Top 4 SEO Tips You Ever Need For 2014

Search engine optimization is forever changing and in year 2014, it is no different.

Recently, I noticed one particular keyword term keep showing up during my SEO research for a client and it is no other than 'SEO tips for 2014'.

Yes boys and girls! 2013 is coming to an end and it's time to celebrate!

With all the hardwork done in 2013, I see no reasons why we shouldn't be taking a little time off from blogging right? Moreover, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

SEO 2014

It's time for party!

Every good thing has to come to an end and same goes to partying for the new year. 2014 is in fact a brand new year for many and personally, I think it will be a turbulence especially when it comes to search engine optimization.

The best SEO tips for 2014

Google Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 had basically rocked the world in 2013 and I am pretty sure Google will be unleashing even more crazy and (monstrous) animals to surprise us all.

So, what will happen to SEO in 2014?

1. Mobile SEO is becoming more important than ever

Mobile SEO

How important is mobile SEO in 2014?

Is your blog or website optimized for mobile or have responsive designs enabled? If no, you are in trouble, my friend.

Recently, BBC News reported that social network giant Facebook reported a 60% surge in revenue, to $2.02bn (£1.26bn), in the third quarter. Read it here.

This means that readers or visitors are using their mobile devices more than their laptops. If your blog or website isn't mobile optimized, you have already lost half the battle on SEO in 2014. Seriously!

When it comes to mobile SEO, everything counts ... from user experience to responsive website themes will make a difference. Imagine the feeling of loading a website that doesn't really have a good layout. Will you be tempted to even go through the hassle to minimize-maximize just to fit the screen?

Not for me and that's for sure.

Not convinced? Let's see what Matt Cutts got to say about mobile responsive designs.

 

So, what did you learn from the video above?

...

...

...

Yes! Mobile responsive is important, don't you think so?

So, how do you test your website if it is mobile responsive?

Use your smartphone or tablet, head over to your website and see if the layout 'changes automatically' to fit the screen. If it does, take a deep breath as you are pretty safe.

Don't fuss if your site isn't showing mobile. If you are using WordPress, you can enable the mobile view using the JetPack plugin.

Alternatively, you can also take the opportunity to get yourself a new theme that is highly optimized for SEO at StudioPress. Click here to find a list of 40+ professional mobile responsive designs.

Advantages of using mobile SEO:

Disadvantages of using mobile SEO:

2. The love hate relationship between social media and SEO

Social signal in SEO

Do you believe that social signal affects SEO?

You probably have heard and read this a thousand times now. Social signal could possibly be the new SEO for 2014.

With over a dozen social media platforms to choose from, it is a no brainer that social signal could possibly play a huge role in SEO.

Personally, you can kill two (or more) birds with one stone if you have a great social media strategy. The more shares, tweets and +1's you earned, you are going to increase the chance to make your site go ... yes, viral.

More social signal = More traffic generation

With over a billion active users on social media on a daily basis, it makes all the sense to include social signals into the SEO blueprint right?

Personally, I think social signal is a great tool to measure the 'effectiveness' of that blog post and if it should be ranked well on SERPs.

Advantages of using social media:

Disadvantages of using social media:

Relates read: How I increased my Google+ traffic by over 700% in just 7 days.

3. Content marketing strategy become a more serious business

Content marketing strategy with SEO

If you are not doing content marketing, you are definitely going to lose out in SEO

Business and leisure blogging are much different now compared to the days I first started blogging (2005 to be exact). If you are still doing the old fashion way of blogging, you can kiss your ranking goodbye.

Surviving in this sardine packed industry requires the right content marketing strategies and if you want to beat your competitors.

Wait!

What the hell is content marketing?

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. Source: Wikipedia

For those who have been following my blog posts, you will noticed that I am a huge fan of social media and engagement. In today's world, writing great content is NOT enough! Instead, you need to 'push' the content out the public.

Remember that traffic wouldn't just come by itself ... unless you are one pretty darn famous blogger.

Nowadays, you need to get out of your safe zone and start attracting traffic. Gone were the days where the slow and steady will win the race.

Now, it is all about the brutality, fast and furious who will win the SEO race.

Pro tip: When it comes to content marketing, always remember that if you are putting 100% into your writings, you need to put 200% into marketing it. Great article is nothing when it is not reaching its intended readers.

Advantages of using content marketing:

Disadvantages of using content marketing:

4. The black hat SEO. What ... seriously?

Black hat SEO tips for 2014

White, gray or black hat SEO?

I know it sounds pretty weird to list black hat SEO as point #4 but hear me out.

Basically, black hat SEO consist of (to name a few as examples):

Do you know that you can use the above methods (indirectly) as your SEO techniques for 2014?

How to build backlinks?

How do you build tier backlinks?

To be honest, this is probably a very black hat SEO technique and it's main objective is to 'pass on' the PageRank juice from one website to another. Have a look a the image below for a clearer picture and understanding.

Tier backlink

What is tier backlink and how it works?

