Yoast’s guide to higher rankings for WordPress

We’ve been using Yoast for our SEO services for years. It’s no secret what we do and we don’t get all funny about people learning out techniques. Ask any of our customers – we want to help people learn how to manage and run websites. We don’t want you locked in, committed to pay and have no idea what to do without us. No, we want to empower WordPress users to get the best out of their sites.

Here’s a wonderful article by Yoast that shows just a few of the things we do to improve SEO.

https://yoast.com/wordpress-seo/#utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=post

Need a little guidance?

Sign up to our SEO package and we’ll show you how to SEO your own content – when you’re ready, we’ll wave goodbye to you with a smile. Have a look at http://capricorn-hosting.com/ and give us a ring or use the contact form for any questions you may have. Alternatively, head straight to the shop (secured by SagePay) and have a look at our packages: http://capricorn-hosting.com/shop/

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Setting Page and Post Visibility in WordPress

There are 2 options for this.

1. Private – only Editors or Admins can view and edit
2. Passworded – set a password for each page or post.
Most content restriction can be performed this way. However, there are plugins with complex features such as full membership and payment modules.

Here’s the instructions from http://codex.wordpress.org/File:protected_post.jpg

Setting Page and Post Visibility

Visibility for posts and Pages is set from the Edit panel. The option is available under the “Publish” option normally found at the top-right of the Edit panel. The screenshot below shows the interface, with the relevant section highlighted in the red rectangle.

visibility.jpg

The default state for post and Page visibility is Public. Public visibility means that the content will be visible to the outside world as soon as it is published.

By clicking on the edit link next to Visibility: Public in the Publish options, you can choose from an expanded selection of visibility options.

expanded visibility.jpg

The options are:

  • Public: The default, viewable to all.
  • Password Protected: Clicking this radio button followed by “OK” causes a further text box to appear, into which you can enter a password.
  • Private: This option hides the content from the public completely.

Password Protected Content

Password Protected content is not immediately visible to the outside world. Instead, visitors will see a prompt similar to this:

protected post.jpg

The title for your protected entry is shown, along with a password prompt. A visitor to your site must enter the password in the box in order to see the content of the post or Page.

Private Content

Private content is published only for your eyes, or the eyes of only those with authorization permission levels to see private content. Normal users and visitors will not be aware of private content. It will not appear in the article lists. If a visitor were to guess the URL for your private post, they would still not be able to see your content. You will only see the private content when you are logged into your WordPress blog.

private visibility.jpg

Once you change the visibility to private, the post or page status changes to “Privately Published” as shown. Private posts are automatically published but not visible to anyone but those with the appropriate permission levels (Editor or Administrator).

WARNING: If your site has multiple editors or administrators, they will be able to see your protected and private posts in the Editpanel. They do not need the password to be able to see your protected posts. They can see the private posts in the Edit posts/Pages list, and are able to modify them, or even make them public. Consider these consequences before making such posts in such a multiple-user environment.

Business blogging and why you should do it

‘Business blogging and why you should do it’ – there are a number of good reasons to get into blogging from your business website. Here’s a few to wet your appetite.

In the days before the internet became ‘the way forward’ it was much the same, the big companies paid good money to advertise in the national media and the small companies used local media and other creative ways to get their message out there. Naturally the big boys grew at a huge rate and the rest did what they could to maintain good exposure. Now the smaller fish have a big net themselves to play with…

Business blogging and why you should do it

Yes, the big boys of business do still pay ‘good’ money to advertise in the best places but the world is a smaller place with more opportunities for small businesses. Blogging is one of the best ways to get ranked higher in search engines and if you’re good at it, you will see fast results. I know of companies that pay Google more than £20,000 a year to capture their chosen keywords. You don’t always have to.

Make Google love you!

Google loves fresh and relevant content so if you blog regularly, with new and fresh content that is closely related to your website, you will be noticed. If your viewers find your blogs valuable, they could go viral and attract lots of attention!

Plan your blogs!

You’ll need to think of your blog topics in advance to avoid ‘bloggers block’ but once you’re rolling along, it will be plain sailing for you. Spend a little time thinking of what you want to say, how useful it may be to your viewers and then just get stuck in – it’s a blog so there’s no great need to be ‘marketing savy’ or ‘articulate like a pro’. Blogs are generally taken as more personal than sales copy on a webpage – be yourself!

