Mixed Content Issues

The Push for a More Secure Web

Google is forcing websites to be labeled as secure.  They are doing this by leveraging the browser – Google Chome, to label non-secure sites directly in the address bar.  They are also speaking of making non-secure websites not able to be added to the Google index – which means that a Google Search won’t find your website.  This makes one of the most current SEO trends to be insuring a website is fully secure.

Dealing with Mixed Content Errors

As a web developer or an SEO professional one of the things you will inevitably have to deal with is the dreaded mixed content issues. For those still learning, mixed content is what happens when your HTTPS website either requests resources from an HTTP location such as an image, or when that HTTPS website has links on pages pointing to HTTP websites.

I know what you are thinking, “But I installed an SSL”. Well, the SSL certificate does not automatically fix those images being pulled from HTTP when the website is now using the HTTPS protocol. Fixing the issues, for the most part, is not that difficult with the correct access to the backend of the website.

 

Resolving Mixed Content Errors

There are several ways in which these errors can be resolved. The most common are doing it manually or using a plugin that forces HTTPS on everything. When dealing with a situation where you do not have access to the file system on the server the plugin option is the only option that you may have. Having full access to the file system on the server gives more options other than the plugin route.

WordPress Plugins

When working with WordPress most people try to limit the number of plugins installed and/or active on the site at any given time. The more plugins you have, the better the chances of some of them being way out of date and creating security vulnerabilities. 

If plugins are the only option you have then something like Really Simple SSL may provide all the features you need. It will force all URLs and resources to use the HTTPS protocol. Just know that plugins such as these are not always perfect. There are times where it will resolve 99% of all your HTTP/HTTPS issues. But, it may leave a thing or two untouched and forcing you to do some manual on page fixes. 

really simple ssl plugin

really simple ssl plugin

Other Plugin Options

Another plugin option that seems to work well but does pose some risk for the inexperienced would be a Find and Replace plugin that can edit the database. One such recommended plugin would be Better Search Replace.

The nice thing about this one is that it has a preview mode where you can test your changes and it will show you how many items will be altered. This is great if you know or think you have around 15 URLs that you know are still going to HTTP addresses.

If you test and the results come back with anything from 15-30ish URLs you can be confident that nothing will break if you commit those changes. I have also found that you can actually find all http:// entries and change every single one to https:// in one clean sweep.

Do I need to say do a backup first? Work smarter, not harder. Keep the rookie mistakes to a minimum and always run a backup of your site before making any modifications.

using better search and replace

 

Manually Correcting Mixed Content Errors

For those who possess Jedi web powers, you may prefer to do things manually and keep that WordPress installation nice and clean. Ok, maybe not “clean” but damn close to it. Using tools like SEMrush or SERPed will give you a report of all the mixed content on the site.

Looking at your report you might see that of the 100 mixed content errors reported, it may be the same 10 or 15 things repeated several times across the website. It may show 100 items but you really only need to fix around 15. This can be done relatively fast, especially when you know or built the website to begin with. 

SEMrush
Mixed content errors are not extremely difficult to fix. At times they may be hard to find depending on the theme used for the website. Unfortunately, they are something that has to be addressed in order for your SSL Certificate to fully cover your site.

Your choices are doing the work yourself or outsourcing to someone else. If you decide to do the work yourself make sure you create a backup before you start then take your time and check your work. Don’t forget to clear that cache if you have one.

If you decide to hire outside help make sure they know what they are doing before handing over access to your website. In either case, you should be able to resolve all mixed content errors and secure the website with the SSL Certificate.

seo trends for 2019

The Latest Trends in SEO

What are the latest SEO Trends for 2019?

SEO trends tend to change across time as the Internet continues to develop and come up with new features. Traditional SEO tasks, roles and strategies have all undergone changes in the past and the advent of some new directions for businesses and industries means that there will be considerable changes in SEO services.

