Tag Archive for: seo tools

5 WordPress Website Themes To Use In 2016

Finding a needle in a haystack might seem easier than choosing from the staggering collection of available WordPress website themes. That job becomes a lot easier with careful consideration of your website’s purpose and priorities. Use this rundown of features in five important WordPress website themes to determine what’s best for your site.

5 important WordPress website themes

While WordPress website themes come in free and premium editions, those listed here are all premium. Due to their price point, there is a glut of websites using free themes, while a premium theme offers more features and customization to set your site apart. Customer support is multifaceted for premium themes, including email, chat and public forums. Premium themes are updated more often, usually periodically, so security issues are identified and patched.

1. Avada

Avada

Avada by Theme Fusion is one of the best-selling WordPress website themes, known for excellent customer support. The visual page builder allows for fast and easy customizing with no coding necessary. Avada offers full responsiveness, optimized speed, auto theme updates and 2D/3D layered sliders. It has five custom headers, a built in SEO plug-in, and is optimized for speed.

2. X Theme

X by Themeco is one of the most customizable WordPress website themes available due to its stacks, which are four exclusive designs in one, rather than a few standard layouts. Drag and drop page builders make everything customizable without coding, including logo, font, color, menus, sidebars and headers. The live previewer ends the need to constantly refresh, granting intuitive front-end editing. Along with SEO readiness, X also brings custom extensions, Responsive Visibility, and optimized speed.

3. Enfold

Enfold

Enfold by Kriesi has been called one of the most user friendly WordPress website themes out there, with 18 predefined skins for non-coders to insert their own information. The drag and drop templates support customizing layouts, typography and color, with options for audio and video. Enfold is optimized for SEO, high resolution, and 2D/3D layers. It is responsive for any size screen and optimized for speed.

4. Jupiter

Jupiter by Artbees is known as a one size fits all WordPress website theme. Now on version 5, Jupiter’s modular composition, reduced file size and total number of files have improved the loading times. Users find numerous drag and drop variations for customizing layouts, headers, post types and content importers as well as a background customiser using color gradients. Features include SEO readiness, Edge Slideshow, adaptable responsiveness, and 50 templates.

5. Salient

Salient

Salient by ThemeNectar is one of the most innovative WordPress website themes, giving websites a creative edge. The visually enhanced features include video backgrounds, sliders, and a custom homepage that lays out all parts of the website in an array. SEO compatible and speed optimized, Salient contains 350 icons and eight page layouts formatted for any size screen.

How to choose?

With so many features available in these WordPress website themes, pinpointing priorities can be difficult. Website speed should be near the top of your list; if your site takes too long to load, viewers will give up and Google will assign a low rating. Sluggish themes are characterized by an overload of features and too many large files. Focus on the features that best characterize your business, whether flashy background videos and sliders or simple customized colors and headers, and choose a theme that specializes in those particular components.

User experience goes hand-in-hand with speed, since the purpose of having a website is to attract users. Ease of use can make or break your site, so limit complicated features. Smashing Magazine suggests experimenting with demos to get a feel for each theme: “Do you get a headache looking at it? Does it excite you?” First impressions are important, and your first impression should be a positive one.

Just like looking at a model home, however, a theme demo can distract you with a beautiful set-up that has nothing to do with your needs. Look for demo features that will fit your purpose and content. Make sure positions and sizing of logos, headers and text blocks fit your requirements. A live preview admin area will allow you to test-drive the demo for a better idea of how it meets your specifications.

All of these WordPress website themes demonstrate SEO compatibility, responsiveness, optimized speed, customizable design and easy-to-use drag and drop options to various degrees. Your priorities and personal impressions will determine the best fit for your website (your needle in the haystack).

Google AdWords Changes : truth and myth

On February 18th, 2016, Google AdWords changes took the digital marketing industry by surprise. The removal of right side ads on desktop results page created panic and much heated debate. While discussions are still going strong on the topic, most agree a month later that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Armageddon will have to wait. Again.

