Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast for Jan 26, 2016. I’m your host MaAnna
Tips this week:
– ROI on the new content marketing habits I’ve started, including what’s getting the most bang for the buck.
– Status updates on tests I’m running on plugins, SEO, and more.
– Google AMP news and tests
– Backup services
Listen to the podcast
Since late December I’ve been reporting on all the upcoming things I would be doing with BlogAid to grow the company. Today, I’d like to share some results with you of those efforts. I hope it will give you some growth ideas and motivate you to make changes that actually work.
Do SEO Plugins Work? – WPblab Ep. 19
Wed 1/27 1pm ET / 10am PT
Subscribe and/or watch live here
Join us to discuss whether SEO plugins work well, if taking the time to create the custom meta description and social elements are worth it, and the top ways these plugins can actually do more harm than good.
New SEO Video Tutorials
Despite the tail end of this cold from last week hanging around, I was able to finish up the Yoast SEO on page module video tutorial updates and placed them everywhere that course is offered. The info is pretty much the same as it was before. I just had to update them due to the new interface on the Yoast SEO plugin.
Next, I’ll be updating some of the content around a few other SEO videos in the course and I’ll tell you more about why in the SEO Tips in a moment.
Refreshing Posts Works
One of my new habits for this year is to ensure that I’m keeping my older blog content fresh and relevant.
I’m doing this on two fronts. I’m looking through analytics to see which posts are doing best, and I’m refreshing posts that are related to new blog posts.
I want to thank +Ana Hoffman for ensuring that I saw a new post concerning displaying dates on posts and how Google is applying their freshness algorithm.
I used it as proof of opinion on two of my prior posts.
I’m already seeing more hits to those posts because of the time I spend keeping them fresh and promoting them. So, the ROI is there, and it is working.
Update Sidebars and Static Areas
Along with refreshing old posts, I’ve been refreshing the static areas on my site more frequently too. I want to ensure that sidebars and other pages where I’m displaying video tips and such, and my special announcement areas are all keeping pace with what I’m currently offering.
When was the last time you had a look at what’s in your sidebar?
Pinned Posts in Social Media
And, I’m extending this freshness thing to my social media too by swapping out my pinned posts. I’ve left some there for a few weeks at a time and it really does drive traffic to those posts.
So, I want to ensure that what I have pinned is what I want more traffic for at that time because folks do click on it more.
Social Media Marketing
As you may recall in a previous Tips Tuesday, I hired Sheena White as my social media VA and she is doing a bang up job. I started seeing results the very first month and it has continued to improve.
I just wish I had done this sooner. I wasted all of last year trying to get this done myself and it was a real struggle that never amounted to much.
It pays to hire a pro.
And we’re collecting the data now to start doing new ad campaigns in the near future. All I can say about that is, if you’re going to pay for ads, hire someone who knows what they’re doing or you’re going to waste a lot of money guessing.
I understand all about the concern in the cost of hiring help. But, the money I’m losing by not having this help far outweighs what it cost. It’s a business investment.
I think of it like this. I can spend my time making homemade signs to manually tack to light poles near where I’m located. Or, I can hire someone to create and install a billboard on a super highway. Yes, the billboard costs more. But, the amount of new traffic it brings in more than pays for itself.
We’re not to that breakeven point yet. But, we’re going in that direction, and quickly. And we’ve got the analytics to back it up.
Social Follow Button Updates
I’d also like to update my social follow buttons in the refresh kick I’m on.
Does anyone know if any of the social follow button plugins include live-streaming platforms like Blab and Periscope?
I’m using Lightweight Social Icons and they don’t have them yet.
Please do let me know what you’re using, and if you have those icons, or other plugins that let you bring your own icon set.
I may want to start reaching out to some devs to include them.
Blab is a big deal for me and I’d like to offer folks an easy way to follow me there.
Are Custom Meta Descriptions Worth the Time to Create?
That’s the question I put out on several of my social platforms and groups.
I’ve been hunting down the possible reasons why Google suddenly changed the description it displayed in SERPS on many of my pages and those of my clients.
It’s no longer picking up the custom meta description that was input to the Yoast SEO plugin.
Thanks to my colleague +David Kutcher for a second set of qualified eyeballs to verify that there are no issues with the source code, and that Google is indeed seeing the custom meta description. They just choose not to use it.