I am going to be very honest here. While black hat SEO uses tools to create tier backlinks in less than 60 minutes, doing 'something like this' using white hat SEO techniques could take months.

Yes months!

However, the effect of this tier backlinks (white hat method) could possibly be 100 times better than using any black hat SEO tools. In order to achieve such, you need to build between 10 to 50 blogs. In black hat world, we call this blog network.

Basically, tier 3 blogs are the lowest rank among all the tiers and the quality of the blog and articles increases from tier to tier. This means that:

Tier 3 - Low quality blogs

Tier 2 - Better quality blogs

Tier 1 - Authority blogs

Now, here's the tricky part.

Google hates this as this is clearly a violation and 'misusing' the PageRank distribution. Therefore, my advice is if you want to play with the fire, get ready to get burned.

I am going to stop explaining here as going any further would easily step into the dark and black hat SEO world.

Article curation and spinning at its best

Here's my confession; I am a huge fan of The Best Spinner and it is one of the best spinner tools around especially when you need to do manual spinning (some call it spun).

Spinning or spunning is the term used to rewrite the article in a whole different form. Therefore, you could have one original article and it is divided into several different versions. This is great to increase the number of posts but at the expense of quality.

The Best Spinner has an option to automatically spin the article for you but please refrain yourself from doing that at all cost. Manual spinning is the ONLY way.

Click here to see what The Best Spinner (TBS) is all about!

So, how does this comes into play with SEO 2014?

With over 60 millions blogs out there, there isn't anything called as original article or topics anymore. Everything are being 'spinned' one way or another.

If you want to do well in SEO 2014, you need to know what are the keywords or articles your competitors are doing. Perform some research on how to improve that keyword (maybe by going long tail instead) and you could easily find a winner.

In SEO, it all boils down to timing, trend and quality. You will hit the jackpot if you are able to achieve these three.

Advantages of black hat SEO

Disadvantages of black hat SEO

Popular tool: Find the best and untouched keyword niched using Long Tail Pro

Any other thoughts on what SEO would be like in 2014?

 

If you would have to place a bet on a SEO techniques for 2014, what would that be? Tell me using the comment form below and I am sure, you have better ideas than I do!

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I do. If you find this article useful, feel free to sign up for my newsletter to get notification on all my latest blog posts.

Opps! I Accidentally Increased Google+ Traffic By Over 700% ... But How?

If you think the title was a mistake, no it is not and I am not joking either. I managed to increase Google Plus traffic multiple times in just a very short period of time. To be exact, close to 1000% increase in Google+ referral traffic in just 3 days.

Yes, no black hat SEO and no rocket science needed! All you need is patience and lots of hardwork.

For starters, I was generating all-time-low referral traffic from Google+ and I am well aware that there are many bloggers who are doing so well. Yes, it is no secret now. I was getting around 2 traffic a day from Google+.

That's truth!

So, how do I actually turn the table around and basically, increased my website traffic? I will be explaining to you in a short moment.

Before that, let's go into why you need Google+ traffic to your blog or website.

Why should you focus (at least a little) on Google+?

For those who missed out what Rand posted last week on Moz, you can find it here, Using Google+ to Appear in the Top Results Every Time - Whiteboard Friday.

I read that article not once, not twice but three times and it really made me think, "What will I be missing out if I am not spending time on Google Plus?"

Obviously, traffic and influence to name a few!

With Google+ being the 'backbone' of Google Inc. and a direct competitor to both Facebook and Twitter, I see no reason for me to NOT join the fun. Moreover, some of my closest blogging buddies are already there such as Adrienne Smith, Barry Wells, Harleena Singh and Randy Hilarski.

And so, the journey begins with a video ...

What I did to increase Google Plus traffic by 700%?

Before this, I was partially active on Google+. This means that sharing about 1 - 5 posts on my profile and leaving another 5 more posts on my page. And those posts look like this:

Looks like I didn't do the job well right? Look at the number of +1's and reshare. Just two and they are from my loyal readers!

Epic fail!

Now, this is my improved version of my Google+ share:

Optimized Google Plus post

Now, take your time and compare both. Which looks better and more 'tempting' to click?

Obviously the second one is better right? For me, getting 7 +1's and 1 reshare after just a day posting is definitely a good ROI.

As for the record, I didn't published many posts on Google Plus. Just 1-3 optimized posts a day in general and here's the result comparing several weeks before this.

Increase Google+ traffic

From an average of 15 Google Plus traffic a week, my traffic shoot up to 154 and counting. That's way over 700% and to be honest, it's 1000% more effective ... and in just 3 days (Nov 3 to Nov 5)!

Wait! Guess what? The week isn't over yet and this means that the stats might just continue to rise (fingers crossed).

With my Facebook account filled with tons of spams on my wall (plus I am lazy to get it 'cleaned'), this move was suppose to be my strategy to 'get back' to Google+. Of course, this simple move of mine turned out to be an explosive traffic generator for me! An honest and unexpected incident you call it?

You bet!

How to start growing your Google Plus traffic?

