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SEO Derek
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Please back your site up. Just had a colleague lose everything because their site wasn't backed up.
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There are a lot of factors that go into getting your site ranked higher. One that is often forgotten, but makes complete sense is how fast your pages load. This is known as Page Load Time. Google has a different name for it: PageSpeed.

Google has made it clear that sites that load faster, especially on mobile, will rank better than slower loading pages. And they've done us the favor of creating a tool that shows how optimized a page is for speed in both mobile and desktop.

I used this tool on my own site and amazed to see how low it ranked (51/100) for speed. One of the most important suggestions it recommended was enabling compression. More specifically, they recommended using Gzip compression.

After using a great WordPress plugin named W3 Total Cache, I was able to get that number up to 73/100. With a few more changes, such as compressing PNG images to JPG format, I'll be able to increase it even more. Some of the suggestions I won't be able to do, due to where my site is hosted and my CMS platform.

If you're not on WordPress, you can still add code to your .htaccess file. Just do a google search for Gzip compression and you'll find out how to do this.

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WordPress. The very name strikes either horror or elation in most web developers/designers. But one thing cannot be argued: over 1/4 of all the world's websites use WordPress as their platform and 50,000 new WordPress sites are added DAILY.

There are some advantages to all these sites using the same platform. For one, there is an incredibly large community of users that post questions and answers regarding the use of WordPress. So chances are if you have a question about operating your site, or you want to learn how to do a particular thing on your site, someone has done it and has explained how they did it.

The other main advantage is that there are a lot of plugins that have been created for this platform. So again, if you're looking to add a particular feature to your site, there is most likely a plugin that can do it for you easily without having to write code.

There are plenty of disadvantages too. When you're the biggest, you get targeted by hackers. Several of my clients get brute force attacked hundreds of times a day. So it's imperative to have an excellent security defense built in. Luckily there are several including Sucuri, WordFence and others.

Secondly, there is a learning curve to WordPress. Even the most seasoned coder can have difficulty navigating the tools and terminology that make WordPress go. Widgets, Shortcodes, Plugins, are just a few of the weird terms that you'll have to learn.

On the whole, WordPress is an incredible platform that can allow even the least code-saavy person to build a website in a short period of time.
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Freebie for the day: if you're a local business and want your website to rank locally, Google needs to know where you are. How do they find out? The first and most important step is to put in a NAP. No, don't go lie down. The NAP I'm talking about stands for Name, Address, Phone. This needs to be on every page of your website. The best place to put it is in your footer at the bottom of your page. If you need help with this, let me know. I can do it for you. Google will crawl your site and see that every page has the same information, which tells them this is legit information. And your on your way to getting listed. (Don't forget to get your Google My Business listing!)
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For my first post, I'll be sharing the site I use to grab free, high quality images to use for my site and my clients' sites. It's called Pixabay.com. For small businesses on a budget, expensive images just aren't in the cards. Pixabay has some really high quality images. You may not have the broad choices of say, BigStock or Image Stock, but you just may find an image you can use.

Does anyone know when the 2016 Moz Ranking Factors will come out? Will it be much different than 2015? 

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Has anyone had success using HARO - Help a Reporter Out? If you're not familiar, HARO (https://www.helpareporter.com/) allows journalists and bloggers to submit story topics and solicit experts in those fields to provide information. You can receive a daily emails that aggregate these journalist requests. I've been able to get a number of high-value back links from this service.

I've used this on the source side (responding to solicitations from writers), but have not been on the reporter side (requesting information.) Does anyone have experience with this?

First of all, welcome to this Google+ community. Feel free to join and create discussions about all things SEO. While this community is specifically about local seo and trying to help local businesses, there is a lot about SEO that can be national or international in scope, so don't be afraid to bring those topics up either. Thanks for joining!

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For those that have done the basic on-site and off-site work on their SEO, the next step is to create back links. This is where most companies stop. Why? Because they don't know where to start. Where does one find back linking opportunities? A good place to start is by reading the great book, "Ultimate Guide to Link Building" by Eric Ward & Garrett French. This book has a wealth of information and resources on how to build backlinks.

Another source that I've used for years is HARO - Help A Reporter Out. https://www.helpareporter.com/ Journalists and blog writers submit story topics and solicit experts in those fields to provide information. You can receive a twice daily email that aggregates all these journalist requests. I've personally been able to get a number of fantastic backlinks from this service.

Building backlinks can be laborious work. But it can pay dividends that continue pay off for years after the initial link has been established. Good luck!

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If you're a small business owner that works out of your home, it's crucial to get your business listed in Google My Business. Listing on GMB (the acronym for Google My Business) helps your business in a number of ways.

First, rather than Google having to crawl the internet to find your site, you are actively telling them your business name, your address, what you do, and other important selling information.

Second, setting up a GMB account gets your business listed on the right-hand site of the search results. Here's an example of what I'm talking about. In the screenshot below, when doing a search for "MedTrust Capital" in Google, you'll see the they show up both as the first listing and in the right-hand column known as the "Knowledge Panel."

While verifying a business through GMP is the best way to show up in the Knowledge Panel, it's not guaranteed. Factors such as relevance, distance and business prominence all contribute to whether or not your business will show up. The fact that I'm in Portland and did a search for a Portland company and used the exact name of the company is why they showed up in the Knowledge Panel.

To get your business listed on Google My Business, visit: https://www.google.com/business/.
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