Month: November 2017

14 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress Sites in 2017

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Editor's Note: Alex Levitov curates the online publication Beautiful Life. Today he joins us to comment on the importance of SEO for a stable web presence, and to count the best SEO plugins for WordPress blogs in 2017.

 

Designing and handling a website is no easy task. There are certainly many user-friendly drag and drop website builders and customization options available nowadays; but at the end of the day, it is SEO that makes all the difference in traffic.

Your website can have a great design and incredible content, but if it does not rank highly for your target keywords on any of the popular search engines, traffic will still be hard to come by. The truth is, SEO can make or break a website.

A high SEO score automatically brings your site higher traffic and gives it better visibility. Fortunately, for entrepreneurs who use WordPress to manage their site or blog, there are plenty of simple plugins to help with the job of optimizing SEO.

Today, we are sharing our top 14 picks for SEO plugins in 2017, listed in no particular order -

1. Yoast

Yoast easily ranks among the best WordPress SEO plugins by offering all the basic features required to optimize your website to the fullest. Other than regular functions such as a keyword searcher and integrated editor, Yoast offers XML sitemap generation and submission, Google Analytics, on-page analysis, real-time tracking and so much more.

On-page analysis allows you to instantly gauge the position and ranking of any given content on your WordPress blog. It also gives you a preview of optimized content before it is published. You can even add and manage social media links and URLs for better web presence. Free, flexible, and easy to use, Yoast is great for beginners and professionals alike.

2. Akismet

Akismet for WordPress is an SEO plugin that is completely free, open source and easy to handle. The software will help you to clean out spam comments and safeguard your site against malicious content. Spam comments are usually submitted to your site by users and other websites either to exploit visible space for promotional purposes, or to deliberately hijack your content - either way, the effect on SEO is not desirable.

With Akismet, you can check the source and history of all comments and user profiles that have visited or connected with your website. The plugin provides a free trial version for personal blogs and a paid version for commercial sites.

3. Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps boosts page ranking and SEO of your WordPress web pages by submitting your website information to all popular search engines including Bing, Yahoo, Google and others. It generates quick reports stating the intent and structure of the site to enable quicker and easier access to search engine scrapers.

A good website builder with SEO features will offer built-in XML mapping features, but if you’re using WordPress, special plugins are the only way to go. XML Sitemaps supports all WordPress custom URLs, and issues a prompt notification to search engines every time you publish a new post or add a new page. You can also use the plugin to add internal links, get better indexing features, and insert rich snippets without compromising the speed or efficiency of your website.

4. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics Dashboard is an indispensable tool for any webmaster, but especially for online marketers. It is primarily used  to help gauge the overall reach and performance of your website by reporting exactly where you stand with respect to many values, such as traffic, bounce rates, and more.

Google Analytics Dashboard creates detailed reports of your site's problem areas, and loose sections of content that need improvement. The tool enables users to track traffic sources, number of visitors, acquire new channels and optimize pages based on these insights. All in all, this plugin is a must-have for anyone who wants to optimize their WordPress site.

5. Premium SEO Pack

Premium SEO Pack is a good choice for any established WordPress sites that could benefit from advanced solutions for enhancing the visibility of their content online. SEO Premium Pack makes it easier to create quality websites and get higher rankings on search engines. The plugin also includes features for improving content monetization.

Using the minification option can quickly boost the speed, user-friendliness, and SEO appeal of a website. The plugin will also help to identify and remove 404 errors as well as 301 redirects.

6. All In One Schema Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets enables you to enhance the description of your website that appears on the results page of any search engine. Using the plugin, you can customize fonts, add color, images, star ratings, pricing, authors and many other details to make your site stand out from the crowd. Rich Snippets is a quick, efficient way to bring in more visitors by giving your site a better, more professional appearance in search results.

7. SEOPressor

SEOPressor is another powerful WordPress plugin that lets you customize and optimise your content for better SEO. Here, you can find the most useful keywords related to a topic, analyze the readability of content, and make it easier to index for search bots. A keyword search tool is integrated into the plugin and assists you in creating high-quality content. You can then score the content and analyze its overall appeal to readers.

8. WP Meta SEO

WP Meta SEO is a perfect tool for both professional and casual bloggers. For starters, the dashboard is loaded with functionalities that allow you check the page ranking and reach of content. Secondly, the plugin enables you to customize meta titles, descriptions and other technical aspects of your website easily. Finally, WP Meta SEO allows users to edit content in bulk: multiple items can be corrected for common errors, and analyzed for suggested improvements.