By now, you should be wondering how you can achieve that. Trust me, this is yet to be the grand prize for me. Much more to come ... if you get what I mean.

I never consider Google+ as my normal social media platform. If you want to generate referral traffic from Google+, you need to be active and most importantly, smart.

If you think that you can just be active posting post on your wall just like Facebook, then you are absolutely going the wrong way.

Here are 4 easy ways to build referral traffic using Google+.

1. Google+ Communities

Google+ communities

Participate in relevant Google+ communities to increase web traffic

 

This is my first confession. From the first day of joining Google+ until recently, I have NOT joined any community. Yes, I thought that Google+ was just like other platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Sadly, I am wrong.

If you want to boost traffic to your blog or website, you need to join Google+ communities. Yes!

Google+ is home to hundreds or many thousands of active communities and with so many communities lying around, I know it is crazily hard to choose the right one. Seriously, there's no way out for this.

Grab your favorite coffee (beer for me) and spend at least 60 minutes to stream down a list of Google Plus communities that fits your interest.

Your ultimate goal here is to join the right community for the right purpose; Increase referral traffic and improve your social media presence.

When it comes to choosing the right community, you need to ensure that you are joining:

Through my experience, avoid joining general communities such as 'blogging' or 'SEO'. Usually, most members are just for sharing links. Instead, focus on Google+ communities that are more precised such as 'content writing' or 'social media SEO'.

You need to avoid communities which are:

Yes, these are very tedious job but you may be getting more returns than you can ever image!

2. Sharing quality feedback and serve the community

What's the trick to make people click, +1 and the endless reshare which ultimately become a viral?

Okay let's be honest here. Unless you are that famous, having a strong list of followers or a social media influencer, you won't be getting hundreds/thousands of reshares. However, a goal is still a goal right?

The first step of making your links and post a hit is to always offer quality content. When it comes to generating referral traffic, visibility is always important. You need be a 'servant to the community' before they even notice your presence ... so to say.

This is how I do it on a daily basis:

Important tip: When you are sharing and commenting, make sure that you are tagging the person as well. This improves visibility and encourages the person to engage back. Excellent way to get more reshares.

And this brings me to the next point of mine below.

Related read: The importance of social engagement in SEO

3. Proper way to engage on Google Plus especially on 'hot times'

Now, being a huge Followerwonk user, I don't think that there's an analytics tool out there that could tell you when your readers are most active on Google Plus. If there is one, please tell me!

The only way to understand the 'hot zones' are by watching closely on the engagements. Finding the right time to publish a post (especially with links) could easily multiply your referral traffic without you knowing.

And if you think that sharing an article at the right time is enough, you are terribly wrong my friend.

You need to be specific and use the right CTA. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, you could easily share a related link with just 1 or 2 sentences. However, this is not the case when it comes to Google+.

A highly optimized Google+ post will attracts more readers than you can ever image. Here's what I call a better and more optimized Google+ post:

Increase Google Plus traffic

Provide a longer description, relevant hashtags and quality links on your posts

 

Pro tip: On desktop and mobile view, those Google+ posts and updates will be minimized and thus, you need to think wisely on using the right call to action or CTA. For example, you will be able to see around 4 lines of sentences before it goes 'show more'. Therefore, using the right CTA will play a huge role in determine if your post is 'clickable'.

4. Increase traffic following the current trends

If you want to multiple your Google+ traffic, one of the simplest method is to follow the current trend. For example, I am very active in the social media marketing communities and one of the hottest topic currently is about enabling Google+ vanity URL.

Simply by posting one of my highly related write up on the matter tripled my traffic overnight. And that's what I am trying to say!

Here are some very important tips to double, triple or nuke your Google+ traffic:

Among the 4 tips above, this is probably the hardest among all because we have no idea what will actually 'tick' the readers. I like consider that ... a pandora's box.

Nonetheless, you should always put on your thinking cap to analyze the best bet for your job done.

When it comes to finding the best trend, there are two very simple ways which are:

For me, I usually skip using Google Trend and head straight over to my communities. That is much faster and less time consuming for me.

Read more: 8 Essential Website Optimization Tips That Makes Google Happy

Is Google+ doing any good to you?

The reality remains the same; Different traffic generation techniques, work for different people and that's the truth.

When it comes to Google+, it is all about engagement level and how active you are. If you are thinking of using social media automation techniques, the results might not be as good as the one that you do it manually.

How about you? Do you experienced significant traffic growth when you use Google+? Tell me what you think using the comment form below.

8 (No Brainer) Website Optimization Techniques To Skyrocket Your Blog Ranking

By now, you probably had read a dozen or more website optimization techniques on the web and probably, you are using some of them now. Have you ever wonder what are the recommended website optimization techniques recommended by Google?

From my own experience, I noticed that many optimization techniques nowadays are leaning towards to outsmart Google. They claimed that they have hijacked and even hacked the big G. Truth is ... did they REALLY achieve that?

Matt Cutts even said this a thousand times on his blog and Youtube channel; Don't outsmart Google. Just follow what Google wants and you will be ranking just fine.

