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Cyrus Shepard
I write about SEO, Social Media, Web Strategy, Startups and Online Marketing
I write about SEO, Social Media, Web Strategy, Startups and Online Marketing

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New Post!
7 Title Tag Hacks for Increased Rankings + Traffic

You may find yourself wondering whether the humble title tag still matters in modern SEO. When it comes to your click-through rate, the answer is a resounding yes! In today's Whiteboard Friday, we talk about 7 ways you can revamp your title tags to increase your site traffic and rankings.

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Snapped a quick photo of Myrtle Falls on Mount Rainer. Google Photos automatically turned it into something magical. 

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New Post - 301 Redirects Rules Change: What You Need to Know for SEO

Is it time to rewrite the SEO playbooks?

For what seems like forever, SEOs have operated by a set of best practices that dictate how to best handle redirection of URLs. 

Times have changed.

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10 Illustrations of How Fresh Content May Influence Google Rankings (Updated)

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New Post: How Much Do Online Marketers Make?

Thanks to +Moz providing a full data download from the 2015 Online Marketing Survey, we're able to break down salaries across the globe by years of experience in the field.

Full post:

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HTTP/2 & You? I occasionally hear webmasters ask about HTTP/2 and their site + web-search. The good news is that HTTP/2 doesn't change the core concepts of HTTP, it doesn't change the URLs, and is transparently supported for users & crawlers if they ask for it. Its primary differences focus on improved performance. Your hoster could add support for HTTP/2 and you might not even notice -- who knows, maybe they support it already :). Additionally:

# HTTP/2 has no impact on SEO. Search engine crawlers (even if they don't support HTTP/2 yet, like Googlebot) will continue to work normally, you don't have to set up redirects, change links, add markup, or make any changes in Search Console.

# Most browsers only support HTTP/2 together with HTTPS. That's when users will usually see improvements. Already on HTTPS? Awesome, you're all set.

# HTTP/2 is ready for use now, and supported in lots of website server setups.

In short, from a search point of view, there's nothing to hold you back from adding support for HTTP/2! Curious about more? Check out these links:


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Great technical HTTPS migration tips from Google's  +John Mueller 
Planning on moving to HTTPS? Here are 13 FAQs! What's missing? Let me know in the comments and I'll expand this over time, perhaps it's even worth a blog post or help center article. Note that these are specific to moving an existing site from HTTP to HTTPS on the same hostname. Also remember to check out our help center at

# Do I need to set something in Search Console? No, just add the HTTPS site there. The change-of-address setting doesn't apply for HTTP -> HTTPS moves.

# How can we do an A/B test? Don't cloak to Googlebot specifically, use 302 redirects + rel=canonical to HTTP if you want to test HTTPS but not have it indexed. Don't block via robots.txt . More about A/B testing at (302 redirects aren't cached.)

# Will the rel=canonical guarantee that the HTTP URL is indexed? No, but it's a very strong signal when picking the indexed URL.

# What's the next step after testing? Follow our site-move documentation ( ). Use 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS, confirm the new version by adding a rel=canonical on the HTTPS page, pointing to itself, and submit sitemaps including both HTTP & HTTPS URLs with new change-dates (in the long run, just keep the HTTPS sitemap).

# What about the robots.txt file? The HTTPS site uses the HTTPS robots.txt file. Check that it's reachable or serves a 404 result code, and check that your HTTP URLs aren't blocked by the HTTP robots.txt file.

# Is it OK to have just some pages on HTTPS? Yes, no problem! Start with a part, test it, add more.

# Should I move everything together, or is it fine to do sections? Moving in sections is fine.

# Will I see a drop in search? Fluctuations can happen with any bigger site change. We can't make any guarantees, but our systems are usually good with HTTP -> HTTPS moves.

# Which certificate do I need? For Google Search, any modern certificate that's accepted by modern browsers is acceptable.

# Do I lose "link juice" from the redirects? No, for 301 or 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS no PageRank is lost.

# Will we see search keywords in Google Analytics when we're on HTTPS? This won't change with HTTPS, you can see the search queries in Search Console.

# How can I test how many pages were indexed? Verify HTTP / HTTPS separately in Search Console, use Index Status for a broad look, or the sitemaps indexed counts for sitemap URLs.

# How long will a move from HTTP to HTTPS take? There are no fixed crawl frequencies, it depends on the size of your site, and the speed of crawling that's possible. The move takes place on a per-URL basis.

Hope this helps clarify some of the open questions! Let me know if there's anything missing.


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New Post: 7 Illustrations of How Topical Links Impact SEO, in Theory and Practice

We explore SEO concepts around topically relevant links, including:
• Hub and authority pages
• Anchor Text
• Topic-sensitive PageRank
• Reasonable surfer
• Phrase-based indexing
• Local inter-connectivity, and
• The Golden Question

And finally, some tips and best practices for using topically relevant links in your SEO strategy.

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Can you solve this SEO problem I posted in Webmaster Central Help Forum?

How to separate pages that Google has canonicalized?!topic/webmasters/R0MGhtF3IDs;context-place=forum/webmasters

+Google Webmasters 

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Might want to reconsider your mobile app install interstitials!
An update to the mobile-friendly algorithm

Starting today, pages with an app install interstitial that hide a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page won’t be considered mobile-friendly .

Instead of full page interstitials, we recommend that webmasters use more user-friendly formats such as app install banners. We hope that this change will make it easier for searchers to see the content of the pages they are looking for.

Happy searching!
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