What the Google AdWords changes mean for advertisers

The major change Google implemented on the search results was removing the ads from the right side, and balancing the deletion by adding a 4th paid position on the top of the page. The intent, in the interest of fairness, is mostly geared towards products and services, and high-commercial value search keywords (as in, competitive markets).
If you search for something generic that doesn’t necessarily involve commerce, the result page is still mostly free of ads.

For example, on the query “cashmere”, one ad comes up (LL Bean… but they probably bid on every type of wool, fabric or garment). The query “origins of cashmere” yields purely organic results.

But the result page on query “cashmere sweater” displays both ads and product listing ads.Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 12.15.28 PM

What do Google AdWords changes mean for advertisers is still left to guessing, although a month of data (as per WordStream) puts some speculation to rest.

CTRs (Click-thru rates) are up, CPCs (cost per click) are steady, impressions are down.
Companies that bid for brand, niche markets, displays and video-oriented content and mobile advertisers are not affected by this little revolution (mobile results were already on 4 ad slots).

What about those advertisers that got killed, you may wonder? It turns out the right hand side of the search results page was not very profitable. The bottom of the page may still display up to 3 AdWords slots, up for grabs. While the RHS (right hand side) advertisers feel they lose visibility, and companies positioned 5-11 are not happy to move below the fold, the users feel they get more relevant results with fewer commercial distractions.

Consequences of Google AdWords changes to SEO

The first wave of panic upon learning of the change was close to a tsunami in the SEO world.

The first call of action is to gather the troops to work harder on optimization (and maybe find better tools). Since most desktop screens display only above the fold, scrolling is required to find the first organic result.
To top it off, the bottom position moves to the second page (but it’s on top there, so that’s a positive…).

But did Google AdWords changes really make SEO the biggest loser?
“[…] organic has been losing ground to new ad formats and other SERP changes every year”. Here is exactly why SEO professionals recover from the news better than advertisers. So many changes over the years have forced them to adapt and shift their working methods, not their strategies. They have to be more precise, they have to analyze performance with more scrutiny so that keyword and that meta description will bump them back up.

In fact, one may be allowed to think that organic search could benefit from a less cluttered page, where the user can find a more direct access to what they queried for.

The query “origin of cashmere” yields purely organic results

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 12.14.57 PM

So, as users, if information and knowledge are what we’re looking for, we still get them with minimal distraction. And if we are in the business of selling cashmere sweaters, we should run those reports and make sure our content includes “origins of cashmere” or “cashmere origin” (70 queries per month), or buy the top ad slot for a few cents.

It can be argued that Google AdWords changes were mostly implemented to boost ad revenue and that users, small businesses and SEO professionals were collateral damage. As a company Google needs to make profit. As a search engine, it needs to cater to the user. It’s a fine balance. Ultimately, time will tell what, if anything, is affected by the move. So far, the sense of doom has faded, and business has resumed as usual.

“Tag, you’re it”: what heading tags are and how they impact SEO

The importance and compared merits of heading tag in website pages and posts has been (and still is) generously commented and there seems to be little argument about it: heading tags are necessary to boost SEO and improve user experience.

Heading is code name for structure

Heading tags (or title tags) are designed to add two elements to content: hierarchy and rhythm, and one major component to search engine parsing: identity.
Imagine a block of text on any topic that would be presented in form of a big clump, possibly with paragraphs, but without visual effects to outline its essence.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.48.13 PM

The result is a rather uninviting, uninteresting and inefficient post. Very few would be intrigued enough to read it. There is no clear display of what it is all about, the question it raises or the answer it provides.

The purpose of heading tags from a strictly redactional point of view is to be visually enticing and deliver a sort of summary of the content itself. In other words, they constitute the skeleton of web content from the spine (main heading) to limbs (subheadings) to fingers and toes (lower subheadings).

