5 Quick & Relatively Easy SEO Fixes for your WordPress site

 I spend hours every day working on multiple sites in multiple industries and over the last year or so I’ve discovered the following potential issues when a site is not ranking on the SERP’s as expected. This is not a guarantee in any way that you will suddenly hit page 1 by making these changes but it does give you a bit of a head start while working on other concerns like quality, relevant content and building a loyal social media following.
  1. Are you Sandboxed?
    There is some debate out there about whether or not there is actually a Google Sandbox, I for one believe there is something out there in the Googlesphere that puts baby in the corner until it’s confident it will do no harm.
  2. Are  you up to speed?
    • The ideal speed is 400 milliseconds but that isn’t always realistic for the average business owner with a website on a shared hosting solution.  If you shoot for 3 seconds or less on page speed – check gtmetrix.com or https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ it’ll improve your visitors overall experience and therefore the amount of time they spend on your site.
    • once you are done with all the design/content go get Wp smush-it or some sort of image compression plugin and reduce size of your images
    • go through all the plugins on the site and make sure you delete any you aren’t using – I sometimes will install plugins to try them out then forget to remove them when I make a decision.. so clear out all the unused plugins
    • minify your css and js
  3. Are you Mobile friendly?
    • https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly – check sites for mobile friendliness
    • https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/ConfigureViewport – confirm that the mobile viewport is <meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>
    • avoid minimum-scale, maximum-scale, user-scalable in the viewport declaration (some of the WordPress themes actually have user-scalable in the viewport declaration so make sure to remove that) – it’s an accessibility issue and seems to make a difference on how mobile friendly Google thinks your site is…
  4. Too Many Plugins
  5. Submit that sitemap

WordPress Child Theme Tip: Featured Image as background or default image as background

Recommended skill: child themes. some php understanding and definitely css

In today’s adventures in child theming I was asked to have either a default image or the featured image appear in the banner as a background image on individual blog pages for the Eptima Lite theme. I’m sure there are easier ways to do this but this particular solution worked extremely well after a few hours of reading and digging through multiple “ways” to do it. I always create a child theme when asked to make any changes to an established site. The client had picked their theme already and just wanted a few changes made, no need to create a theme from scratch with Bones  (which I’ve done in the past).

the following information is based on the assumption that you already have a child theme setup. If you haven’t already done so make a copy of the header.php from the main theme (in this case Eptima Lite) and put it in your child theme directory.

In your header.php add the following code:

A little explanation:

This code block here is saying IF the post has a featured image display it

Otherwise display a default image:

And this is where the image is converted to a background image (if you don’t include this line it’s added to the html as an img src which is difficult to stretch for a banner)

You will need to add padding or height for your image to display since it is now a background image 🙂

You can use background-size: cover as well to get the background image to fill your element.

I will add more to this post if I discover a better way to achieve the same thing.

 

Three reasons why PubCon is a must attend for the online marketer

It’s Sunday morning after PubCon week in Las Vegas (Nov. 8-11, 2010). I couldn’t sleep the night after the show was over, my mind was just racing with new ideas to implement at work.  I have been in the web industry since the early 90’s. Primarily working on websites both as a designer and a programmer. I got active in Open Source in 2001 and had my first exposure to community driven software. I’ve always had an interest in but never really pursued the advertising/marketing side of the web. I knew I was supposed to design or code to certain specifications to help with ranking.  I never really understood.

For the past couple years I have secretly been following aka stalking top names in SEO/SEM and online marketing. Reading every blog post I can get my eyeballs on, watching every video I’m aware of and absorbing all I can. It was a lonely existence as my ex-boyfriend thought all this internet marketing/social media was a waste of time. He’d scoff when I’d tell him something new and exciting in the industry. Facebook is a waste of time, twitter will die and there is no value in networking. So I sat at my computer or in the book store and read all I can to try and keep myself up-to-speed but couldn’t really talk to anyone else about my passion. I can regurgitate just about anything related to SEO/SEM and Social Media. Did I understand it? Only partially Did I feel it was a black art? Oh hell yeah.

Although there are tons of fantastic write ups about the sessions at PubCon (my first online marketing conference) there aren’t as many about the other aspects of attending an online marketing conference. PubCon has been growing and growing and if you are an SEO/SEM or handle PPC you MUST make this conference a requirement. PubCon 2010 had 3000 registrants! Up from 100 or so in 2002!! Shows you how much this industry is growing!

I’m writing this from a holistic view ( but I’ll add links in a separate post for the sessions so you can dig in a bit deeper for the specifics you want/need. If you are like me you want to absorb all you can and stay ahead of the game)

Knowing you are not alone

We all spend a lot of time on our computers and smart phones. In apps and browsers digging up information or communicating with friends, family and associates. For most of us our families and friends do not share the same interest and don’t get the terminology of the intent of this industry. When I left the show on Thursday I KNEW I had at least 2999 other people who believed in and made their living in this industry. I had made connections with the movers and shakers and my belief in this industry as a whole and it’s longevity was validated.