Be nice…

Blogging is a great way to directly engage with your potential clients so first and foremost, use this medium to put the right impression across to your viewers.

Business blogging and why you should do it

You don’t always need to write huge essays or sell your services at any given opportunity – just be sincere and keep your content relevant and topical. Short and sweet is always best. A few images always goes down a treat!

Where do I learn more?

Here’s a great set of tips to get you started: http://www.business2community.com/blogging/10-ways-businesses-can-blog-better-0840754#!DjZq8 (Source: http://www.business2community.com/) Jump in and search ‘business blogging tips’ or similar and you’ll find a heap of information to help get you started on the right path.

If you’re looking to start a business blog or would like more information about business blogging and how to get set up – contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you along the way.

How to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts

Today I received an email from Santander Bank warning of a possible scam that’s circulating. These scams are nothing new but they are evolving to look like they come from reputable companies or companies that people use regularly. Small business owners are most at risk (as the images show below) with fake emails appearing to come from HMRC and Sage Accounting – commonly used by small businesses.

How to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts

This email I received prompted me to offer a few tips on how to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts that land in your inbox. I get these virtually every day but I have email addresses published all over the internet on various sites, so I do expect that my address will be farmed by these unscrupulous companies.

Here’s a few examples of the kinds of emails they use:

How to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts-HMRC

How to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts-sage

 

 

 

 

The idea is that if it looks like the email comes from a company that you are familiar with, you are likely to TRUST it, therefore increasing the chances of you attempting to open the attached .zip file.

Most of the time these emails have an attachment in the for of a .zip file. Zip files are used to compress files to make them easier to send digitally. Most people are familiar with using them. The problem here is that once you open the .zip file, you may have already activated a virus and inadvertently installed nasty software on your computer.

Some emails contain ‘fake links’ to sites. This is where the link displays something you know, but leads to another site that installs software on to your device. The way to test the link for integrity is to hover over the link and look in your address bar to see if it matches the text in the email itself.

Hover over the link below for an example:

‘Please visit http://www.medwayseo.com for more information’

If you click the link, it actually redirects to www.google.co.uk. You may notice that the address bar at the bottom of the screen shows that it is linked to Google, whereas the actual link looks like a link to the Medway SEO website.

Here’s how easy this is for website owners and email writers to edit the link:

How to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts-example

This is an the email I received from Santander Bank that has some great advice and links about scam emails and phishing attempts:

To make sure your personal details and computer aren’t compromised, we wanted to make you aware of a significant email scam that’s being received by some of our customers at the moment.

How to recognise the email
The email has an attachment which appears to be correspondence linked to the email.

All official emails from us will address you by name. If an email that says it’s from us doesn’t do this, don’t open any attachments within it.

What does the attachment do if it’s opened?
It can install a virus which will encrypt your computer files and the files on your local network. Once encrypted, the computer will display a screen with a count down timer and ask for a ransom payment for the decryption key to allow you to access your files.

What’s being done about the email?
The National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) is aware of the email and is working hard to trace the source. Until they do, this email has been assessed as a significant risk. Anyone who is infected with this malware should report it via www.actionfraud.police.uk

What should I do if I get the email?
Forward it to us at phishing@santander.co.uk

If you open the attachment, the NCCU says it would never endorse paying the ransom and there’s no guarantee the fraudsters would give you the decryption key. Instead you should:

• help the NCCU find the source of the emails by reporting it at www.actionfraud.police.uk

• disconnect the computer from the network

• get your computer professionally cleaned.

Some anti-virus companies will offer corrective software solutions but won’t restore any encrypted files.

Read more advice at getsafeonline.org.uk

Other ways to protect yourself
There are some preventative measures you can take to protect yourself

Update your anti-virus and operating system with the latest versions
These will include any updates needed to protect you against new threats since the last time your software was installed.

Back up your files regularly
By preserving them off the network, they’ll be safe if your computer does ever become infected.

I have Trusteer Rapport. Will this protect me?
Trusteer Rapport protects you against viruses that try to steal your banking log on details. This virus is different in that it doesn’t steal anything but tries to hold you to ransom. As Trusteer Rapport isn’t designed for this type of virus it doesn’t protect you against it.

Questions
If you’re unsure if an email is from us, or have any other questions about this issue, contact us on 0845 600 4388. Lines are open 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 9pm Sunday.