Influence of Search Engines

The number of business owners coming to realize the importance of search engine authorship is increasing and author rank is being taken more seriously than before. Search engines are constantly trying to increase the click through rate for high quality content and this has signified an overall reduction in the complete number of search results being accompanied by proper authorship info, thereby leading to more competition among writers to generate good SEO content.

A tiered system is also coming into view next to the search results and the current situation is such that some search results display full authorship details while others are displayed merely with a simple byline. A few factors that continue to determine whether or not authorship snippets are included are the trustworthiness and reputation of the authors, along with the site that publishes the content.

Speculation continues regarding the fact that those who are unable to establish some amount of authority through author rank will slowly turn irrelevant. Though this is yet to happen, it is a strong reminder for marketers and writers to get their authorship set up now prior to reaching that point.

Social Media and Its Growing Power

Brands are slowly coming to terms with the newfound power of social media and the way it affects website traffic referrals and content dissemination. As many sites continue to actively struggle to earn even mediocre rankings in search engines, brands have become increasingly aware of seeing social media as a quicker way to get the content in front of the target audience and raise their website traffic.

New Avenues in Content Marketing

Most experts agree on the fact that it is no longer enough to merely come up with an SEO strategy but you also need to have “content marketing” techniques in place. The term content marketing has slowly started to replace SEO and it is evident that marketers must continue the focus on high quality content guided by solid keyword research based on SEO competition and focus on topical and long-tail targeting. However, the days of choosing some keywords and putting most of the efforts towards becoming the top ranked keyword is over.

seo trends

There is too much competition in most industries and there is always going to be at least one brand that is doing better and spending a larger budget than you. Therefore, a good and efficient content marketing strategy must seek to build the exposure for several long-tail keywords while, at the same time, raising awareness, credibility, authority, conversion rates and social media awareness.

Every content marketing strategy must have the best and time-tested SEO practices at its foundation, meaning that the SEO practices still remain useful. A technical knowledge of search engine optimization together with corresponding strategic content marketing plan seems to be the new weapon of choice for online marketers.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging has gained a lot of prominence in recent times and both online marketers and SEO professionals understand the value of this strategy for building links, brand authority, credibility along with numerous other advantages.

Guest blogging should not merely comprise a means to get links but should rather focus on contributing excellent content in order to build an audience and reputation. Guest blogging is poised to remain an excellent strategy for building an audience along with a brand as well as a personal thought leadership plan. However, low quality and spammy guest blogging has become redundant and smart marketers are instead attempting to focus on using guest blogging for several other benefits.

SEO Expenses and Increasing Costs

SEO has become more expensive recently due to the increased difficulty in gaining inbound links and creating link-worthy content. Earlier, producing good content was easier since all you needed to do was get write some keyword-rich content, insert a few keyword-rich links to it, and voila!

However, with the increased difficulty in terms of rankings, business owners and marketers have come to realize that they must increase the investment in content creation and link building so as to rank in the search engines. Such large-scale investment in SEO and content creation means that brands need to thoroughly re-evaluate the types of content they are coming up with, and actively keep track of whether or not that content is allowing them to achieve their goals.

realtors and social media

How Realtors Use Social Media to Sell Your Home

Using Social Media to Sell Your Home

Social media has shrunk our world to the point that now you can reach a targeted global audience with the click of a mouse. Social media is especially valuable in the real estate industry, allowing realtors to instantly connect with targeted buyers and sell your home faster than ever before.

 

Here are a few of the social media tools your realtor will use to sell your home.

 

Create a Unique Facebook Page

Facebook is tops when it comes to social media, and local Realtors have discovered how to promote their listings using Facebook pages. In these technological times, the most successful Realtors know that to compete they must use the internet for leads and will have their own personal page and business page. Now, with Facebook, they can create a single page dedicated specifically to your home listing. The listing can host high-quality pictures and videos of your property, details about the house, as well as pricing, measurements, and contact information for interested buyers.