9. SEO Ultimate

SEO Ultimate is for all the web developers, coders and software experts out there who love tweaking the basic HTML5 coding or CSS stylesheets of a website. With this WordPress plugin, you can customize meta descriptions and control open-graph. The tool also enables rich snippets, 404 monitoring, and auto-linking functions. It improves the overall appearance of a website and increases the click-through rates in Google search results.

10. W3 Total Cache

If you are having trouble bringing up your SEO rank, it may have something to do with poor website design. While an SEO rank is determined in part by the popularity and performance of a website, page loading speed and user-friendliness are also major factors that Google emphasizes since users tend to click away from sites that are poorly optimized in these areas. W3 Total Cache improves the overall performance of a site by making it score well in the technical aspects of SEO.

11. Rankie

Rankie, while not a normal SEO plugin, is nevertheless an important tool for monitoring and boosting your SEO page ranking. It gives you valuable feedback and stats about the overall performance, reach and exposure of your site on a weekly or monthly basis.

This data is fairly insightful, and very useful for developing SEO friendly content as well as improving old content for better SEO traction. Rankie also tracks keyword usage, which will help site owners to navigate the best way forward in terms of writing and publishing new content.

12. SEO Squirrly

One of the best ways to generate more traffic is by posting fresh, authentic, and trendy content. The SEO Squirrly plugin helps you with just that. Keywords are the core of an SEO strategy: including popular and relevant keywords not only boosts the readability of content but also increases page ranking. Squirrly optimizes a website by checking for keywords in important sections of the content such as title, URL, sub-headings etc. It also tracks all aspects of your SEO marketing strategy and gives you a weekly report on how you’re faring.

13. Redirection

404 errors, exceptions and redirections are some of the worst nightmares for a web developer. No one wants to spend time on a platform that doesn't give easy and immediate access to desired pages. With the Redirection plugin, you can tighten up the loose ends of your WordPress website.

This SEO plugin is especially helpful for users who plan on migrating content from a former WordPress directory or any former website. The custom "pass-through" redirection function, for instance, lets you pass through a URL into another site or file. It also collects all the 404 error logs and maps them with 301 redirects, ensuring that your website runs as smoothly as possible at all times.

14. AMP for WP

Gone are the days when a majority of people used desktop computers for Internet searches; today, most of them use smartphones for browsing websites. Your website has to be compatible with other devices and platforms to make the most of a wide viewer base. To this end, the AMP for WP plugin is an indispensable SEO solution that enhances the speed and design of your WordPress website immensely.

The Custom AMP editor also allows you to personalize your site, add content, and change fonts for mobile devices with just a few clicks. The plugin also comes with solid Google Analytics integration for better performance tracking and management.

To learn more about optimizing your WordPress site for SEO, check out our classes on the following topics:

SEO For Business Owners

The Primary Social Media Platforms: Blogging Platforms

Search Engine Optimization: How Understanding Your Analytics Gives You The Edge

Convert More Website Visitors into Customers: Best Practices for Usability and Analytics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 


 


Realtor Checklist for Digital Marketing Success [Infographic]

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Digital technology has revolutionized every sector of business and industry from the top down; real estate is no different. However, thanks to deeply rooted traditions, some realtors find it hard to bring their marketing strategies from catalogs and yard signs to the Internet. While hesitance to embrace new methods might make sense to some real estate agents, consumers are increasingly expecting a more digital experience, which is the best reason for real estate agents to be forward thinking

According to recent statistics,

  • 80% of home buyers go online to find new properties
  • 83% of home buyers want to see pictures of a property online early in the research process
  • 42% of home buyers looked online before signing a contract

This information demonstrates a clear and convincing trend: modern house shoppers want and trust realtors with a web presence.

To help you infuse your realty business with a digital marketing strategy and web presence, we have created an infographic checklist with everything you need to remember for success.

To receive this information, simply provide us with your name and email address below!

 

 


How to Make Your Website Faster and Keep More Visitors [Infographic]

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Editor's Note: Kara Whitaker is an author with Ghergich & Co. She joins us today to discuss the dangers of page latency, and what you can do to fix a slow website. A version of this article first appeared at AppDynamics.

 

The internet is a tremendous resource with lots of competition. Unless you have the right combination of search terms, appealing graphics and interesting information, it's easy to get passed by with nary a click. But once you have all of these elements, there's still a simple danger that webmasters and marketers tend to overlook: poor loading time.

