How Important is the new Googlebot Announcement from Last Week for your SEO Ranking? (HINT – don’t ignore it!)

seoLast week you and I and millions of other site owners received the Googlebot announcement which said that the “Googlebot Cannot Access Your JavaScript and CSS Files.”

A week has gone by and does it really matter?

For your sake, I did some research and found that it does, or at least, it is not worth the risk to assume anything, especially when Google says that “rendering without certain resources can impair the indexing of your web pages.

I have fixed it for our company site and am working to fix it for my top clients. (If you would like me to take a look at it for you, just let reach out to me. Whether you are a current client or not.)

What is the fix?

Basically, there is a lot of conflicting advice from among the top experts out there in the SEO and WordPress worlds.

Yoast, the software company that develops the plugin Yoast SEO, which we use on all of our sites, says to simply use their plugin and delete the default WordPress robots.txt file, essentially allowing the Google bot to index the /wp-admin directly.

When I read that, it made me personally a little nervous; I also saw some hesitation in the comments section below. I reached out to our systems administration team at the datacenter, and they thought it not a good idea to basically allow Google to have carte-blanche access to index system files in the /wp-admin and /includes folders. Perhaps I am missing something that Yoast knows that we are unaware of. But we decided at this time to not go that way.

Then I read an article by SearchEngineLand and then another by TheSEMPost blog. TheSEMPost article really had the solution that made the most sense. They suggest to put the following lines of code into to the robots.txt file.

User-Agent: Googlebot
Allow: .js
Allow: .css

This seems to be the most delicate way to address the issue, and it worked for our site. Basically the code is telling the Googlebot to go ahead and index all javascript and css files. After implementing, we checked in the Google Fetch and Render tool and saw the site rendering correctly by the Googlebot, where it was not before. We also looked into the list of blocked resources, that the Google Search Console lists and saw all non-third party resources fall out of that list.

Feel free to add to this discussion, if you see anything I missed in this article, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you would like our team to take a look at your site. Our commitment in this blog is to only reach out to you with what matters and the solutions that get you there.

Content Management System Sanity Check – Drupal? Joomla? WordPress? What CMS road are you on?

Long_Road_to_El_Chalten_(5452083285)It never hurts to double-check what road you are on, especially if it costs you money.  In a sense a content management system (CMS) is a digital road your non-profit organization or business is taking.

Let’s take a quick sanity check to see the “Google Earth” view of the CMS landscape.

Let’s narrow the scope to the GPL licensed CMSs because they are the more cost-effective and battle-tested platforms out there; that would be Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal.

There are several key metrics that we should take into account when reviewing which CMS to adopt. Certainly, the current global adoption rate of the CMS  is probably the most important. Another key consideration is vetted, professional reviews of our peers in the “crowd.”

Before doing a deep dive, I would like to preface with the disclosure that I am endeavoring to remain CMS neutral and strictly present the facts. We obviously implement quite a few WordPress sites, but we run a number of Joomla sites as well, one of which is a Fortune 100 company. We also have managed and developed Drupal sites as well.

Let’s start with the global adoption rate. BuiltWith.com is the authority in declaring what software platforms are currently being used now as well has historically. Their numbers simply don’t lie. A quick look at the current market share will obviously demonstrate that WordPress is the market leader, followed by Drupal and then Joomla. The data below is pulled from the top 10,000. There are also other samples, top 100,000 and top million sites. The top 10,000, however, are representative of higher-end non-profits and small businesses and how they vote with their feet.

builtwith

The pie chart indicates as such – http://trends.builtwith.com/cms – with the break down as follows – WordPress 48%, Drupal 14%, and Joomla 1%.

G2Crowd is another reliable source of factual data. We use them all the time when trying to discern which SAAS products to use for our own company as well as for our clients. G2Crowd is basically a crowd-source approach to reviewing software. It receives its objectivity from the fact that members have to authenticate as a LinkedIn user and the surveying of those members is consistent and follows standard surveying norms.

The results for G2Crowd in many ways follow the BuiltWith.com report. What makes this data important is that it represents vetted user experience. That is key. G2Crowd has a proprietary method called “Grid Scoring” which we see in the chart below. Here we see that WordPress is the most popular CMS.