 

The unique page promoting your house will be shared with a targeted audience of prospective buyers who have shown an interest in buying a home. Your Realtor will use the page to promote your home on other Facebook pages as well as other social media accounts. When potential buyers comment or have questions, you and your realtor can monitor the page and reply instantly to their concerns.

 

Local Pinterest Realty Groups

Pinterest is a social media site where you can post high-quality images of just about anything. Real estate agents have discovered they can use Pinterest to get leads and drive traffic to the Facebook page promoting your house for sale. They simply create local boards and build a community of followers that help to grow the popularity of the boards, exposing it to more potential buyers.

pinterest

One of the biggest benefits of using Pinterest is that your realtor is going to encourage other realtors or sellers to collaborate on the board, helping explode the views and get a larger audience to the posts. Building a digital community of potential buyers, means that each time you post a new picture of the house, it is instantly seen by Pinterest users!

 

The Power of Facebook Ads

When selling your home, you want to be able to get your listing in front of the right buyers as quickly as possible. Unlike advertising in the newspapers or real estate magazines, Facebook ads work the opposite way. Rather than your realtor spending time and money hoping the right buyer sees their ad in the local newspaper, the Facebook ad only appears on the pages of Facebook users who express interest in the local real estate. If the user searches for a home in your town on Facebook or Google, then your Facebook ad will appear prominently in front of the user.

 

Now if these users are aggressively looking for a house, they will be lead right to the Realtor’s website or Facebook page promoting the property. From there, these potential buyers can request a showing or follow the links for more details about the property with a few clicks of the mouse.

 

Video Tours on YouTube

Perhaps the biggest advantage for your Realtor to using social media when trying to sell your home is the ability to create videos that give potential buyers a chance to tour the house from the comforts of their home. YouTube is the number one social media site for videos, and millions visit the site daily, including those promoting real estate listings. Your Realtor can craft a stunning virtual tour of your property, and promote it to people searching for real estate in the area. The biggest advantage to using YouTube videos in real estate marketing is that your realtor can link to the video on their Facebook page, in e-mails, on Twitter, and even LinkedIn.

youtube for realtors

This social media platform also provides your Realtor another benefit, after the video has 100 unique views, it gets picked up by Google Search for real estate and now your listing is exposed to a global audience. Real estate agents can include a powerful call to action links under the video to help create a list of contacts and to schedule showings.

 

Twitter Real Estate Hashtags

Most Realtors have discovered that if they have clients buying a home or selling a house, they can get maximum exposure by utilizing Twitter to reach potential buyers. Your realtor knows that when it comes to selling your home, local leads are a premium. By using the Twitter hashtags, they can get more eyes on their listings instantly.

 

By using the right realty hashtags, your listing agent can get all the traffic from the top search terms to see their listing hour after hour. Realtors have discovered that they can reach a larger targeted audience for far less money and in less time by simply using Twitter hashtags.

 

The more social sites your Realtor is utilizing, the more potential buyers will have instant access to all the details concerning your listed property. With leads coming in from multiple social media platforms at the same time, all your realtor will have to do is schedule the showings and continue to drive more traffic to the videos and pages promoting your home to get you the best offer.

local search targeting

How Local SEO Can Impact Your Brick and Mortar Business

SEO aka Search Engine Optimization is a term that in this day and age every local business owner should recognize. If you don’t know, or are scratching your head trying to figure it out the acronym. You need to read this article and, chances are that your website — You do have one, right? — is likely only found if someone types in your URL directly. SEO is the means by which a website is optimized for search and everyday there are literally millions of searches that are performed on Google.