Heading tags respect the chain of command

Typically, the hierarchy in headers is <H1>, <H2>, <H3> with instances of <H4> to <H6>, though those are rarely used in blogging (more commonly found in web page design to create “sections”).
From 1 to 6, the heading tags wouldn’t dream of pretending to be what they are not.

Heading and subheadings are not designed to just format the text. In fact, they are not format elements per se. The font size, color and style are merely set to make them stand out and highlight their respective role. As a good practice, no tagging should be inserted in the body itself.

heading tags

“Tag, you’re it”: how heading tags impact SEO: <H1> – The main topic. What we will talk about, hence its prominence (that’s a boss).
Heading is code name for structure: <H2>

Subheading that announces we enter into the topic more specifically and develop the characteristics of H1 honcho (Heading Tags) to H2 (structure).

How heading tags impact SEO

The notation <H> title/subtitle </H> acts like an ID tag for search engines when algorithms parse content and eventually decide how to rank the web page. Not that this aspect only decides whether your landing page will do well or not, but the correlation between heading tags and content is unmistakable.

Headers are unlikely to secure you the top position just because you use them. What they say (or don’t say) and how they are used throughout a site has its importance.
The consensus is there should be only one <H1> per page, and that it should mention your focus keyword. In the case of articles, SEO professionals recommend to place that same keyword in at least one <H2> (and of course, it will be dispersed in the text so a “match” will naturally happen between titles and content).

What they don’t recommend, however, is to replicate heading tags in a page or through the site. They should be unique. Nor should you hammer your keywords in the hope you’ll win the race (the opposite is likely to happen). Lastly, unless ranking is not your concern, keep the subject line short (heading tags should never become entire paragraphs), to the point and relevant.

In many instances, site owners have no idea of the importance of heading tags, but chances are their web developer knew a thing or two about it. For others, tools in web creation and blogging allow to select a line and make it a header without knowledge of coding. Even if Google and Yahoo and Bing allege they don’t require heading tags to be able to find your site and display it in results, the digital marketers think and know otherwise. And all SEO concerns aside, we have to admit that structured content looks good and reads better.

Best Keyword Research Tools for PPC and SEO

Keyword research tools are to SEO professionals what a scalpel is to a surgeon. An extension of themselves, an obsession that wakes them up at night. What keyword will improve their website ranking, trigger the click on the ad attached to that word or group of words. Finding relevant keywords is crucial to online businesses, whether they need customers, subscribers or viewers. Time being, as we know, money, any tool that makes the research part easier is a must have.

The award for best of keyword research tools goes to SemRush

SemRush is an easy to use online resource for keyword research and analysis that provides  comprehensive features. In fact, this solution lets you do, know and see everything imaginable pertaining to keyword performance and relevancy.

The search tool on specific keywords produces a quick overview of volume of queries, result pages, CPC and competition. That only is very valuable to measure the pertinence of your keywords for SEO purposes and what to expect if you launch PPC campaigns.

Research ToolsYour content is only as good as how well it matches users queries. SemRush goes on to list search phrases associated to keywords. From an SEO point of view, the number of matches, the keyword difficulty (how hard it would be to rank well on that particular keyword) and how tough the competition is are essential information.
The feature Ads history is a powerful keyword search tool functionality.. You can see what your competition is doing on a given query from estimated amount spent to date specific data. Should you see a slot that seems crowded, you can refine or adjust your keyword strategy and optimize budget distribution.

But SemRush is not great just to stay ahead of your competition. In one place, you can manage all your domains and track the performance of your SEO and PPC strategy. It is the swiss army knife of keyword research tools.

First runner up: Moz

Research Tools
Moz is well know in the digital marketing world and with good reasons. They are all about the metrics. Their solution is fairly exhaustive in what SEO and PPC gurus need, especially when it comes to keyword research tool.