The report looks at various critical features such as scalability, mobility, integrations, forward compatibility, collaborative feasibility, marketing, to name a few.

WordPress (89%) pulls ahead with Joomla (53%) in second and Drupal (41%) in last. The full report is available for around $599 but for our purposes, this will suffice.

g2crowd

Certainly, this is not exhaustive, but it does give us a quick sanity check to see which road we are on.

Feel free to jump in here with your thoughts on all things CMS.

Do You Have a Backup Plan?

Backup_Backup_Backup_-_And_Test_RestoresOver the last few weeks, we have been upgrading all of our clients to a new very powerful server – for those of you that are more techie – 8 cores with 32 GB of RAM.

Note that picture is not our server, nor have we ever had a server look like that.

But what if you did or your website hosting company?

What would you do if your server spontaneously combusted? You need to have  a backup plan(s). Many of you already do. But since we are on the subject, it does not hurt to review the kind of backups that are out there and what purpose they serve. This is where you might decide to make adjustments.

CPanel Backups

For Linux servers (over 80% of all servers in the world) most people use some form of CPanel backups. CPanel backups backup individual accounts on a VPS server. Backing up the account includes not only the files and database but also everything else, including email, if hosted on the server, DNS settings, firewall settings, and many other things. These backups run daily, weekly, and monthly depending on how you set them up in WHM. A good configuration will have a mixture of all of them. In the end it is a balance between cost of storage and RAM to process the backups (depending on the amount of data) and also peace of mind. We like to sleep at night so we invest heavily in being able to backup from different scenarios based on our clients’ publishing habits.

Storm Backups

At our data center, we have another backup system that literally takes an image of the server itself. Why is this important? Sometimes server hardware fails, and you need to be able to take not just the individual accounts but the entire server itself to better hardware. This carries over many hard-won settings that you have added to the server over time that has addressed various issues such as performance and security. Server admins know what I mean.  With a flick of a switch we can be on newer and better hardware with imperceptible downtime. Server image backups are not well as known, and you might want to consider it or at least ask your web host to see what they have, if anything, for you.

Offsite Storage of CPanel Backups

What if the datacenter goes South, even if they have redundancies all over the US and perhaps outside the US? This is a highly unlikely scenario, but it could happen. Some of our clients are non-profits. What if the government deemed their content to be unacceptable and told the datacenter to freeze the account? Or what if the grid failed for the datacenter for a long period of time (more than a few days)? Our clients want to know that they are covered even for those apocalyptic type of scenarios. Fortunately CPanel has an awesome offsite backup feature that sends individual Cpanel account backups (the first one) over to Amazon S3. This certainly would take longer to get back up and running. But you could do it.

Offsite Store of CMS Backups

Lastly, we also like to have backups of the CMS (content management system) itself for restoring individual files and databases and not whole CPanel accounts. Sometimes our clients might delete a file or want to go back to an earlier version of a file without going back to “yesterday.” Going back to yesterday may wipe out work other people’s work, which is unnecessary when just a file needs to be restored if you backup the CMS itself. You can do this with CPanel, but CPanel has too much data to work with.  We like these to be offsite as well, so we send them to Amazon S3 as well.

What is your backup strategy?

The Only Mobile Test You Will Ever Need

What does your site look like in a smartphone?

What does your site look like in a smartphone?

Lately, since Google has rolled out its new algorithm, I have been receiving a fair amount of emails and calls asking me to check their site to see if it is mobile friendly.

In my last post, I did provide Google’s mobile test site.

Today I thought I would show you how to do it yourself so that you can visually see what your site looks like in different devices.

When we talk about site mobility, we are referring to whether the site is responsive or not. I have written extensively on the subject, a few years back, when responsive web design was just coming into the market.

Now it is non-negotiable in order to get the word out. We are on the other side because mobility of information is not just here to stay but is becoming the primary way information is consumed.

That said I thought I would show you how to see your site quickly in different devices using a site that is a trick of our trade – respon.si .

Here is a sample of one of our financial planning sites that looks sharp in various devices.

The way to see your beta test your site in all devices.

The way to see your beta test your site in all devices.