Before we go into detail, here is my podcast on the whole topic. Yes, allow me to explain the whole topic in less than 6 minutes.

Google recommended website optimization techniques

When it comes to optimizing your website, it is not wise to over do it. Most of the time, SEO is rather aggregated and this my friends, impacted the search engine world one way or another.

Ever heard about the slow and steady wins the race? The same concept applies to web ranking.

If you think that SEO is tough, you are wrong. This is how you can learn SEO in just 521 seconds.

Through the years, Google had always recommend specific (and repeated) optimization techniques for bloggers and webmasters. Here are a list of them.

1. Content is (still) king

Providing quality content is a great website optimization technique

Quality content is still important especially when it comes to SEO

If you want to rank well, forget about writing for bots. Instead, focus in writing quality articles.

One of the most common question asked by many are "How long should an article with good quality be?"

The answer is ... it is totally up to you. By rule, articles should be at least 600 words. I am a huge fan of longer articles and nearly all my write ups are above 1,000 words. It doesn't mean that just because my write ups are long, I am writing quality articles.

The easiest way to determine that you had done a great job writing is by reading through the draft after several hours of completing it. Read it from a reader's point of view and judge if the article is useful. Personally, I read my drafts 3 times at least in a period range of 48 hours.

Quality control - checked!

Related read: What are the steps to build a high traffic website from scratch?

2. Focusing on the right keywords

SEO keywords play a huge role in terms of website ranking

If you want to rank well on search engines, you need to use the right keywords. I call it, SEO keywords; Basically keywords that has SEO 'properties' in it and would have a better score in search ranking.

With Google Penguin 2.1 update, it is rather useless to put all your money into long tail keywords. The simplest trick is to have a variety of them. Maybe you can use 60% long tail and 40% general keywords ratio for example.

The mistake here is when bloggers focus too much on keywords. Keywords serve as a guidance for bloggers and they are NOT your traffic generator.

Using the right keywords will steer you to the right course and that's it. Even though keywords usage are important for a website, there are many other factors that contribute to this.

So when it comes to keywords, moderation is the key. Focusing on long tail keywords is not wrong but make sure you are focusing on several keywords instead of one.

When it comes to keywords research, Long Tail Pro is one of the best tools out there. However, if you are not affordable for it, this is a complete guide on how to use Google Keyword Planner for your day to day keyword research.

3. Practice proper backlinking methods

Backlinking chain

What is the best backlinking practice for bloggers?

Backlink has been the bread and butter of SEO and it has not changed at all. The biggest issue that make Google 'unhappy' is that there are too many bloggers, affiliate marketers and even webmasters who use black hat tools to build backlinks.

So, why use black hat tools right? The answer is simple; They want to build backlinks fast. Imagine blasting out Tier 1, 2 and 3 links by the thousands daily.

Backlinking should always be done in a moderate way and most importantly, those links must be natural. Building thousands of backlinks overnight will not prove useful and you will just open the backdoor for Google to slap you with penalization.

When you are building backlinks, follow these rules:

4. The importance of internal link building

We all know how important it is to build external backlinks but internal backlinks play a huge role too. Matt Cutts has explained it perfectly well in this video.


Personally, I feel the most important part about website optimization which emphasized by Matt Cutts is that you need to have a good website structure.

A good website structure will help you to:

5. Using the NoFollow tag could boost your website ranking

How many of you actually agree with the above sentence?

The NoFollow tag plays a huge role in terms of website optimization especially when you do not want Google to index a specific link on your page. Those links could ranged from:

Related post: What is NoFollow tag and how it can affects SEO?

6. Make a SEO-friendly URL

Choosing the right permalink can affect website SEO ranking

Choosing the right and clean permalink structure is important

Let me ask you a question, "What is a a SEO-friendly URL?"

Here's two example:

https://www.reginaldchan.net/website-optimization-techniques/

Now tell me. Which looks better and cleaner?

Obviously the second one right? It doesn't only look cleaner but it also makes the website link easier to read. When it comes to selecting a proper URL string or permalink in this nature, it is best not to overdo it.

Most of the time, simplicity is the best.

Pro tip: Use hyphens in URLs and file names, not underscores. Hyphens are treated as a 'space,' while underscores are not.

7. Include a sitemap page

Sitemap or site map; It doesn't matter which is the correct write but you really need one if you want to rank well on search engines.

You have to remember that crawlers or spiders are not able to crawl pages that cannot be crawled. A sitemap will help the spiders to index all the pages while allowing it to determine which is the best and most important pages for your site (great for sitelinks).

Crawlers are just like human. They might get 'lost' if the navigation is too complicated and messy. If your site is large, make several site map pages. Keep each one to less than 100 links.

For best website optimization practise, it is always recommended to submit your sitemap manually once a month to both Google Webmaster Tool and Bing.

Recommended tool to put sitemap creation and submission on autopilot: WordPress SEO by Yoast.

8. Become a student of SEO

What is the basic of SEO?