 

Here are a few quick statistics:

  • There are over 7.5 billion local searches each month
  • 87% of people who search for a certain type of business are searching for local results and call or visit the business within 24 hours
  • Implementing local SEO into your marketing plan is 15 to 20 times more cost effective tha compared with traditional SEO in terms of return on investment (ROI).
  • Previously, local businesses relied primarily on foot traffic and traditional forms of advertising to compete at the local level. However, more and more people are using search engines to find the local businesses around them.
  • The creation of Google+Local, local SEO has become necessary to put a business on the map (figuratively and on map applications users refer to on their mobile devices).

Different Types of SEO

Even if you already have SEO as a priority for your business, the new ranking factors that define local SEO differ from traditional SEO especially when it comes down to building links. Traditional SEO is having your business (brick and mortar or web based) show up organically in search results.  The search could be from a mobile device or from a desktop computer.  Traditional SEO has a variety of factors that are looked at, with back links being the most important.

Local SEO is quite different.  Local SEO is for bricks and mortar businesses only and uses the business location to show up in relevant search results.  Examples would be:  best hamburger near me, best Realtor website, printing company, personal injury attorney and so on.  You are anticipating seeing local businesses around you.  In many instances, the top 3 of these searches pull up in a map — which is called the 3 Pack or Map Pack.

Traditional SEO and Local SEO have very different cost structures – because there are different ranking factors.  This article outlines the most important aspects of local SEO services that will optimize your business and most assuredly will increase foot traffic as well as online traffic to your establishment.

Local SEO

SEO local services can even help your bottom line if you don’t have a website by using your Google My Business page along with posting your listing in various directories on the Internet, such as Yelp , Brownbook , Yellowpages – and even the smaller, localized citation sites such as eBusinessPages.   These local “links” act as a hub for potential customers to find your business.

LOCAL SEO

LOCAL SEO

The NAP Factor


There are multiple factors that lend themselves to ranking your business in local searches however, the most important part of providing local SEO services comes down to three pieces of information known as NAP which stands for name, address, and phone number.

While providing this basic information may seem like a no-brainer, a recent Constant Contact survey revealed that more than 50 percent of small businesses surveyed knew that there were inaccuracies in their NAP listings, however, 70 percent of the same businesses said they simply did not have enough time to spend on updating their listings across all directories.

Example of Properly Set Up GMB NAP


That is an amazing percentage, especially considering the fact that according to Moz, the number one negative ranking factor on Google is a false business address, and the third negative ranking factor is inaccuracy across directories in NAP information.

Updating your company’s NAP information has become a critical piece to a business’s online ranking and it’s all comes down to consistency and accuracy in your online presence. Which can be a real challenge for humans because we all know that “to err is human.” In today’s world, a simple typo in your business name or the wrong address in a single directory can negatively affect your Google ranking.

It’s not always convenient to stop everything else and take time to update what might seem small changes, but it can be critical when it comes to your customers finding you when they need to.

Update your information:

 

  • If your business changes names (even slightly).
  • If you’ve moved to a new address.
  • If you’ve changed or added a new phone number or fax line.

Local SEO MobileAccuracy is critical and keeping this information up to date on on the major internet directories can take some research, patience and time that many business owners just don’t have in today’s fast-paced world of commerce.

Which brings the question: How does a local business owner make sure the NAP information for their business is accurate and consistent across all of these internet directories?

While you can spend your time searching the internet to check each listing, making sure your information is accurate and consistent, many small business owners simply don’t have the time to take on the task. If that is the case then it may be time to find a reliable and professional SEO company. They will do the work for you and scour the internet to find and check each directory your business is listed on to make sure that your information is accurate and consistent.

 

Information Beyond NAP

Name, address, and phone numbers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to filling out local directories for your business. Potential customers want to see more information and the more information about your business that can be found in local directories is the more credibility it lends to your company in the eyes of local search engines. Beyond NAP you include as much information as you can including:

  • Hours of operation
  • Forms of payment
  • Prices
  • General Products and Services
  • Customer Reviews and testimonials
  • Link to Website and Social Media
  • Local Maps and Directions

 

As a general rule, the more information you include in local directories about your business the better. Not only do customers like to see the most possible information, every piece of information gives your business a slight advantage in your local SEO efforts when compared to other local businesses in your geographical area. Google makes this process simple with its My Business page. This shows the business owner a completion bar which indicates how complete their page’s information is.