If you click on the image you can zoom in and see the steps full-size in context.

Basically, the default device is the Iphone 320 x 480.

Here is a run down of the various devices, from mydevice.io .

This site actually will read your device, if you go to the homepage. But the above link provides a table of all popular devices on the market.

The column that matters there is the css column width.

If you match that to Respon.si, then you can predict what your site will look like in various devices.

Or you can just click through the Respon.si dropdown list of devices; and if you good in all of them, then you are good.

It’s your turn now.

Please let us know below if you have found other tools that have worked for you to check out your site in different devices.

Please feel free to reach out to us below, if you have any questions or comments.

Speed and Mobile Now Matter for Google

I have not blogged for quite some time because business was intense, but now that I have hired more help, I am able to push my business to the next level – and also get back to blogging about those critical tips that will help you get your message out.

I read industry news on a regular basis, and one thing that came across my desk this morning was about the new changes that Google announced to their algorithm.

Wow. Basically Google is saying that your site will take a hit on April 21, 2015 in the Google search engine rankings if it does not load fast and if it is not mobile friendly – ie responsive.

So what you are supposed to do about it?

Here are two tests that you can take to see how your site measures up.

Speed – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Mobile – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

After that you need to get with your web developer and see what can be done to get things fixed.

Certainly if you want us to look at either test for your site, just send us the url of the site you want us to test.

mobile-friendly

We have been talking about responsive web design since it first took off at the end of 2012. At the end of that year, we decided as a team that we would only build responsive websites. Now it is non-negotiable for your message.

This is a test

Digital Marketing

webdesign

Brand Discovery

“I hate my logo!”

content-paper

Design

“My site is ugly.”

social-media-marketing

Story Telling

What is your company’s story?

seo

Email Marketing

I am text block.

Empty tab. Edit page to add content here.

App and Tablet Market Share: Apple’s First, Free Apps are Second

We’re keeping tabs on the tablet stats.

Thanks to the current iPad dominance, combined with anticipation for the new iPad mini, Apple is expected to lead the tablet market over the next 5 years. According to Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch, The iTunes App Store will retain its HQ status for app users, although companies like Samsung, Amazon and ASUS have dramatically increased their tablet market share since 2011.

Out of the 350 billion smartphone and tablet app downloads predicted between 2008 and 2017, Apple is expected to cut 56% of the share while the Google Play Store retains the other 45%.

It’s also worth noting that, due to an increase of free app downloads, paid app downloads are expected to peak in 2013. Analyst Josh Martin at Strategy Analytics believes paid apps will drop by 8 cents, as free apps claim more of the app economy in 2017. Continue reading

Goodbye, Internet Explorer 7 and 8.

Google Announces Discontinued Support for Internet Explorer 7 & 8

Apropos Internet Explorer 10’s imminent release, Google recently announced on its company blog that support for Internet Explorer versions 7 and 8 will be discontinued.

IE 10 will be launched October 26, 2012. After November 15, writes the company blog, “users accessing Google apps services using Internet Explorer will see a message recommending that they upgrade their browser.” Continue reading

Mobile Survey Results


You spoke. We’re listening.

Last week we invited you to help us improve our services by taking a technology survey. This week we’re delivering the results as promised.

Our participants answered 5 brief questions regarding mobile phones and devices. It turns out that 69% of them are smartphone users. About 55% are planning or considering iPhone or Droid app development, and nearly 54% are planning or considering developing a mobile version of their website.

Continue reading

What are Your Customers Thinking?

6 Quick n’ Easy Steps to Making Customer Surveys with SurveyMonkey

Surveys are an excellent way of collecting feedback, improving experience and gathering research in the same breath. Your customers will feel valued, and you will learn something valuable. At HyperDo, we’re fans of SurveyMonkey, a comprehensive – and affordable – tool for accomplishing all of the above.

Following these six steps and using SurveyMonkey will guide improvements in customer relations and website content in a quick, simple manner:

1. Analyze the analytics. Use your Google analytics to see your top pages and/or posts. They’re popular because they’re answering questions and (hopefully) providing turn-over. Use these items to narrow down the most relevant topics of interest. Continue reading