Why Implementing HTTPS on Your Website is Important

When it comes to your website, security is key. Establishing a strong website goes beyond a strong password or firewall within your platform. Even if your website does not house sensitive material, such as credit card information, transitioning your website address to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) will ensure you have taken the right steps to protect your website and those who access it. HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the website.

A very common misconception is that websites that house sensitive information are the only ones that need to implement HTTPS. Google encourages webmasters to adopt HTTPS to provide users with the private online experience they expect when using a website. A HTTP website has the potential to reveal information about a user’s identity and online behavior.

Transitioning your website address to include HTTPS will help eliminate potential intruders. These intruders could include those of a malicious nature or intrusive, but legitimate, companies that inject ads onto your website. These types of attackers will try to tamper with the communication system between your website and a user’s browser. Intruders can exploit these unprotected communication lines and will try to trick users into divulging personal information or installing malware. Some third parties will even try to place advertisements onto websites that can potentially break up the user’s experience and open up security vulnerabilities. Images, cookies, scripts and HTML can all be exploited. These types of attacks can occur anywhere within the network setup. A user’s device, hotspot, Wi-Fi or ISP could all serve as a possible target.

To learn how you can obtain HTTPS for your website, review Google’s best practices to see how you can properly obtain your security certificate. Once you obtain HTTPS, ensure that your pages can be crawled and indexed by Google properly. To do this, be sure your website does not block your HTTPS pages by robots.txt.files. Do not include meta noindex tags in your HTTPS pages. Use Fetch as Google to test that Googlebot can access your pages. Google stated that if you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, they view this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers.

Google Releases Reminder About Links in Large-Scale Article Campaigns

Google recently released a brief reminder on the Webmaster Central Blog regarding links in large-scale article campaigns. Google stated that they have recently seen an influx of spammy links that are found in contributor posts and guest posts. These types of syndicated posts are typically written by or on behalf of a particular website, but published on a different one. Within the blog post, Google reminded webmasters that they are not against these types of links, but that isn’t to say that webmasters shouldn’t be mindful when it comes to quality. What does become an issue and a violation of Google’s guidelines is when the primary intent of the content is to build links in a large-scale way to support the author’s site.

Here are a few factors Google named, that when taken to an extreme, can cause a violation.

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles
  • Having the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
  • Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on
  • Using the same or similar content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site

Once Google has detected a website that is publishing content that contains a number of spammy links, Google may begin to question the integrity of the website. If Google has reason to believe that a website is publishing spammy links that contain questionable content, it may begin to affect the website’s ranking signal. Google says that if link building is the main drive behind a piece of content, the quality of the piece can greatly suffer and can create a poor user experience. Google encourages webmasters to focus on the quality of the content they are producing for their website. By focusing on creating useful and informative content, links and other organic benefits will eventually follow.

Keep SEO Strategy in Mind During a Website Redesign

 

Are you thinking about updating your company’s website? Before you start launching any changes, it is important to be sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps that will ensure you can execute a strong SEO strategy once your new website is complete. With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) playing such a key role in establishing a healthy ranking signal, it is important that it is not an afterthought. Not sure where to start? Here are a few SEO elements to keep in mind when designing your new website.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

First things first, your domain name is a chance for you to give your new website some serious SEO power. One of the safest solutions for your domain name is to use your company’s brand. Using the brand name in your domain will build brand awareness within your target audience and increases your chances of being found within a navigational search. Other than building brand awareness in the minds of potential consumers, using your company’s brand as the domain name will fire off brand signals to search engines. Brand signals are simply any mention of your company’s name or website online. Establishing quality brand signals can help push your website into a high ranking position.

Other than using your brand name, you may consider an exact-match domain. What’s an exact-match domain? It’s a domain name that uses a keyword phrase. For example, if your company wanted to rank for “buy cheap flights,” your exact-match domain would look like, www.buycheapflights.com. Even though you’re using more keywords, the jury is still out on how effective it is. In September 2012, Google noticed how many companies were using exact-match domains and launched an EMD update. This update prevented low-quality websites from establishing a high ranking position for just having keywords in a domain that matched a search query. However, if your business plan is to maintain a high-functioning and honest website, an exact-match domain may still work in your favor.

“In the long run, it’s usually better to build your brand name over using a generic domain name,” Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “A good example would be brands like uber.com and lyft.com. You probably haven’t heard of the website rideshareservice.com.”

Invest in a Strong Hosting Platform

In a world where everyone wants information within seconds, a quick loading time is a key factor for your new website. However, the web hosting system is not always to blame for a slow loading time. It is important to be sure your website’s coding system is up to snuff in order to eliminate any cause for a slow loading time. Your website speed can fluctuate, especially if you are constantly uploading new products or content that contains images.

“Since a faster site creates a better user experience, Google has made page speed big priority in its ranking algorithm,” Pitzl said. “If you choose the wrong platform or Content Managing System (CMS) you can see technical difficulties that will end up hurting your user’s experience.”

Speaking of platforms, investing in a mobile-friendly website has never been more important. With 60% of searches now being conducted on mobile devices, you will want to make sure your company isn’t missing out on easy business opportunities. Even though there are a lot of aspects to consider when constructing a mobile-friendly website, less is always going to be more. It is important to keep your layout and navigational tools simple and easy to find since you have a lot less space to work with compared to a desktop website layout.

“Site navigation helps SEO in two main areas. Having a solid site structure helps users and it helps search engines find your pages for indexing,” Pitzl said.

Quality Content is Key

The whole point to having a website is to promote the product or services your company offers. Potential consumers come to your website or blog in hopes of fulfilling a purchasing need or to read up on the latest developments within your industry. However, when it comes to content, it is important that you don’t stuff keywords into your website in the hopes of boosting your ranking signal.

“Google has become so good about knowing what is on your website, you really have to create quality content to rank. The days of low-quality spam content are over,” Pitzl said.

This type of writing not only creates a poor user experience on desktop and mobile websites, keyword stuffing does not advance your website in search results. It is important to implement industry-related keywords into your content, but don’t overdo it. Creating useful and high-quality content is what will get your website noticed by consumers.

When was the last time you had a SEO audit conducted? Contact our SEO department today!