In a matter of seconds, Moz delivers insights on keyword rankings for you and your competitors with filtering options so you get only the info that matters to you: time frame, search engine, type, label and even how it performs on mobile.
The Analyze Keyword feature provides details on keyword difficulty and performance, again comparing you and your competition. Eventually, Moz keyword research tool presents an SERP basic report, suggesting what sites may be easier to compete with. And because productivity depends on staying organized, it offers the possibility to keep track of your keywords. With one click, you can access metrics about your list.
The Moz keyword research tool is user friendly and comprehensively covers what you need to know before you make a decision. Especially when you examine the data provided by the landing pages report. This feature is calculating an estimated volume of organic traffic for a keyword. A very handy trick to circumvent the “not provided” results from Google analytics.

Second runner up: Keyword Tool

As runner ups go, this keyword research tool does not wear a tiara but is sufficient if you don’t need to manage multiple sites. The concept is to provide long tail keywords based on actual user queries. Using the Google suggested autocomplete search frame, you can get a list of what users really key in.

Research Tools

The Pro Plus version ($88/month) gives you access to the basic and relevant information you need, such as search volume, CPC on Adwords, competition along with twice as many results.

While it doesn’t let you execute and manage SEO and PPC campaigns all in one place, Keyword Tool is interesting because it’s fast, it puts focus on long tail keywords (that are often difficult to use but efficient) and it is accurate.

Rumor has it that Google Keyword Planner hides keywords to favor advertisers, this keyword research tool solves the problem and saves you a lot of time.
Keyword research tools that are effective for SEO and PPC professional marketers, or for online business owners are dime a dozen. Not all are created equal, not all provide useful information (though most do) but the 3 presented here cover your tracks. Finding the best keyword research tool is only possible by testing several and pick the one(s) that best fit your objectives and needs.

How to boost SEO with Google Adwords?

The question whether one can boost SEO with Google Adwords has been asked many times and is much debated. Most digital marketers tend to keep them separate in the campaign strategies, yet the goals are the same: traffic and conversion.

The main objective of SEO is to increase an online business’ visibility and place well on the search results (ideally, on the first page). A lot of SEO professionals point out that Google Adwords performance doesn’t matter in ranking. While that may be true, the data provided by analyzing paid campaigns offer valuable insights on what and what doesn’t work (keywords, copy and visuals, segments, impressions,…). Drawing conclusions from those reports can greatly help refine (or redefine) the SEO tactics.

While paying puts a site on top of a search page, SEO aims at putting it in the #1 position organically. Ultimately, what incites visitors to click the ad (and down the road, convert) is a clue SEO pros can pick up and use to benefit natural ranking.

Use keyword Data to boost SEO with Google Adwords

Keywords search volume1

Google Adwords has a lot to say about keywords. As it happens, keywords are the focal point of the SEO world.
Even before you have to spend budget on a campaign, Google Adwords gives you the opportunity to refine your target and improve your results with the keyword planner. That’s close enough to SEO principles. It can even be used to complement the use of other keyword tools you may use.
Keywords and groups of keywords also tell you how to target an audience more precisely. “SEO” for example, is popular but so broad it doesn’t tell you what the user was searching (or hoping to find). “SEO Tips”, on the other hand, puts you on the map with an answer to a specific query, if SEO tips are what you provide.
The number of impressions (how often your ad is shown) is another goldmine of information that can boost your SEO. Any ad that generated a high number of displays can potentially tell you what specific query term is responsible and how to transform it into a keyword in your content, especially if the Google Adwords display generated a lot of clicks (and conversions). In case the conversions were low compared to the number of impressions, you learned that something is not working. The search did not result in an action because your content did not provide a solution. You can then get your SEO toolbox out and fix it.

Measure your Adwords campaigns performances

It is never said enough, analytics are the most powerful tools to continually improve. As an online business, chances are you work on SEO but also run Adwords campaigns, at least until the efforts you put into Search Engine Optimization pay off.