According to statistics, the first few seconds can be the most important factor in your website's visitor retention and bounce rate:

  • Decreasing your load time by 1 second can increase conversion rates by 27%
  • More than 50% of visitors with mobile browsers will abandon pages that take more than three seconds to load
  • 1 in 5 users who leave your website will never come back

The moments that pass after a prospect hits enter and before your website appears are absolutely invaluable, and as a result, optimizing pages so they load faster is imperative for any viable web presence.

Why Visitors Leave (And Never Return!)

Think about the last time you abandoned a web page; more than likely you were underwhelmed by how quickly the page loaded. Your patience tested, you decided to leave and spend your precious time somewhere else.

Almost every time this happens, one culprit is to blame: too much page weight. Page weight is a measure of all the elements required to render a webpage in a browser. A client's computer, phone or tablet has to download images, scripts, custom fonts, text and more before everything is correctly loaded.

As we have shown, the more seconds you make visitors wait, the more you risk them leaving your site for good. By following bad design methods or hiring a developer on the cheap, it's easy to fill your site with bloat that it doesn't need. If you don’t fix your page weight, you might enter the pantheon of sites that consumers abandon by a rate of one in five.

In order to evaluate where your page weight should be and how it can be improved, you should evaluate where you currently are. There are a number of different tools that can help you do that before taking steps to fixing the problem.

To help you along the way, we have prepared a simple infographic for reference. Here are the main points first:

Fix Hefty Images

Audio-visual content is usually the most hefty element of any website in terms of bandwidth and filesize. When uploading images to your site, make sure of the following:

  • Don't use larger images than you need to; a button that appears as 100 x 100 pixels doesn't need to be stored as 500 x 500. If you are worried about losing resolution when you need it down the road, store larger images locally, and keep the smaller ones on your site.
  • Use good compression methods to cut down the filesize of images by orders of magnitude. Most modern photo editing software - including Photoshop - has a way to do this, and there are also free tools like Image Optimizer.
  • Compression can even be built into your website so that files can be sent in a smaller size, and expanded on the client side of things. Enable gzip on your server if you haven't already.

Reduce HTTP Requests

Every time a client's browser has to download a new resource with a new link, this adds loading time. Over the long run, the lag can build to unacceptable levels - there are a few ways to mitigate this problem:

  • Avoid pages with redirects; keep links on your website up to date so clients can access any page - especially the landing page - directly. If their browser has to jump somewhere else, this doubles the time it takes for the final page to load.
  • Concatenate CSS files - CSS is the code your website uses to load styles and formatting. Many websites have multiple CSS files for different purposes, but this is poor practice since it adds more elements that a browser has to access before a page loads. By concatenating CSS scripts, your website will only need one large CSS file to load all your style elements.
  • Use image sprites - much like CSS, many websites store separate images when they can actually be included in one file. This generally won't work for large, important images; but by using a single sprite that includes all of your web icons, you can cut down on the number of files a browser has to load.

Optimize Your Network

Sometimes loading times are bad for the simple reason that your clients are separated from your website by thousands of miles, and their devices just aren't good enough to access your site quickly. There are some simple fixes -

  • Use a content delivery system that will stripe your website's heaviest elements across servers around the world. This will ensure that clients are always close enough to load them quickly, without the added burden of latency.
  • Trim page weight for mobile users - a very important market segment - by using responsive web design; make sure that your website has a mobile version at the very least so visitors with smaller, weaker devices are not hampered by a website designed for desktops computers.
  • Use browser caching so that when visitors navigate to different parts of your site, they will not have to reload the same elements again. This will also ensure that repeat visitors have a much faster load time, depending on how long their browser cache lasts.

With that said, here's a simple infographic with the most important information and resources you need to get started. Feel free to download and share with colleagues or friends -

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Convert More Website Visitors into Customers: Best Practices for Usability and Analytics

Landing Page Optimization for B2B Marketing

Engaging with Mobile Marketing: Create Responsive Designs

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

 


Social Media Marketing For a Millennial Audience

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Editor's Note: Luisa Brenton is a former brand developer, and currently works as an educational blogger. Today she joins us to discuss how brands can more effectively tailor their social media marketing strategies to a millennial demographic.

 

Whenever developing a marketing strategy, brands should spend time considering their target demographic. Unsurprisingly, selling products and services to millennials requires a very different approach than launching a generic social marketing strategy and waiting for results.

While every individual is different, two rules generally apply to millennials: first, they want to feel your brand has a vested interest in them before they commit to any services that you might provide. Second, they differentiate themselves from other consumer generations with high interactivity and an open nature towards new technology and customer engagement.