Yours sincerely

Santander Customer Services

Santander emailed me directly, addressing me by name with this information on how to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts – I still checked ALL the links before proceeding any further.

To summarise, the easiest way to know how to recognise scam emails and phishing attempts is to make sure the email is addressed to you personally, check that the links within the email are genuine and make sure you NEVER open a .zip file that you haven’t scanned with anti-virus software.

If you found this article useful, please consider sharing with your network.

How to avoid copycat websites when searching Google

How to avoid copycat websites when searching Google - Telegraph-articleFollowing recent news reports about so called ‘copycat’ sites apparently ‘duping’ people into paying more for the Congestion Charge in London, I have been moved to explain a little bit about how this happens and how to avoid copycat websites when searching Google. In essence, the company pays Google to list above the main TfL website and charges a fee for ‘managing’ the payment.

The specific article I am referring to in this article is this: ‘Transport for London warns of ‘copycat’ congestion charge websites’ and you can read the full article by clicking HERE.

The Telegraph has this to say on the matter:

Unofficial ‘copycat’ websites are charging motorists up to £6 extra to process their London congestion charge payments. Transport for London (TfL) said around 1,000 people a day are using unofficial sites to pay the congestion charge, often not realising their mistake.

The ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) have now ruled that the site must ‘make it clearer to users that it was not affiliated to the real TfL website’ – Click HERE for the official ruling page.

The image below shows how people are becoming easily confused or ‘duped’. I’ll talk about how this works below.

How to avoid copycat websites when searching Google - medway-seo

Here’s How to avoid copycat websites when searching Google by understanding how the sponsored listings work.

When a user visits Google.com and searches for ‘pay London congestion charge’ (or very similar search terms) they are shown a page of results. Google places ‘Sponsored’ adverts directly above the natural results. Natural results are ones that are given their listing position based on quality content and other criteria that Google sets. These are the results that would normally appear at the top, if there were no sponsored adverts to display. Companies pay Google to appear in the results page when certain search terms or keywords are used.

There is nothing illegal happening here. The company are not breaking any laws. They are simply making money from the uninformed or lazy internet users. It may not be the most ethical business model but we’ve all agreed to pay more for convenience of some kind in the past and companies will always exploit people for increased margins.

There are some clever marketing techniques being used by Google here to make people believe that they are viewing the most relevant results. If you look carefully, you will notice that the adverts are surrounded by a very light yellow box. Yes, on some screens it’s almost invisible. That’s because the colour is only 5% yellow and 2% magenta on the CYMK scale. This basically means it’s almost white!

How to avoid copycat websites when searching Google-yellow box
Yellow or off white?

At the top of this yellow box is a small piece of text that states ‘Ad related to pay london congestion charge‘. To the  right of this text is an ‘info’ icon that, if you click, displays the following message:

This ad is based on your current search terms.
Visit Google’s Ads Settings to learn more, block specific advertisers or opt out of personalised ads.

Now that you know the 3 points above, have a search and see if you notice the sponsored adverts now. All the information is there if you really look carefully. That’s Google’s back side covered. They’ve made it really clear haven’t they? Their argument would be that they have stated ‘clearly’ that these listings are adverts.

From the point of view of a web design and SEO company, we’re always having to explain our definition of ‘position 1’ on ‘page 1’ of Google. We actually mean the first listings that appear BELOW the sponsored ads. Seasoned professionals always discard the sponsored ads when viewing the results pages.

The practice of ‘clever marketing’ is nothing new but the ASA issuing a warning to the site is simply not enough to stop the problem. PEOPLE need to learn themselves how to recognise and avoid these kinds of marketing tactics. The same way you learned that your bank doesn’t EVER request you to ‘login to secure your account’ via an email message with poor grammar.

These ‘clever’ marketing people use the fact that MOST people either ‘don’t know’ how to spot the tricks or they simply ‘assume’ that the results come with integrity – and some won’t even notice! Supermarkets have been doing it for years to us all. Marketers make you think that you are getting a good deal when if fact, you probably aren’t.

Think about it – Google is free to use. How do you think they make money? They have to offer their advertisers something in return for revenue.

If you want to avoid copycat websites when searching Google, wise up and learn the tricks used by the ‘big boys’.

If you found any of this information useful, please consider sharing it with your network.