If you spend some time studying the connection between click-through-rates and keywords (in fact, search term that can become your weapon keyword), examine the conversion values and understand what terms landed a visitor on a page, you will discover how you can boost SEO with Google Adwords.
For any campaign that performs well, don’t neglect to observe the connection between visual and content. Headlines, copy and layout may be indicators of what makes a browser click. Those deductions can easily be implemented in your SEO.

Boost SEO by running a Google Adwords campaign

Your everyday concern in SEO is to choose the right keywords (among many other aspects), those that not only get traffic to your website, but also convert. You cannot rely on what you think they may be. Naturally, you have SEO tools to help measure the strength of a keyword or a group.

But getting the validation from the audience itself is not only saving you time, it is ultimately saving you money.

Rather than spend months testing content and decoding response (or lack thereof), constantly checking if you moved up a rank and adjusting if you didn’t, set aside an SEO Adwords budget. It sounds counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense, especially if you feel that certain themes may work for you, but aren’t quite perfect yet.

For a short period of time, you can run Google Adwords with your actual keywords (not search terms over which you have no control) and analyze the results. Within a few days, you are able to determine if it’s worth keeping with an SEO course of action or not. If, for example, you are in the business of selling red cashmere sweaters, “cashmere sweaters” in all your content takes you nowhere. “Red sweaters”, or “red cashmere sweaters”, however, will definitely target an audience searching for that product. You can try different combinations for weeks, or effortlessly run an ad that will validate your focus, and provide customers specifics at the same time.
There is a myriad ways you can boost SEO with Google Adwords, contrary to popular belief. While this is not the best (and not always the most cost effective) way to approach organic SEO, leveraging the data and metrics provided by ads is a tool worth adding to your SEO belt.

Causes and fixes for 406 Error – Not acceptable

The response “ 406 Error –  Not acceptable ” is not as common as a “404-Page not found” but does happen occasionally and should be fixed.

solve 406 Error

What causes a 406 Error

When you click a page link or access a website, your browser sends a request to the host server. In other words Chrome (for example) requests information (access) from example.com. When sending this request, the browser also informs the server what formats it accepts in return by including an “Accept Header”.

If we were writing in plain language, it would be something like: “Hello, my name is browser. I would like to know more about your page. Please send info in return. I accept such and such formats”.
If the returned response is “406 Error– Not acceptable”, it means the browser does not support a format sent by the server or the request is in violation of some settings.

Accept Headers commonly behind 406 Error

Accept-Charset and Accept-Language

Character set is the method by which tables convert code into readable characters. It mainly covers languages and symbols.

At the beginnings of time, the commonly used table was ASCII. However, ASCII doesn’t include characters used in many countries. The need to decode such characters required the switch to a broader table. Standard is now ISO-8859 to support international symbols and alphabets, though the list includes many more.

406 Error

Accept-Encoding

The Accept-Encoding header lists the HTTP compression methods the user agent accepts. A 406 Error – Not Acceptable will return if the file format is not supported by the server. Accept encoding headers commonly used include gzip, deflate, compress..

HTTP compression is necessary to compact files so they travel between server and browser without drastic loss of speed.

Accept-Ranges

A request can specify that only data within a certain range of bytes be included in the response. In that case only a portion of what is available will be delivered back.
It can also happen that a server has set security parameters that a request violates, Mod_security, a firewall program running on Apache server.

Fixing 406 Error – Not Acceptable

When a 406 Error occurs, the first sources to investigate are the Accept-Headers by either accessing the source code or requesting the developer to check them.

With the web being truly worldwide and giving access to the most obscure information (while still interesting and needed by the searcher), you need to make sure you are set to be visible. If you think the headers are responsible for such error, scan your coding and make sure you are set for acceptable mimes.
In case the response violates security settings, they can be disabled (though they may have been implemented for a reason). It is recommended to check with the provider to avoid conflicts.

If the response 406 Error- Not Acceptable occurred while working on WordPress, you can get information on fixes through this support forum.