Google has long reserved the right to tweak the title and description to suit the search terms. Ever since Google released personalized search, that has become more frequent. And now that semantic search is involved, it’s anybody’s guess as to what will be displayed in search.
We’ve even confirmed that just changing the order of the same exact search words will yield a different ranking.
That’s pretty whack, in my opinion.
To me, the widespread change I started suddenly seeing in the fall smells like a Google experiment. But then, maybe I’m coming to that conclusion based on anecdotal evidence. I haven’t actually tracked the data of all sites I’ve checked.
But, the sheer number of SERPS using the first line of content instead of custom meta description is enough for me to change my wording in how I teach about this topic. That function of SEO plugins has been severely limited and we now need to return to playing a balancing act with the first text on the page between satisfying readers and search.
So please do come to the Blab tomorrow, and let’s talk about this, and other SEO tactics that may or may not be working anymore.
Testing New SEO Plugins
And because of this, and the instability of the Yoast SEO plugin over the last year or so, I’ve decided to start running new tests on other SEO plugins.
To help with that, I’ll be using the SEO Data Transporter plugin.
I want to thank theme designer and plugin queen +Cyndi Papia for that suggestion. It will save me a lot of time in these tests.
These tests take a lot of time, and you’ll see status updates on them here in Tips Tuesday as I go along.
My Webmaster Training members will get the full skinny on all tests as I make them.
Genesis 2.2.6 SEO Tests
As you may recall from last week’s Tips Tuesday, I let you know about the important changes in the Genesis 2.2.6 update. I’m holding steady at 2.2.5 and testing the schema markup changes in 2.2.6.
I’m certain that most all of us will need to add code back in to get the right schema markup for our blog posts again.
I’ve already completed the before tests. I’ll have results for you soon on the after tests.
Google AMP Tips
One of the reasons we’re all having to jump through these new SEO hoops is due to the impending re-release of Google AMP.
The folks at Automattic, who create WordPress and run WordPress.com have already released a plugin for it.
I’ll be testing that out as soon as I finish the Genesis tests and will keep you posted on results.
I’ll also be testing for how this plugin performs with sites that have ads and use plugins and such from their ad network vendors.
My Webmaster Training members will get the detailed test results and coding options.
If you’d like to know more about what’s in AMP and all the areas of your site that you can change to take advantage of it, the nice folks at Search Engine Roundtable have a post with several video discussions on it. Well worth your time if you’re a developer or designer.
And Google says they will re-release AMP near the end of February.
VaultPress Tips and Tricks
I’ve been using the VaultPress Lite cloud backup service for some time now, and have moved all of my maintenance clients and a lot of my site audit clients to it. We love it.
So, I made a MaAnna Minute video for you with four tips and tricks that will save you both money and site performance on using it.
The last part of that video shows the extra restore options that you can set up. It’s super cheap to hire a geek to make those for you.
I’ll be making video tutorials for all of my Webmaster Training members on it soon.
The folks at iThemes recently announced that they will be offering a cloud backup service via BackupBuddy soon too. I could hardly believe what they said about in their press release. Y’all know I don’t rant much, but when I do, I have a reason. So go see that post for more.
Cloud Services vs Plugins
Just for clarity, I want to cover a little with you here about the difference in all of these services. Cloud backup services like VaultPress and BlogVault have a plugin that you install on your site. But, it’s mainly just an interface. The service is actually offsite. And they include storage as part of their service. The plugin is free.
With BackupBuddy and UpDraftPlus and other such plugins, the plugin has to be paid for, and the entire service is on your site. That’s what makes them such resource hogs. Plus, you have to make your own arrangements for storing the files off site. Both of them offer storage plans, but to get the amount needed for daily backups, like the cloud services take, the free options just won’t cut it.
So, you end up paying for the plugin and the storage, and it’s a performance drain on your site.
With this new cloud option from BackupBuddy, you still have to pay for the plugin and storage.
So, when you’re looking into your choices here, keep all of the costs in mind including the plugin, the storage, and the performance.
Plus, read up on what you have to do to restore a site.
A LOT of my site audit clients use UpDraft. And when I tell them that we’ll be relying on their backup, that they know how to restore, suddenly they are not so sure they have a good backup solution.
If you’re not positive you do either, maybe it’s time for you to switch too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
Find these tips helpful? Share them with your peeps!!!!
Drop in on my BlogAid Blabs and say hey in person.
Subscribe on iTunes
Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.