All About the GDPR

While deregulation has been a stateside trend over the past decade, the 28 members of the European Union are gearing up for a massive increase in regulations around data privacy in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — and this regulation will make a splash across the pond as well.
Briefly, virtually all personal information will be considered private and protected under these new rules, serving up a much more comprehensive approach than the US’s piecemeal protections of medical and financial data.
But what do these new rules mean — if anything — for US businesses?
The short answer: Plenty. Maybe. It depends.
The long answer requires some context and is worth taking the time to understand. And most providers are already making big strides to be ready for launch in May.
Internet privacy: The early years
The GDPR, set to go into effect on May 25, 2018, is the product of four years of debate and preparation — but

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Can you predict what the future holds for your inbound links?

Almost five years ago I wrote an article about predicting a site’s future and using your expectation to decide whether you should pursue links on that site today. Much has changed in the search engine optimization (SEO) landscape since then so I decided to expand and update my original article.
Sometimes, what’s old is old
It’s interesting to run into sites we’ve worked with in the past and compare their previous and current metrics. Lots of things pop up like:

Old links are still live but the host page is full of new links whereas it wasn’t before.
Pages that once ranked well no longer do so.
Articles with links that were not originally there have been added.
And sometimes everything is the same, though, if not better!

A look into the past
It’s easy to determine what a site looked like in the past and compare it to the current site by using Archive.org.
You may notice a lot of changes such as good and bad

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Auditing customer reviews for organic traffic growth without losing speed or attracting penalties

User-generated content on product or service pages can be key to driving conversions and a fantastic way to add unique content to a page.  
If you don’t have the resources to write good content yourself, user-generated content can be especially helpful. However, if your customer review content isn’t optimized for search engines, it can work against you and delay or obstruct your marketing efforts instead of driving more business.
Below are four common issues (and a bonus) I have come across when auditing retailer product pages and the workarounds I’ve used for each.  
1. Page speed
This is a much-discussed subject, and as of late, it is a mobile search ranking factor coming July 2018. It is key to sync with your web developers on the optimal page load speed, as images, related products and content will impact load times for this critical part of the purchase funnel.
Customer review content is best when optimized for both Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

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Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for moving from one site to another

Whether it is a website rebranding, a consolidation of different web properties or an HTTP to HTTPs migration, when you are implementing a structural web change, it is critical to monitor the crawling, indexing, rankings, traffic and organic search conversions on both the old and new web locations. Careful tracking will enable you to fix any potential problem as they arise.
Besides establishing a relevant strategy to follow that include search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, here are the most important areas and steps to monitor during the web migration stages.  Be ready to identify any issues that could cause a negative impact, while also identifying opportunities.
Getting started
Start tracking your organic search visibility on the old and new web locations at least a couple of months before the migration takes place.  This will make it easier to identify any unexpected and inconsistent behavior when the change happens.

Old vs. new web crawling
Let’s start with the most fundamental aspects to

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Visualizing your site structure in advance of a major change

In our last article, we looked at some interesting ways to visualize your website structure to illuminate how external links and PageRank flow through it. This time, we’re going to use the same tools, but we’re going to look instead at how a major site structure change might impact your site.
Search engine crawlers can determine which pages on your site are the most important, based, in part, on how your internal links are structured and organized. Pages that have a lot of internal links pointing to them — including links from the site’s navigation — are generally considered to be your most important pages. Though these are not always your highest-ranking pages, high internal PageRank often correlates with better search engine visibility.
Note: I use the phrase “internal PageRank,” coined by Paul Shapiro, to refer to the relative importance of each page within a single website based on that site’s internal linking structure. This term may be used

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5 local search tactics your competitors probably aren’t using

Local SEO is competitive and fierce. With more and more local businesses vying for the Google local three-pack — and ads and online directories occupying a large percentage of the remaining SERP real estate — your local SEO strategy has to be aggressive.
So, what can you do to outrank your local competitors down the street, especially when you’ve all got the basics down? One approach is to use local SEO tactics that your competitors may not know about or aren’t using. Here are five local SEO tactics you can implement to help get ahead of your competitors.
Google Posts
First, every local business should claim their Google My Business (GMB) listing. It’s a must-do. Non-negotiable. If you don’t claim your Google My Business listing, you essentially don’t exist online! (Okay, that’s an exaggeration — but not claiming your GMB listing will significantly diminish your chances of showing up in local search results.)
Of your competitors who claim their Google My Business listing,

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A site migration SEO checklist: Don’t lose traffic

Few things can destroy a brand’s performance in the search results faster than a poorly implemented site migration.
Changing your domain name or implementing HTTPS can be a great business move, but if you fail to consider how search engines will react to this move, you are almost certain to take a major hit in organic search traffic.
Use the following SEO checklist to prepare yourself as you develop a migration game plan for your website.
1. Carefully consider if migration is the right choice
A site migration will almost always result in a temporary loss of traffic — Google needs time to process the change and update its index accordingly. A carefully executed site migration can minimize traffic fluctuations, and in a best-case scenario, Google will ultimately treat the new site as if it were the original.
Still, that is only the best-case scenario. The reality is that site migrations, in and of themselves, typically offer little to no SEO benefit

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Three ways to use a domain name for business today

www.Com
Registering a domain name is one of the first steps to starting a new business. That’s because whatever name is chosen will represent the business’s space on the internet — and, possibly, a customer’s first impression of the company.
But once you have that domain name, what do you do? Don’t stress over building an online space. Start using a domain name right away. Here are three ways to do it.
Set up a company-branded email address
The web address can also be used as an email address. A company-branded email address can give you and your employees a more professional-looking branded channel for communication with customers, as well as free marketing for your company. In a 2015 survey, 74 percent of consumers said they would trust a company-branded email address more than a free email address. It’s easy and cost-effective to set up, too. The provider you use to register your domain name can most likely help you set

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Tips to troubleshoot your technical SEO

There are lots of articles filled with checklists that tell you what technical SEO items you should review on your website. This is not one of those lists. What I think people need is not another best practice guide, but some help with troubleshooting issues.
info: search operator
Often, [info:https://www.domain.com/page] can help you diagnose a variety of issues. This command will let you know if a page is indexed and how it is indexed. Sometimes, Google chooses to fold pages together in their index and treat two or more duplicates as the same page. This command shows you the canonicalized version — not necessarily the one specified by the canonical tag, but rather what Google views as the version they want to index.
If you search for your page with this operator and see another page, then you’ll see the other URL ranking instead of this one in results — basically, Google didn’t want two of the same page in their

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19 technical SEO facts for beginners

Technical SEO is an awesome field. There are so many little nuances to it that make it exciting, and its practitioners are required to have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
In this article, I cover some fun technical SEO facts. While they might not impress your date at a dinner party, they will beef up your technical SEO knowledge — and they could help you in making your website rank better in search results.
Let’s dive into the list.
1. Page speed matters
Most think of slow load times as a nuisance for users, but its consequences go further than that. Page speed has long been a search ranking factor, and Google has even said that it may soon use mobile page speed as a factor in mobile search rankings. (Of course, your audience will appreciate faster page load times, too.)
Many have used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an analysis of their site speed and recommendations for improvement. For those

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