You have probably seen this popup from time to time and not really sure what it means.
SSL stands for Secured Sockets Layer. An SSL Certificate is issued by a reputable service that proves you are the owner of the domain name is question and also activates the security settings on the user’s browser. What the certificate does is alert your browser that the site it is currently visiting has security enabled. The browser will then react if it detects anything that is not secured. You may have noticed when visiting a site and the browser immediately stops you with a warning that the site is not secured.
In the past you inly needed an SSL certificate if you were handle sensitive data like credit card information for a purchase or if you were entering sensitive information like Social Security Numbers or birth information that hackers could use to steal your identity.
Today however SSL certificates are required for all websites. You can tell if a site is not secured as the little padlock will not show near the URL. So now you may ask yourself why do I need one? I don’t handle any critical information.
The answer to that is varied: First, Google now requests that all websites have a certificate for increased security. Google will lower your search rankings if you do not have an SSL certificate for your website. Second, browsers now could block the display of your site. I had a client that found their site blocked by Microsoft Edge because someone had submitted a report that they were doing shady things on the site. It was unsubstantiated, but the impact was the same. They had to request to be unblocked and that took a week to accomplish but the results were the site could not be reached using Microsoft Edge. Using another browser like Chrome had no effect but SSL certificates make a difference. Third, I have actually seen users leave a site because as soon as they saw the unsecured message, they ran from the site like they had been exposed to the plague!
Basic SSL certificates are free so it does not cost anything to have one and it gives some users peace of mind that all is well with your website.
Advanced SSL certificates do cost and it can be between $200-500 in price annually. These certificates are usually for monetary transactions. The SSL certificate not only secures the site, but it also shows that the site has been vetted by a security company and deemed safe to do business with them.
Your website hosting company can usually help you with the process to get the SSL certificate and it can be as simple as a button click. Find out what their process is for getting secured before you spend a ton of money doing it.
If you have more questions, let us know as we are glad to help!
In today’s world people often wonder how social media impacts their findability on Google searches. Here are some important things to know:
- Google is the number one search engine (80% of all searches in the world) so I recommend doing whatever Google suggests.
- Get a Google Plus profile set up for your business. No one in any real measurable sense is using google plus, but just having an account and pointing your website to it makes Google happy and they bump up your rankings just for doing it. Also having people follow you bumps the numbers up as well.
- LinkedIn is a B2B (business to business) form of social media. It is here for business and people have gotten jobs and referrals from it. Also Google rankings like to see inbound links to your website and this is just another way to get those important inbound links. An inbound link is a website out in cyberspace that links back to your website. The higher they rank, the more important that inbound link is to your website. The best inbound links are websites that are considered an authority. LinkedIn would be considered an authority. How can you be sure about the authority? A website called Page Rank Checker helps (prchecker.info). It gives a rank from N/A or 0 of no rank all the way to 10. A 10 being google so no one gets that rank. Rank your site and rank the site of those inbound links.
- Facebook is more people to people but businesses have been in there now for a while and getting people to like and follow your page is great exposure for your business. I had a client who had 1,500 followers for their local store. They post once a day or every other day. The things they posted were new things in the store or special events. It worked because people would show up to see the new stuff or check out the new deals. As my daughter once said “Pictures! Or it didn’t happen!”. Post pictures and even videos if you can. A good image or video always gets good response over plain text. Facebook also offers analytics to see when and who is looking at your posts. You can even post 5 things at once and set a timer to post one at a time for 5 days.
- Twitter is a a good one for by the minute responses. I there was a tire store that had a twitter account but they also had a program called TweetDeck which allow them to have key words monitoring. So if someone mentioned their name for example, an alert would pop up. A lady was in the waiting room waiting for her car to be worked on. She tweeted the name of the tire shop and complained about the long wait. Within moments a response came back from the tire store apologizing for the delay and offering a discount for the trouble. THAT IS POWERFUL STUFF! That instantly turned a complaint into a praise live on the internet.
The key to social media is to pick two or three to be involved and then post appropriately. Google plus? Check it once a week or every other week. LinkedIn? Once a week. Twitter? have a program like TweetDeck monitoring it. Facebook? check daily but limit it to 15 minutes a day. Post and check your analytics.
