digestible format. Your annotations add meaning and context to the list, to help your reader get the most out of the materials.


A collection of beautiful glass bottles


How To Leverage Curated Content For SEO

Curated lists can help to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. You want readers to think of you as a valuable resource for information, the digital equivalent of a librarian or museum docent. This added authority helps build your reputation, which can translate into increased rankings and organic traffic. The key to showing your value as a curator is to put a lot of work into selecting content and to offer rich, insightful editorial guidance in the form of notes. This ensures that you’re illustrating a distinct point of view in your handpicked selection of content.

Additionally, a curated content piece is also an ideal platform to connect with other content creators. You’re showcasing their work and linking to their blog as an endorsement of their talent. Thus, curated content serves as ego bait. Ego bait is an asset designed to grab the attention of a particular entity by appealing to their ego. Ideally, this serves a flattering incentive for bloggers to link back to your site, share via social media, or start a relationship that could lead to future collaborations. That’s why it’s crucial to reach out to the original sources in your curated content article and let them know that you’re referencing them.


Tips For Creating Curated Content

Again, there isn’t an established template dictating what curated content should be. You can start with a topic you’re already knowledgeable about. Aim to create unique lists that offer value not found elsewhere on a million other blogs. If you’ve noticed a recent online trend, select cream of the crop articles that feature that trend. If you recently researched a topic, maybe you discovered resources that could be grouped together into an article.


Other Sources For Topic Inspiration

  • Long Tailed Search Engine Queries: Is there a gap in what people are searching for?
  • FAQs on Forums: What questions are unanswered?
  • Bookmarked Links: If you keep returning to certain sites, they’re clearly useful.
  • Multimedia: You don’t just have to link to articles and blogs. Videos, infographics, whitepapers, podcasts, and other media add variety to your list.
  • Evergreen Content: Timeless content means your list will stay relevant for longer, which will compound link equity over time.
  • Influencers on Social Media: What’s trending on Twitter? Use social media to select buzzworthy topics.





Best Practices For Curated Content

  • Quality not quantity – choose very carefully.
  • Give credit to your sources prominently with a link.
  • Add your own annotations to offer context and original insight.
  • Make it timely – particularly important for topics with an expiration date.
  • Reach out to your sources, let them know you’ve featured them, and encourage them to share!


Use these best practices to start building our your own curated content. Your brand authority will benefit from carefully constructed lists that include your original commentary. You can leverage your curated content to build relationships with content creators whose work you feature. Your content strategy will benefit from fresh, shareable content that enriches the knowledge of readers; that success will translate to improved search engine performance.


Have you published curated content? What are some of your favorite lists?

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A Smattering of SEO News – Fruits, Labors, That Kind of Thing…

Hello my friends, and happy Thursday! Welcome to another smattering. This week was shortened by the Labor Day holiday here in the US, which resulted in something of a slower news week than our usual. Nothing huge this week, which is actually nice as it gives us poor SEO folks some breathing room in-between algorithm updates. 😉 With that said, here’s the news! Enjoy!

Google News

  • Google Updates Site Index Count Numbers – A little while back, Google made a change in how they display the proper amount of indexed pages they have for a specific site. This was, in many cases, a lower number than had been shown before the update. However, around the same time, many webmasters reported the numbers then went back to the old, higher values. Google’s John Mueller admitted this was a “normal data glitch” which was a result of poor timing.
  • Google’s John Mueller: “Avoid Using Noindex” In Robots.txt – While the specifics of this aren’t really known, it’s something good to know regardless. In response to a Twitter user’s statement that one can use noindex rather than a disallow command in one’s robots.txt file, Google’s John Muller replied, “I’d really avoid using the noindex there.” Again, no further details as to why, but I’m sure there’s plenty of speculation going around already.Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 11.00.16 AM
  • Search Console’s Search Analytics Report Maxes Out At 999 Keywords – If you recall, the good ol’ Search Queries report in Search Console would show thousands upon thousands of keywords in a 90-day period. Unfortunately, the new Search Analytics report maxes out at just 999 keywords, which is far less data. Google’s John Mueller stated that, if you want to go through the API, you can download data for up to 5,000 keywords, but that’s a bit cumbersome for the average webmaster, to be sure.shutterstock_155610218-760x400
  • Be Wary Of Malicious “New Owner” Search Console Notifications – According to the folks at Sucuri, black hat SEO folks are now taking to hacking sites, and then using those sites to gain control of users’ access to the Search Console. They could be doing this for a few reasons, such as submitting spammy XML sitemaps or gauging how well Google’s spider can detect spammy doorway pages. Regardless, if you get one of these notifications, be on your guard.