Dispel those horrible myths or untruths on the web

Although there are areas in this field that engender some argument or debate there are quite a few aspects that everyone can agree on. Sitting in a session and listening to one of my online SEO/SEM heroes repeat in person what they had written about in their blog somehow made any future blog posts that I will read much more valuable. Looking at someone in the eyeball and having them tell you something in person (that you read online) and knowing they are telling the truth is irreplaceable.

Network Learning

The Q&A sessions at the conference were the most valuable part of the whole show. There were multiple times when some other person in the audience asked the panel a question I was going to ask (back to the ‘not being alone’) and the answer cleared up what I was going to ask plus other aspects I didn’t even think about! Sitting at a table in the “lunch” room and listening in on conversations that provided new insight into the industry from various perspectives was a tremendous advantage.

The PubCon conference not only taught me more about the industry as a whole but it provided validation and a sense of community.

The biggest thing I took away from this event was to be proactive and not reactive in response to the uber speedy changes in the internet marketing space.

Coming soon! People to follow and the best sessions at PubCon

Effective Solutions to In-House SEO, PPC and Campaigns

@LauraLippay (works @ Yahoo!)

2/3 of online search users are driven to perform searches as a result of exposure to some offline channel

$13 Million Hyundai Super Bowl Ad

Hot Trends in Google Search.

During the Super Bowl -‘edit your own” and ‘hyundai’ were “hot trends” – if you did a Google search for Edit your Own the ad nor Hyundai site showed up. Missed opportunity

We are still not connecting offline with online.

SEO as a marketing channel like Television, Direct Mail, Print, Internet, Radio, and Outdoor

SEO has rich web development background.

What can I do?

Integrating search into marketing campaigns. Hasn’t been able to find good examples of this integration. Some aspects of SEO and SEM has to connect with marketing.

Campaign strategy meetings – your SEO can tell you, if there is opportunity in search for this – there is no target market or there is opportunity.

Organic ranking for external advertising

Marketing

PPC <—-SEO Strategy

Engineering

Technical SEO

Agency

SEM needs to be recognized as an integrated marketing channel

SEO/M needs to be looped into campaign strategy meetings for clients

SEM can determine search marketing cost and opportunity

An SEO’s Tale @alli12
Allison Fabella

Launches a site, traffic goes up – Rock Star

Then traffic went down – not a Rock Star anymore

Common Offenders:

Flash

Good Solution: Speak Geek
Speak Money (competitors are getting organic search results)

Solutions: Include All Stakeholder in the discussion

Hit them in the wallet

Suggest Actionable Alternative

Robots.txt

Canonical Tags
Site Map (what can go wrong)
Incorrect Url
Incorrect sitemap protocol
Invalid date, tags, URL
Incorrect sitemap type in GWT

Be the detective

Solutions

Regular meetings with stakeholders:
-Daily or weekly
-Review upcoming & completed changes
-Carefully review code BEFORE launch

Topher Kohan

(does SEO for CNN & Turner Broadcasting)

Build evangelist

ID your support staff

Company
Division
Team

Outside:

Agencies
Contacts
Friends

Build a support network

Evangelize for SEO within the organization

They
Get it?
Wants to get it?
Gets excited by it?
Embraces it?

Find the Evangelist

Treat them as a Team
Conversations on what works and what doesn’t work

Never Stop:

Building them Up
Training Them
Improving the work flow
ID Problems
Getting help

 

Link value degradation

 

PubCon 2010 (LiveBlogging Intro)

November 9, 10 and 11 I will be LiveBlogging from the PubCon conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. PubCon is an Internet Marketing conference that features sessions led by industry experts in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Pay Per Click (PPC), internet marketing and website operation. All of these topics are extremely interesting to me and are part of my daily responsibilities at my day job.

I live in Henderson and work in downtown Las Vegas so this isn’t an out-of-town “trip” for me. I’m really excited anyway. I’ll get to meet some of the SEO/SEM and Social Media bloggers whose informative posts I’ve read, printed and utilized in my job as Webmaster. My job involves both organic search engine optimization and ppc (as well as the usual webmastery stuff like coding and design)

That said there are the sessions I’m planning on attending (this could change depending on how fast I am and how fast the sessions fill up).

1. Hardcore PPC Tactics
2. The Best Tactics in Landing Page Optimization
3. Effective Solutions to In-House SEO, PPC and Campaigns
4.  Enterprise Level Bid Management
5. Top Shelf SEO: Hot Topics and Trends

 

1. Local Search and Mobile Optimization
2. Keyword Research, Selection and Optimization
3. Social Media, Press Relations & Brand Management
4. Super Session: Search Engines and Webmasters

1. Convergence of Online Marketing and Analytics
2. Real World Low-Risk High-Reward Link Building
3. SEO 2010
4. Interactive Site Reviews: Focus on Organic
5. Advanced PPC and other Paid Online Media Strategies

I’ll be blogging from my recently acquired pink Sony Vaio 🙂

Follow twitter.com/snowwrite for blog posting updates

Or facebook.com/snowwrite