Social media can certainly enhance your website, but yo have to be disciplined about it. Or get yourself an expert who can do it for you!
I have heard a lot of controversy over CMS systems trying to do SEO. But before we get started, let’s talk terms!
CMS stands for Content Management System and SEO is Search Engine Optimization.
A CMS website is basically a website with a built-in editor. WordPress is a great example of that. You do not need a website editor when using a WordPress website. It looks just like MS Word when editing and posting. But there are many other CMS websites out there in many different styles. Another advantage is that CMS sites make it easy to change the look and feel of the website. Simple change the template and the whole site looks new. I have heard so-called SEO experts pan CMS websites as a blight or failure to be able to properly configure for search engine friendliness. Picture a wine snob looking at a beer patron.
The truth of the matter is that if the CMS system is a good one, SEO will be part of the package! In the case of WordPress it just a plugin away from being useful.
The trick here is to know what your options are. You may have to do some searching but no doubt that if the CMS website is worth anything, it will have it. I have had lots of experience searching so if any of you have issues or porblems, let me know. Do not let some stuffy SEO snob say that your CMS website is no good. They may be right but chances are they are wrong.
The rules to good SEO are simple:
1. Make sure the title of your pages is something useful like your key words.
2. Put key words on the page and in the meat descriptions.
3. Put your key words in the alt tags of your graphics and pictures.
4. Reference key words more than once and put hyperlinks on them if you can.
Now you are cooking! Go out there and make your website better!
I had a a gentleman that contacted me about his website. He was building one for China but it was not being found. He had followed guidelines that said to name yur graphics what you want to be found for…the problem is that might work for english (ascii) characters but it will not work for a foreign languages.
Here is what I recommended to him. First, the title of the website. Put the name of your company but also put your keywords there. The title is the single most important field for your findability. People often put worth terms like home there. It is a complete waste! Put key words in the title even if it is longer than 77 characters. Those words may not display, but Google will still prioritize them!
Next put your key words in the “alt” tags of graphics. This is often an unused area in the graphic information. Also called the alternative text it is important to put your words there. There is no limit here so put all you want.
Third, make sure your description and key words meta tags have values. Google does not give this are as much importance but never waste a place to put your information.
Fourth, make sure the keywords you use in the title tag, and alt tags can be found on the page as well. Key words not listed anywhere else is killing the ranking of them. If you have kitchen sink in the title tag, make sure it is on the page content somewhere as well.
Finally, get as many inbound links to your website as possible. Quality inbound links improve your credibility. Put links in Yelp, facebook, linkedin, and where else you can think. It all adds up.
Language does not matter as these general rules work and they work because Google came up with these rules!
The gentleman I gave all this advise followed it and it worked! He went from not being able to be found in 20 pages of Google to being found in the first and third spots of the natural listings for the key terms he wanted.
While these results may not be the same for you, the results will still improve greatly your SEO!
Often people think more is better especially on key words. The real trick to key words is this:
1. They have to be relavant to your website and business.
The words have to be realistic to finding your site from the people you want.
2. The words have to be found on your website not just listed in the key words field.
Having key words in the meta tag and no where is wirthless. Google looks at your site see what is useful. The higher in prominence it is, the more highly rated.
3. The key words should be in the title of your website.
They need to be found in the title, in your site content and referenced in as many places as possible. It helps if those words are bolded and also if they are links to other pages.
4. People have to look for your site using your key words.
In order to be found for those key words people have to be looking using those words.
5. Having your copmpetition is your keys could be a good idea but it could also be a bad idea.
This one is tricky because people can find you but then also find you competition through you…not always the best move.
The real trick is to make sure you are using the right words and that your site is found using those words. A professional can help you make the best and most use with research.
-Frank Ruiz Principal at CID Solutions
A great way to make your website work for you and your business is to add elements of credibility to it. These are the things that will help visitors to your website gain and build trust in you and your services. What could they be you ask? Well here they are:
First, give free and verifiable information on your website. Free is always a good bonus and the fact that it is verifiable helps to build credibility. An example of that could be “Here is a partial list of our happy clients” and then have the list along with a link to their website or their contact information. This adds value as anyone can call those people and ask about you. It is also best to get the client’s permssion to do this before you post their information. Post testimonials from your favorite clients.