Have you ever wonder why there are so many channels created by Google Webmaster team? Yes, they want you to learn what is SEO all about!

SEO is ever changing and thus, you should too. There isn't any straightforward way to really rank well on search engines (or else everyone already trying to do that).

The most effective website optimization techniques is to understand what SEO is all about, which you can read it all here. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Dummies.

If you want to improve in SEO or learn more about SEO, it is highly recommended to subscribe to:

Or, you can signup for my newsletter to get the latest SEO strategies below:

 

Did I miss out anything?

I hope you enjoyed these 8 website optimization techniques that truly work for me. However, I am sure there are probably a dozen more of these and feel free to add them up using the comment form below.

If you have not hear my podcast above, here's the link for it again: 8 SEO Techniques Recommended By Google.

Step by step guide in setting up WordPress SEO by Yoast

Search engine optimization or SEO in short is one of the most discussed matter for both bloggers and serious content writers. For those who are using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you are really lucky. It is one of the best free SEO plugins for WordPress and it serves millions of blogs daily.

As easy as it sounds, configuring WordPress SEO by Yoast is challenging and there are probably a dozen or more guides on this topic itself.

Yes, this is how important this plugin is to many bloggers.

Personally, I have been using this plugin since 2005 and it had never failed me (badly) before. Don't be fooled by the years of me using this plugin; I am always finding the best settings for WordPress SEO by Yoast that could bring my website to the next level.

When I redesigned my website recently, I decided that I need to cut down on the number of plugins and I am using more than one SEO plugin. Being a lazy person, I had 'integrated' Scribe SEO, SEOPressor and WP Social Booster Pro into my SEO blueprint as well.

Now, that's 4 different plugins to do one job; SEO. So, I decided that it is time to 'get up from the couch' and do my homework. I basically ditched all of those and left with WordPress SEO.

How to configure WordPress SEO by Yoast

What are the best settings for WordPress SEO?

What are the best settings for WordPress SEO by Yoast?

Listen to me.

WordPress SEO by Yoast is so powerful that the wrong settings could easily disrupt your SEO strategies to dominate the SERPs.

I did many research overtime and found out that there are many different settings that could work depending on your blogging style.

Disclaimer: I had personally tested these settings and they work fine for me. Certainly, I hope these work well for you too.

Generally, WordPress SEO plugin allows you to configure many SEO aspects such as NoFollow and NoIndex. There are things that you need to consider if you are going to enable them.

Dashboard

WordPress SEO by Yoast integrates multiple webmaster tools verification

This part is rather easy. You can decide to enable or disable the tracking as it has no effect on SEO. I am being a security freak and I disallow that. Same goes to the Security settings. However, I highly recommend to enable it if you are running a multi-author blog.

As for the Webmaster Tool settings, copy and paste the meta tags given by the respective sites. As easy as 1, 2 and 3 right?

Titles & Metas

Meta settings for WordPress SEO

As you can see above, I enabled:

Some experts advise to enable the 'Force rewrite titles' but for me, I rather leave it out.

Enabling meta keywords tag is also your decision. Disable this option and you will not need to enter any keywords in posts and pages anymore.

Google does not use meta keywords anymore for ranking. However, other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing still use them but on a very limited basis. Even Yoast recommend to disable it.

1. Homepage settings

How to configure WordPress SEO by Yoast?

For title template, I am using %%sitedesc%% - %%sitename%% but you are free to use your own methods. Some even ditch the sitename since it is just for branding.

As for meta description, I would recommend between 100 to 120 characters count. Remember that this will only be visible for your homepage. This is where you write a simple description of what your website is all about.

If you had enabled meta keywords tag earlier, you would have the option to key in your meta keywords. You may leave it blank or put in your keywords.

2. Post Types

Yoast Post type Settings

Here, ensure that you DO NOT enable noindex and nofollow on Posts and Pages. The rest, you can leave it as it is or by default.

You may or may not change the template settings here as the default is rather good already.

3. Taxonomies

Yoast Taxonomy settings

One of the biggest concern here is to either enable both the noindex and nofollow or enable just one of them.

For me, I enable nofollow for my Tags only.

Do not enable dofollow for both Categories and Tags as this will create duplicate content.

*I am not going into detail for Other tab as no changes needed to be done there.

Social settings

Yoast WordPress SEO makes Open Graph and Twitter Cards setting easy and highly configurable. Yes, Yoast SEO really saves up a lot of 'space' as it replaces many plugins.

1. Facebook

Enable Facebook Open Graph using WordPress SEO by Yoast

As seen above, enable the Open Graph setting and add your Facebook account. Generally speaking, using your personal account is already sufficient. However, you may also link your Facebook page as an admin too.

Last but not least, adding your Facebook page URL into the right column.

2. Twitter

Yoast Twitter Cards

You can use WordPress SEO to configure Twitter Cards as well. All you need to do is to enable the option and key in your Twitter handler. Of course, you would need to apply it at the first place.

Read more about it here; What is Twitter Cards all about?

