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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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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7 most important SEO focus areas for colleges and universities

July typically means a new fiscal year for colleges and universities, bringing with it new marketing plans and goals for the upcoming educational year. Where does SEO fit into your higher education marketing plan this year? Hopefully, right at the top.
Earlier this year, Chegg Enrollment Services and the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA) conducted a survey of 726 high school students researching universities. Online searches ranked as the top method used by prospective college applicants to discover universities and programs, and the second most popular method used both during and after the admissions process.

However, higher education faces its own set of unique challenges for SEO. University websites are often segmented by school, program or department. This can result in many contributors to the SEO process, often without a singular roadmap to follow across the organization. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for the university’s IT department to own web development, sometimes creating a backlog for technical SEO changes that

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3 steps to overcoming site issues that impact performance

Over the past two decades, as the online world has experienced exponential growth, websites have become increasingly complex. Web pages have evolved from simple HTML pages with a few graphics to responsive, personalized pages that focus on the user experience. In tandem with the growing sophistication of websites, customers’ quality standards have also matured.
For example, customers have come to expect that websites load quickly, regardless of the device they are using. In 2009, a mere 5 percent of people expected load times of one second or less on e-commerce sites. Six years later, in 2015, a survey found that this number had increased to nearly a third of all customers, with 30 percent expecting pages to load in one second or less.
As web pages have evolved, however, the potential for problems has increased. Even seemingly small issues can drastically impact site performance, hindering visitors’ ability to find the content and information they want. Such site issues can quickly damage the reputation

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Canonical chaos: doubling down on duplicate content

Search engines are getting smarter. There is little doubt about that. However, in a CMS-driven web where content can often exist on several URLs, it is not always clear what is the authoritative URL for a given piece of content. Also, having content on several URLs can lead to problems with link and ranking signals being split across several variations of a piece of content.
It is hard enough standing out in the often hypercompetitive search landscape, so you would imagine that most businesses had these foundational SEO issues under control. Unfortunately, our experience would tell us otherwise. In fact, it seems that in the wake of many sites moving towards HTTPS for the promised ranking boost, we are seeing even more issues of URL-based duplicate content than before.
Fortunately, we have the canonical tag. With rel=canonical, we can easily specify the authoritative URL for any piece of content. Google and the other engines will then consolidate link and rank

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For e-commerce success: SEO > aesthetics

The world of e-commerce optimization is vast and complex, and it demands a particular level of attention in order to function and perform correctly.
Over the last 10 years, I have had the opportunity to manage a variety of enterprise-level e-commerce websites that offer everything from athletic gear to office supplies.
Regardless of the intended audience, most e-commerce sites suffer from similar optimization issues. These issues prevent them from maximizing their exposure to qualified traffic and the related revenue.
Usually, these problems are connected to how business stakeholders approach the development of their e-commerce platform, placing user experience and aesthetics over search engine optimization (SEO).
When brands focus on building e-commerce environments that are attractive and functional but ignore or forget about SEO, they immediately lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers from organic channels.
The good news is that by adhering to the following e-commerce optimization recommendations, you can create an environment that is functional and attractive and introduces your brand

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Don’t get duped by duplicate content: 8 quick checks for every SEO

You’ve probably heard the phrase “duplicate content” being thrown around from time to time, and like any savvy webmaster, you’d never dare to publish the same content twice — but have you?
Duplicate content is the equivalent of overdrawing your checking account, except instead of paying costly fees each month you’ll be sacrificing your precious crawl budget. Manifesting itself in several forms, duplicate content may be one of the most elusive and widely overlooked problems that can affect your site’s ability to rank. It oftentimes stems from a sites’ information architecture or CMS limitations — which likely means it wasn’t deliberate.
Unfortunately, there is no simple check in Google Search Console that will flag this issue for you. Even the most advanced third-party tools don’t always do a good job of finding duplicate content — especially when the source is internal.
Here are eight potential sources of duplicate content that could be affecting your site:
1. HTTP and HTTPS URLs
One of the

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Is your HTTPS setup causing SEO issues?

Google has been making the push for sites to move to HTTPS, and many folks have already started to include this in their SEO strategy. Recently at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes from Google said that 34 percent of the Google search results are HTTPS. That’s more than I personally expected, but it’s a good sign, as more sites are becoming secured.
However, more and more, I’m noticing a lot of sites have migrated to HTTPS but have not done it correctly and may be losing out on the HTTPS ranking boost. Some have also created more problems on their sites by not migrating correctly.
HTTPS post-migration issues
One of the common issues I noticed after a site has migrated to HTTPS is that they do not set the HTTPS site version as the preferred one and still have the HTTP version floating around. Google back in December 2015 said in scenarios like this, they would index the HTTPS by default.
However, the

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SEO Disasters: Preventing The Unthinkable

Like any SEO veteran, I can recount my share of horror stories — launching Google Analytics and noticing that sudden, sickening drop in traffic.
Sometimes, sudden drops in traffic may be the result of an algorithm changes (such as Panda). However, in many cases, they are caused by bugs, inadvertent changes or overambitious engineers with a little bit of SEO knowledge.
In this article, I will examine three real-life case studies and outline the steps necessary for SEO disaster prevention.
Case #1: “Something Bad Is Happening To My Website.”
I was at a company offsite, and my phone had been vibrating with several calls. I left my meeting and saw that my good friend (let’s call him “Tony”) had called several times and left a message: “I think something bad happening to my website. Traffic is crashing. Some sort of SEO problem.”
Tony runs iFly, an extremely successful airport information site. Like many of us, he is very dependent on Google traffic; an SEO issue would be a big

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