From these two facts, it's obvious that catering to the needs of a millennial target audience through social media is important. And while this can sometimes be a difficult task, it's not impossible, and not nearly as hard as some commentators pretend. In this article, we'll look at some important aspects of consumer psychology with millennials in mind, and how they can be applied to your social media marketing strategy. Let's get started -

Digital shopping

Millennials are known for shopping online instead of using retail stores for their needs. They would prefer to order a product with a few easy clicks than wait for it to arrive in the mail. This means that an e-commerce website for your company is a must if you hope to target millennials as your primary customer base.

The generation in question values interactivity and versatility, and pushing that message on social media is a great way to attract them. For example, consider including direct links to your online store in any published content on your blog (you do have one, don’t you?). Similarly, including content that promotes digital shopping and featuring a blog on your website which showcases the possibilities of digital shopping will make your brand stand out in the eyes of your customer base.

New feature adoption

The millennial generation is defined by the adoption of new technologies. They were born at the dawn of a technological revolution, and this is a motif to reference in your social marketing outreach. 

The truth is that most of us carry smartphones wherever we go. Use that to your advantage and focus on new, unexplored marketing strategies that will attract a new generation of consumers to your brand. While you might have detractors in the form of an older demographic and people who are accustomed to more traditional means of marketing, the millennial generation will embrace it wholeheartedly.

Platform doesn’t dictate information

Information should be the same no matter what platform you publish it on. This is a stance that millennials have largely taken when it comes to receiving marketing messages and consuming content online in general.

This means that the information in your Facebook ads shouldn't be different from that in your Instagram posts, and video commercials shouldn’t have fundamentally different content than email marketing messages. Any form of marketing that you employ should focus around the same key message that you have developed before your campaign started. If you aren't sure how to develop an effective message, hiring a writer can be helpful.

A unified message - whether it is published to LinkedIn or Tumblr - should sound and feel genuinely the same. This is one way to attract the millennial generation with your social media marketing and ensure that your credibility stays high and safe from any doubts.

Social media engagement

Posting content on social media and hoping for the best won’t be enough if you want millennials to buy and use your products. Customer engagement is still a fairly new subject on the digital marketing playground, but it certainly makes a difference.

For example, responding to customers via private messages, live Q&A, and comments on posts will publicly will raise the awareness of your brand by allowing you to discuss products and questions that your audience might have. Best of all, millennials around the world will be more willing to accept your product as adequate for their needs and ways of thinking.

Even something as simple as using emoticons on social media to answer a customer query can help you to establish a friendly tone with your audience and ensure that you are seen as positive and communicative. Showing a level of interactivity and willingness to treat people like equals is crucial to the millennial generation, and something that shouldn’t be overlooked in your social media marketing.

Simpler is usually better

You might think that detailed and complex marketing content with huge amounts of data can help you win over new customers. But as a matter of fact, the more irrelevant content you include in your content, the more likely you are to divert your audience to a different brand. This is because customers - especially millennials - want simplicity and directness without any sales pitches that might sound forced or generalized.

Simplifying your marketing message and including any detailed content behind a click barrier is always a smarter way to promote new content. This will ensure that people who want to know more do so by clicking on a link, leaving others with an overview of the content you are trying to promote, but not forcing anything on them.

Paid marketing content

Contrary to common opinion, millennials are open to both advertisement and paid, promotional content. In fact, relying too much on organically marketed content can backfire if it is not upfront about its intention to bring in business. Paid content ensures a level of curation from your side, and anything they see will look professional and properly targeted.

Hiring a marketing expert and creating original content may not be in your predicted budget, but if you want to attract millennials, this is an aspect of marketing to consider seriously. Facebook and Instagram ads use demographic data to ensure the maximum effectiveness of any content that reaches users, meaning that they can be used to easily target millennials and give them the content they would prefer to see in their feeds.

Conclusion

Best practices for reaching the millennial generation will continue to evolve just like the generation itself. But while newer generations will always have different worldviews than the ones that came before, some basic rules of social media marketing will always stay the same.

Make sure to include test groups in your marketing strategy and try pushing new content to controlled groups of millennials before publishing them to anyone else. By acting on informed strategy rather than assumptions, you will save money in the process and ensure that your brand gets even more recognition from the people you want to reach most.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

How to Market to Millennials, a Practical Guide to Instagram and Snapchat: How Grubhub Rocks the Apps for Millennials

Fundamentals of Business Blogging

Testing, Behavioral Analytics & Metrics Best Practices

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market