3. Google+

Yoast Google+ Authorship
So, how about Google+? WordPress SEO by Yoast makes Google authorship easier. All you need to do are:

  1. Ensure your WordPress profile is updated with the right Google author link
  2. Select your Google+ profile via WordPress SEO
  3. Key in your Google+ publisher link (Google+ page) if you have any

Yup! Your Google+ authorship is all set and running.

Related post: How do you enable Google+ custom URL?

XML Sitemap settings

Yoast WordPress SEO has sitemap inbuilt

I know some bloggers use this while other doesn't. If you are using it, you need (or recommended) to enable:

You can find your sitemap by clicking 'XML sitemap' or search for this on your browser: http://yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml

Whenever you update or publish any new posts, Yoast SEO will automatically send the new sitemap to Google Webmaster Tool. All you need to do is to manually submit the sitemap to Bing once a week or so.

Permalinks

Yoast Permalink structure

For this part, do not configure anything else unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing. Changing permalinks on a live site could easily make your links go 404-error.

Recommended settings (enable these):

For the record, both the settings above are recommended and highly optional.

Internal Links

Yoast Breadcrumbs settings

This is the breadcrumbs settings. You can enable or disable it according to your liking. For those using Genesis Framework, breadcrumbs are pre-installed and just like WordPress SEO, you can just tick to enable or disable it from the Genesis settings.

If you have no idea what this is, it is absolutely safe to disable it.

RSS settings

What is the best settings for WordPress SEO by Yoast?

This basically configures your RSS settings. Just like the above, if you have no idea what this is all about, then just leave it alone.

Congratulation! You have successfully configured your WordPress SEO

Phew, that was long right? Basically configuring WordPress SEO is rather easy. Once you had set it up, you can basically leave it alone for a long, long time.

Remember that WordPress SEO or any SEO plugins doesn't help you directly in terms of improving your ranks. These SEO tools usually helps to provide crucial suggestions to further optimize your blog post.

Now, over to you. Do you have any special WordPress SEO settings you would like to share? Tell me more using the comment form below!

What Is Google+ Custom URL And How To Enable It?

What the heck is Google+ custom URL? In short, Google+ custom URL is a new 'face lift' for the old and long Google URL. When it comes to linking my Google+ account with any other services (where you need to provide the URL), it is a huge hassle for me. Firstly, the URL string is long and secondly, I need to login to my Google+ account just to find the exact URL.

A lot of work right?

Introducing the all-new Google+ Custom URL

What is Google Plus custom URL?

What is Google+ custom URL?

With the Google+ custom URL, everything becomes shorter and easier. This is how my Google+ URL string looks like (before and after):

Before - http://plus.google.com/100463551691770040057

After -

Now ask yourself something, isn't this cool?

For me, it was a blessing in the skies. How on Earth could I (or anyone in this matter) remember '100463551691770040057' as my Google URL link?

Therefore, having to add +ReginaldChan at the back is REALLY helpful indeed

Now, if you are really interested to know more about this program, you can head over to this article here.

Oh wait, you want a quick rundown of it instead of reading it? Check out the video and detailed guide below:

Requirements to get a Google+ Custom URL

This program will roll out to nearly all Google Plus members but it will go on batches. In order to be in the first batch (or getting eligible as soon as possible), you need to satisfy these requirements for your Google+ personal profile:

And there are two simple ways you can get your own Google Plus Custom URL which are:

  1. Direct email notification from Google (check your inbox now!)
  2. Login to your Google+ account and head over to your profile page

The direct email notification is rather straight forward and all you need to do is to click 'Get URL'. The rest are self explanatory. Kim did a great explanation here if you require additional information.

However, I was unlucky was I did not receive any emails and I thought to go with method #2; Applying myself.

All you need to do are:

  1. Login your Google+ account
  2. Select Home > Profile
  3. If you are eligible, you will see a blue colour floating bar on the top of the screen asking you to apply for it.

By default, Google+ will provide +yourname and if you would want to change it, that is your ONLY chance to change it.

You can only change Google+ custom URL once.

Yes, once the custom URL is set, there is NO WAY of changing it back. So think twice, my friends.

You only have one chance to change Google+ custom URL

Confirming your Google+ custom URL takes less than 5 minutes to complete

Once you are all done with the selection and happy with your new chosen URL, you will see this box:

Verify that's the custom URL you want and hit 'Confirm Choice'.

Wait for the screen to refresh as Google need to verify that the URL chosen is still available ... which will takes less than 5 seconds and leading to this page:

The new Google Plus custom URL provides better and shorter URL string

You'll receive notification once the change is completed

Walaa~ You are done!

Wait a minute ... how about local Google+ pages and non-local Google+ pages?

How does Google+ custom URL work?

Basically, it makes a long string of URL (numeric) to something shorter and more memorable. Google+ custom URL also works well in terms of categorizing your links such as:

For me, it takes sharing easier and yes, putting Google+ up on par with other social media platforms. Could this possibly be a way Google want to compete with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?