406 Error – Not Acceptable doesn’t happen often, mostly because any type of character or data is accepted by browsers nowadays. However, it can pop up, in which case the query is left unsatisfied and you count one less visitor that day.

Must Have Chrome Extensions for SEO

Chrome Extensions for SEO are tools to rapidly access important information at a glance. Behind the scenes, most of those appendages also offer more comprehensive content and analytics.

Chrome Extensions for SEO help you get a website on the first page and stay there.

How to Install Chrome Extensions for SEO

1. Go to Chrome Web Store and find the extension you want to install

2. Click “Add to Chrome” and allow access by clicking “add Extension”

3. The extension icon appears on the far right of the toolbar.

Over a hundred Chrome Extensions for SEO are available, but few stay on top of the pack.

1. SEOquake

SEOquake offers several layers of features so you can optimize your work on different levels of depth.

Like most Chrome Extensions for SEO, SEOquake displays a quick summary of parameters for each listed page, including backlinks, ranking and overall performance.

The dashboard gives more details and information for each tab field.

SEOquake chrome extensions for seo

This recap takes you to thorough audits so you can precisely pinpoint action needs from keyword density to Url size.

The main benefit of SEOquake is that you can choose how you obtain information: instant look for a quick performance check,  more detailed overview or  comprehensive analysis with fix tips.

2. SEO Site Tools

This Chrome extension for SEO provides all relevant information pertaining to SEO: rank statistics, geolocation, site (including shares on major social media) and SEO tools.

SEO Site Tools’ format is a collection of snapshots presented in a clear and simple visual, so results are never polluted by irrelevant data.

Among those great features, one stands out: the site traffic graph shows the activity in terms of daily reach, unique visitors, or search visits. This tool is particularly interesting to evaluate seasonality peaks, or correlate traffic with events.

SEO Site Tools chrome extensions for seo

3. WooRank

If you need to dive deep into analysis, woorank is the Chrome extension for SEO you are looking for. It provides exhaustive resources about visitors, social monitoring, mobile friendliness, site content, keywords and security.
This extension is geared towards Web developers and digital marketing professionals and anyone looking for perfection in content and execution.

This Chrome Extension for SEO is the ultimate toolbox.
Woorank reviews your website in depth so you can fix weaknesses.
It addresses technology issues for website speed and usability optimization.

woorank chrome extensions for seo

The major quality of woorank is combining the features otherwise available from different sources, saving you time and surfing manipulations.
Some features can be unlocked through monthly subscription, but there is still plenty to work with. Woorank offers a free trial in case you need to unleash more power.

4. MozBar

The simple aspect of this Chrome extension for SEO is deceptive.
MozBar supplies you with a large cocktail of functionalities with the ease of use of a toolbar. From searches customized by geolocation or search engine to previews and validation of authorship, MozBar covers the work of even demanding web professionals. SEO and social metrics are readily available for a quick view.
When you’re not working on your own site (or your clients’), you can analyze any site and get a picture of your competition’s results and ranking.

mozbar chrome extensions for seo

Mozbar is a helpful extension for digital marketers to compare link metrics. Also, and this is one of its best benefits, it gives you the opportunity to analyze the phrases and terms most commonly used as anchor terms both at page and domain level.

5. Check My Links

Having your page on top of a search list is nothing if your content is deficient. Check My Links comes with no data report bells and whistles other than parsing all links and checking for validity, highlighting in green the links that passed the test and in red the links that are broken. For the sake of accuracy, the program allows you to add Urls to an exclusion list.

Check My Links is decidedly an extension to install if you are dealing with large amounts of pages containing links and references. You can quickly see what link is broken and access the list of errors and warnings. If everything is okayed, you don’t have to manually verify each link.

check my links chrome extensions for seo

In the digital world where competition is fierce and SEO is paramount, we would use all the tools we can get to become better: daily tasks simplified, information at our fingertips for competitive edge. Those 5 Chrome Extensions for SEO deliver on speed, variety of functions and user friendliness.