 

Here are some tips to get your local SEO services information to 100%:

 

Social Media

Compared with traditional SEO algorithms, social media becomes much more important when it pertains to local SEO services. This is because many customers may never see your business website but will find you on whatever social media platforms they might be searching with i.e., Yelp, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Your first step in providing local SEO services is to claim your Google My Business page, then optimize all of the information on your social media pages to match the information on your My Business page as well as other local directories. This provides customers with all the information they need to find your business and optimizes your local SEO.

Facebook “Likes” and “Retweets” on Twitter will count as a local search ranking factor. This basically means that you will rank higher on local search results the more people you have interacting with your business on social media.

 

Encourage Customers to Review

get reviews for local SEO

get reviews for local SEO

A huge local ranking factor is that of getting reviews from your customers and there are ways to incentiveize your customers to leave those all-important Facebook, Google+, Urbanspoon, Yelp, etc. reviews.

It is no secret that Google favors businesses that are highly reviewed over ones that don’t have enough reviews or even worse have negative reviews. Good reviews from your customers can be the difference between showing up somewhere in the murky middle of local search results and reaching the highly sought after top spot.

If your establishment is needing reviews, there are a variety of ways to encourage customers to leave a review after visiting. Something as simple as putting up a sign asking customers to leave a review could work. Incentives, such as a discount, coupon, or even a shout-out on social media could be enough to generate some reviewers. Assuming you have a great product or service these positive reviews can immediately bolster your local SEO efforts.

 

Google’s New Hyperlocal Algorithm

A newest development in the local SEO is Google’s hyperlocal “neighborhood algorithm.” While sometimes it may be hard to group businesses into neighborhoods because of unclear boundaries, Google is trying to make local searches more accurate for the people trying to find businesses in their area.

It’s never too early for businesses to jump on this bandwagon and include neighborhood data in their listings. By including specific neighborhood terminology, a business can be ahead of the curve when Google integrates neighborhood data into local SEO and optimizes their existing local SEO efforts at the same time.

Some ways to take advantage of this new hyper-local search are:

  • Include neighborhood information in your Google My Business page
  • Add your neighborhood to your website and social media page text
  • Add your neighborhood to title tags on your website.
  • Make sure Google Maps has your neighborhood mapped correctly.

 

While hyperlocal SEO is still being embraced and understood by businesses, it’s important to continue to stay ahead of competing local businesses as it becomes more and more significant for consumers.

The information here was borrowed heavily from the article on DEAN Knows Local SEO For Real Estate Agents

buying that second home

5 Reasons to Buy a Second Home

So…you have some equity built up or finished paying for your primary residence and you are wondering whether it makes sense to buy a second home.  Many homeowners who live in a large city like Boston, may be looking for that second home in a surrounding cities such as  Cohasset or Weymouth.  Some choose to purchase a second home so they can have a vacation style getaway and purchase a beachfront condo in Panama City.  You may want to retire to the music life of Austin TX.  There are many reasons someone may choose to invest in that second home; below are some of theadvantages that come with owning a second home.


Second Home As an Investment

The first is that it is an excellent form of investment. Stocks and other such assets fluctuate in value all the time and you can never be sure that you will make a profit. A home, however, is an investment that you can rely on to increase in value over time. If you have a long term project, such as sending your kids to university, you can buy a second home so that when the time comes you can cash in for the necessary funds.

Second Home as Source of Extra Income

5 reasons for purchasing a second homeA second home is also an excellent way to make money every year. With the massive popularity of Air BnB – it has become even easier to leverage a second property for income purposes.   You can rent it out or lease it for a good amount of money which you can use to fund your other projects. If you plan to use it as a vacation home you can plan it in such a way that during the time you want to go on vacation the home is empty.