If you are wondering what happens to your old URL, don't worry. Everything is now redirected to your new custom URL.

You might also want to read Google+ Is Rolling Out Custom URLs To Make It Short And Sweet [ Claim Your's ] by Amal Rafeeq.

Over to you

Have you enabled your Google Plus custom URL? If yes, what you think about it? Tell me using the comment form below.

Master These Organic SEO Strategies And SEO Tools To Dominate SERPs

If you thought that Google Hummingbird was the only surprise for us, you are terribly wrong. In just a short period of time, Google had released two huge updates (with Google Penguin 2.1 as the latest) which had basically shaken the whole blogging industry.

I cursed and swear at Google as I was hit not once but twice which affected me dearly. Both my affiliate revenue and traffic plunged down the ravine and it certainly felt like it's the end of the world. Of course, I tried my best and kept the anger under wraps with this post.

Here's a quick recap of what I think about both the updates:

Google Hummingbird - focused on small sites that are ranking rather well even though they are new

Google Penguin 2.1 - focused on longer and more specific search queries

So, how did Google updates affected my blog?

I lost 50% of my keywords ranking, 75% daily impression count and my earnings was affected so badly.

Yup, it sucks to be me right? Haha!

What do we know about Google Hummingbird?

What is the effect of Google Hummingbird towards bloggers?

Google Hummingbird was released from the cage for that one main reason only; Penalizing and slapping hard on sites which are relatively new but are ranking very well.

Most websites that are affected are mainly:

The above really smells like Google is doing some 'cleaning up' on micro niche sites. Frankly, a huge number of micro niche sites experienced between 30 - 70% traffic drop thanks to the Google Hummingbird update.

Why did micro niche sites get affected so badly?

The answer is easy. It is a known fact that most of these sites are ranking well thanks to focusing on keywords only and not facts. Even though no black hat tools are involved, certainly this is definitely not one of those SEO techniques recommended by Google.

Consider this as affecting the balance and ecosystem of search queries.

And it didn't stop there! Google releases a new update called shortly after.

Read more about Google Hummingbird:

The wrath of Google Penguin 2.1

Google Penguin 2.1 update was more than just filtering out web spam

Personally, I call Google Penguin 2.1 as 'the perfect storm'.

For those who missed out what Matt Cutts tweeted on that day, here's the snippet of it:

I read this when I was having my lunch and ... I nearly choked on my food.

Google and Matt Cutts said that it was focused on improving search queries and ensure that Google is returning more quality search results. Okay, that part is correct.

However, does it has a hidden agenda behind those words?

Yes, think hard my friend.

When Hummingbird was released, do you remember seeing people's tweet and Facebook status updates that they are not seeing much traffic lost even though they are running niche sites?

And guess what happened after Google Penguin 2.1 was released. Traffic was scaling down and so does the earning.

More read:

The secret organic SEO strategies to use after Google Penguin 2.1

Organic SEO strategies will help increase website ranking on search engines

Do you REALLY want to know what are the organic SEO techniques after Google Penguin update?

I hate Google a lot and this not because of their frequent updates. It is because every time an update take place, I am off to my secret room down the basement and start planning my next SEO blueprint.

I realized that there are probably hundreds of do's and dont's on the best SEO techniques after Google Penguin and you are free to follow any of those that deem fit. However, remember that what I am sharing with you below are mostly organic SEO strategies which could have a very positive impact on your blog.

Here are simple list of my recommended organic SEO strategies to counter attack Google Penguin 2.1 and possibly, any other future updates too (if lucky).

If you are still wondering what is organic SEO, I have explained it using the video below:

1. Goodbye PageRank, Page Rank or PR

PageRank is one of the most discussed topic when it comes to SEO. Seriously speaking, we are all thinking too much about it! Yes, even I do too!

Deny all you want people but trust me, PageRank is going down soon.

Currently, PageRank isn't dead and it is still functional because there are too many algorithms counting on it. Google updates each website's PageRank on a daily basis (backend) but the information is not shared out to the public.

Sharing this info out will possibly bring millions of dollars in revenue to SEO agencies around the world and indirectly, messing up the whole SEO ecosystem.

Here's my take: Google will soon remove PageRank and in return, substituting PR with Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA). Plus, I am expecting this to happen somewhere in 2014 or 2015 latest.

What do you think?

Adesanmi Adedotun wrote an interesting write up and discussion on this and you can check it out here.

2. Hello Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA)

Both of these have long been in this industry and still, it is very surprising that not many people who actually know about them.

Domain Authority is your root domain score and it is calculated based on the number of links pointing towards it. The higher the authority of that link, the more 'points' added to the Domain Authority.

Page Authority on the other hand is the score of your article. The score is calculated exactly like Domain Authority.

Now, do you know that both Domain Authority and Page Authority are inter-related to one another?

For example, having a higher DA score could possibly increase your PA score and vise versa.

Does this makes any sense to you?

Resources:

3. Old school link building technique

Backlink or link building isn't dead yet. Forget about what other SEO experts are saying.