Second, post your mission statement. It should be a short one to two sentences and should be something that can easily repeated by you and your employees.
Third, make it easy to contact you. Your contact information should be on every page. Nothing creates more trouble than to have people looking for your contact information and being unable to find it.
These are just a few things to help increase your website’s credibility. You can learn more by visiting my page on this subject.
You see it in emails. You see it in ads. It is promised over the phone. If you just spend with us, you will get great results! If you buy this program, you will be at the top! If you exchange links with us, you will be well on your way!
You hear it often enough, but what is true and what is not? Well here is the answer and it will cost you nothing but the time it takes to read it over. That is right, folks. FREE!!!
Secret #1. Content. You have to have content. Google can do lots with your website if you have content, plain and simple. Google loves content and especially if you have it bullet pointed and bolded and even maybe linked to other pages explaining it in more depth. Content cannot be faked. It cannot be copied from one source to another. It has to be your words. As a web designer it is tough for me to fake content so I work with my clients to get that content. Pictures say a thousand words but Google can’t see them. Text is very important and some people waste that by putting nothing but pictures or flash and little to no text.
Secret #2. Avoid gimmicks. The corollary to to that is do it if it makes sense and not because it will make you rank better. Link exchanges do not work. Google looks for one-way links. the more one-way links you have to your site the better. Avoid hidden text link having a key word listed on your page over and over but at a font color similar to the page so users cannot see it. Google sees that and you are skipped from ranking. Also avoid fonts smaller that 8pt. Googe thinks you are trying to hide words with fonts smaller than that.
Secret #3. Take advantage of the places Google wants to see text. Google likes it is you use the title to describe your website. Remember that it will only display the first 72 characters of the title. But that does not stop Google from reading it if there is more than 72 characters. Just don’t over do it. Another place often missed are the “alt” tags in graphic images and pictures. Google cannot deal with graphics except for the name of the graphic. By adding an alt tag Google will utilize that for for searches. If you use a key word anywhere, make sure it is in the body of your page as well.
Secret #4. The higher your information is listed on the page, the greater those words are ranked. So make sure the most important information is as close to the top of the page as possible. If you want people to call you, have your number near the top. If you need foot traffic, again put your address at the top. One last thing on this. If you have a menu bar with links to all your pages, the link on the top left is most important. the further to the right or down the list it is, the less important it is.
Secret #5. Minimize outgoing links. Many people make the mistake of putting links to other places on their home page. Your home page should be all about you. Leave the outgoing links elsewhere. Keep all your links to high quality locations. Remember each out going link is treated as a vote. You are telling Google that this link is good by you. I once saw a major company that ranked very high on Google suddenly disappear from the pages because they had a link going to some pharmacy company outside the US. The link had no relevance to the website’s business and to top it off the link was a site suspected of spam. This was killing their ranking. As soon as the link was removed, within minutes the ranking returned. It makes a big difference. For more on this visit CID Solutions.
Experts will tell you there are a variety of things you can do to improve your website findabailty with Search Engines. I want to focus on just five things you can do that will help quickly.
1. Title Tag of your pages. Often people put things like “Home” or “About Us” in the title tag…there is nothing more useless than worthless information there. Google only displays the first 72 characters in the title tag, BUT it will read the whole thing no matter how big it is. Put the key words you want to be found in there! It is one of the main things Google will use to rank your page…just make sure those words are in your web page too!
2. Put words in the alt tags of any images you have on your page. This spot is the second most unused space on your web page that Google looks for…use it!
3. The most important information at the top of your page. The higher it sits the more Google thinks it is important.
4. Make sure you have text based menu at the bottom of the page. Google likes to find your menus easily.
5. Get rid of useless links. Have you ever received one of those “Let’s exchange links” emails? Ignore them. If you put those links on your page, they can downgrade your findability and fast! I was involved with a major company that called asking why their website dropped out of the first page on Google. I looked and discovered they had a link to a foreign pharmaceutical website. As soon as we removed the link, the page popped up in prominence again with in minutes. Google counts the number of one way links to your site so link exchanges count against your site. Don’t do it! Learn more at Click Here.