Second Home For Tax Savings

If you don’t plan to rent out your home you may be in a position to see significant tax savings. So long as the home is not occupied for more than a couple of weeks a year the property taxes are deductible from your gross income.  Depending on your specific situation, there are many potential ways to leverage a second home as a tax writer.  Needless to say, you should defer to a tax professional before writing that offer.

Some of the Possible Tax Advantages




A Second Home as a Vacation Home

A second home provides you with a familiar place to go when you are on holiday. You will not have to worry about the hassle of staying in hotels and eating hotel food. You will have your holiday the way you like it – you can come and go as you please and you can eat whatever you like. If you have small children it is a particularly good idea because children don’t do very well when they are cooped up in hotel rooms. You will also enjoy a high level of convenience – you don’t have to worry about packing because you can store items in your second home. When the time comes for your holiday all you need to do is travel to your second home – you will not have to worry about packing and unpacking.  A second home is also a great place for gatherings – once or twice a year you can have the whole family come together and enjoy some time away from work.

buying your second home

buying your second home



A Second Home for Retirement

Lastly, if you want to retire well there is no better way than to choose a second home in a nice city. When the time comes you will sell your first home and the money that you make will go a long way in helping fund your retirement lifestyle.

There is no doubt that owning real estate is the #1 way that the average person can acquire wealth in the United States.  If you can make it happen — it is always recommended to invest in real estate.

Find a good real estate website — start searching.  Do the math.  You may be surprised what you are able to do.

real estate websites

The Best Real Estate Websites are NOT What You Think

What The Best Real Estate Websites Have

Many believe that the best real estate websites include Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia. In fact, they are not.  The nationwide real estate portals simply do not have all of the listings.

websites with IDX

Local Real Estate Websites

When looking for the best real estate website, truth is it takes a little more looking than one would think.  Since the nationwide real estate portals don’t have all of the listings, you need to go local.

Local real estate sites have a direct connection to the MLS via a IDX feed.   This lets the local real estate sites display ALL of the real estate listings regardless of who listed the property.  This lets the local, broker based sites showcase a range of listings, not just their own.

While some specialize in only commercial real estate, others specialize in residential sales, some focus on condos and some on single family homes. There are even sites that offer both services by agents, for buyers and sellers across the nation. One of the best ways to find the right sites is by narrowing your search down to your immediate location or vicinity.

 

Search Local

When you use Google to try and find a local real estate website, make sure that you put your city in the Google Search.  That means if you are looking for luxury homes in New Orleans,  your search should be New Orleans luxury homes for sale.  Although this sounds intuitive, if you simply search “real estate” or “homes for sale” without the city name — you will usually end up with the major search portals which wont have all of the listings.

 

What to Look for In Real Estate Sites?

local real estate websites are better

The best real estate sites should have content that is easy to process. These should also have user-friendly menus and search features. This allows visitors to access a wide array of valuable resources, including available listings, property values, and much more.

Most real-estate sites also have blog sections, which feature informative articles and posts. The best real estate websites will be posting new, quality blog posts on a regular basis  This too is a great way to access information on all real estate happenings and events in your area.

Buyers or sellers should also be able to find current pricing trends for properties in their areas. These too can be compared to state or national averages, which let them know how much their property, should sell for.

 

What Else to Look For?

Real-estate websites really should give a full picture of what homes are for sale in a particular area. This means they need to have the aforementioned IDX – the listing feed from the MLS.

They should also offer comparative listings – which allow sellers to see average buying or selling rates in their areas. Some may even have the local condo association condo docs. As always, there should be plenty of pertinent links along with contact information for all interested buyers and sellers.

For more information, simply check Google for the top rated real estate websites – making sure to put the city in your search criteria.  Don’t forget to pass up ALL of the major real estate portals!