Other News

  • Yandex Reportedly Penalizes Hundreds Of Sites For Link Buying – According to sources, Russian search engine Yandex has begun penalizing hundreds upon hundreds of sites for buying links. Apparently hundreds of sites, large and small, are now having their organic rankings lowered as a result of this penalty. While we’ve yet to hear anything from Yandex themselves, we’ll keep an ear out for any official announcements.
  • According To Survey, Consumers Can’t Differentiate Sponsored And Original Editorial Contentsponsored-content-native-ad3-ss-1920-800x450 The folks at Contently recently did a study involving several hundred participants, to see if they could spot the differences between sponsored content and original content. Sadly, in most cases, the respondents thought that the sponsored advertisement as article was an actual article, especially when found in a source such as The New York Times or BuzzFeed. This shouldn’t be surprising, but saddening? Definitely.
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A Smattering of SEO News – A Quiet Week

For the first time in what feels like a dog’s age, this week seemed pretty quiet. No algorithm updates, no lawsuits, no European committees demanding things, etc, etc. The news is full more of “huh, that’s neat” stories than stuff that might be considered “newws.” That said, let’s dive in! Enjoy!

Google News

  • Study: Google Results Could Influence 2016 Presidential Election – According to a study released by the folks at the American Institute for Behavioral Research andshutterstock_239614381-760x400 Technology, they believe that Google’s search results could have up to a 20% positive or negative effect on undecided voters. This is due to what they call the Search Engine Manipulation Effect. The influence of this effect, as a form of “social influence” they phrase it, could be a “serious threat to the democratic system of government.” Google responded by saying that they strive to provide relevant answers as a cornerstone of their approach to search. It’ll be fascinating to see if this “manipulation effect” has any sway in the upcoming election.
  • Google Only Discovers Links On Pages With 200 OK Header Codes – This is less news and more “Huh, that’s interesting.” Google’s John Mueller was asked on Twitter if Google crawls links on non-200 pages, such as those with 404 or 500 error codes. Mueller responded that Google only goes after links on pages with proper 200 OK header codes. They also sometimes have to determine if a page should actually be a 404 Error page rather than a 200 OK page. One more reason why you should strive to eliminate all 404 pages on your sites, folks!
  • Google Will Email Business Owners With Inactive My Business Accounts – A little while back, we noted that Google will be shutting down inactive My Business Google announced that they’ve also begun emailing business owners recently to remind them to log into their account to keep it active. Basically, if you log in at least twice a year, you are golden, so set a reminder for yourself or possibly lose those accounts!
  • Google Re-Opens Map Maker In US And Other Countries – After an incident earlier this year in which someone placed an image of an Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo, Google shut down access to its Map Maker feature for a time. However, Google recently opened up access to Map Maker in the US and dozens of other countries with the new caveat that submissions will now be moderated, which should hopefully avoid embarrassing images like the one mentioned above in the future.
  • Poll: 36% Of Webmasters Tell Google Their Sites Suffered Hack Attacks – Google’s Webmaster team recently had a #nohack week, wherein they posted a bunch of information about hacked sites on their Google+ page. One interesting tidbit is that 36% of respondents to one of their polls said that their sites had suffered hacks. Even more interesting, I think, is that 66% of respondents said they fixed the hack themselves (which is awesome), while 10% have been sadly unable to fix their hack (which is far less awesome, if at all). The other 17% of folks had help either from their web hosting company or someone they had to hire. Interesting stuff.