The more links you are building for your website, the better it would be. However, there's something seriously important when you are thinking of building links.

You need to focus on two very important factors which are:

  1. Linking to your domain page (example - https://www.reginaldchan.net) [also known as Domain Authority or DA]
  2. Linking to your article page (example - https://www.reginaldchan.net/social-engagement-website-traffic-seo) [also known as Page Authority or PA]

Okay, by now your mind should be telling that you NEED to start commenting the hell out of every CommentLuv website you can ever find to get backlink.

Think again guys.

Personally, I comment on every site that I like and enjoy. It doesn't matter if they are using Disqus, Livefyre or Google+ comment system.

Leaving good comment doesn't only increase the chance of traffic but as well as getting a indirect link back to your article.

For those who are thinking of using CommentLuv comment plugin, this article will explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of CommentLuv plugin.

Relevant guides:

4. Confession of a guest blogger

How many of you publish a guest posting just for backlinks? Come on guys, put up your hands.

The truth is, guest posting is a great way to build backlinks. The bigger truth is you aren't getting a backlink on your guest posting if your writing sucks.

Okay, I am know I might sound bold and straight forward here but hear me out. What's the point of submitting for a guest posting if you know that you are NOT going to get approved?

You are not only going to waste your time but as well as the editors too.

Now, back to the topic. Guest posting is a good way to build trust and yes, backlinks if you are doing it correctly. The right way for guest posting is to ensure that you are constantly writing quality write ups and be very specific with your anchor texts.

Don't just focus everything on 'blogging tips' or 'SEO strategies' for example. Instead, ensure that your links are given a variety of anchor texts.

Secret stash: Important checklists when it comes to guest posting.

5. Could social signal be the next new SEO?

Do you know your articles get ranked better if there are more social shares and engagements?

Reality is that I don't have the enough data to prove that but through my short experiments done recently, I noticed those articles of mine who receive 100 or 200 social shares get ranked better on search engines compared to the rest.

There are probably tons of websites talking about social signal and the importance of social share as we speak. Personally, I don't think this is something you should ignore.

So, how do you REALLY get more social shares?

In order to get more social shares, you need to:

When it comes to social media, you do not need to spend all your time on all the social media platforms. Instead, focus on those who gives you the best ROI (return of investment).

Here are a few articles to help you get started:

6. Bill Gates said that "content is king"

You probably hear this saying in nearly every blogging site you came across. The truth is very real and content is more important than ever.

Do you think that you can get better ranks, backlinks and social shares with low quality articles?

Obviously not! In today's blogging world, you need more than just good content. You need GREAT contents and accompanied by proven facts and data. That is one of the reasons why I have a rather strict guest post requirements.

Just have a look at any of CopyBlogger's articles. They are sardine packed with facts and proven test results. Well, it is a great tactic since humans are easily attracted to images and stats compared to the plain ol' wall-of-text.

Writing content is an art and usually, it is called content writing. To be a good blogger, you need to know:

Anyone can become a great content writer. All you need are a dying passion and burning flame of enthusiasm.

Great resource: Content & Search Engine Success Factors

To recap, this is what organic SEO is all about ... in slides!

Popular weapons to build more organic SEO strategies

If your blog is hit or affected by Google Penguin 2.1, it is time that you need to take your SEO to the next level. You may use Yoast SEO for your WordPress but personally, that could only help you that far.

I am talking about precise SEO ... SEO tools that are easy to use and possibly, beating most competitors out there.

1. Scribe - Content Optimization Software for Online Marketing

Scribe: More Traffic in Less Time

Scribe offers out of the box content optimization that works within seconds. Basically, Scribe SEO (as what it is called) analyzes your keywords, full written article and the whole website itself.

It will then generate a Page Score and Site Score which you can use to further optimize or improve the article.

Scribe SEO doesn't only analyze your article but the whole website itself. Besides that, Scribe SEO also offers:

Scribe SEO is focused to ensure that your articles and websites get a better rank on search engines and dominate the search results. And because of this, Scribe SEO comes with a pretty hefty price tag of $97 per month.

Have a look at what Scribe can do for you (plus a demo video too) or read my write up on 'The most efficient SEO tool for website optimization'.

2. SEOPressor - The Best SEO Plugin

I would always consider SEOPressor as a cheaper alternative for Scribe SEO. SEOPressor works in a pretty similar way compared to Scribe SEO and it really makes content optimization easier.

SEOPressor makes content optimization easier thanks to easier and straight forward user interface.

It offers:

SEOPressor is a great choice for bloggers especially if you are looking for a SEO tool that has all-in-one package when it comes to optimization.

With the one time payment of $97, SEOPressor makes it easier for you to plan your organic SEO strategies without hassle and with the one-click function, it makes novice bloggers look great when it comes to SEO.

Check out SEOPressor here and sign up for the 14-days free trial.

Share with me your thoughts

I know how much Google Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 had affected all of you. The biggest question is, what did you do to improve your website ranking? Did you have any organic SEO strategies that you would like to share with us all?