Most important SEO factors of 2018 for beginners

by Anna Kane , 4 months ago

Introduction


When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, there isn’t an exact recipe, as the ranking signals are now probably in the rage of thousands, we can’t pretend we know exactly what they are.  What we know though, is how much of an impact optimizing the most important SEO factors has ( in the real world ).

This article’s goal is to walk you trough what we consider to be some of the most important SEO ranking factors in 2018.

While reading along, you will hear us mentioning about SEO ranking factors as being on-page and of-page. Difference between them is:

  •  On-page SEO refers to factors taking place on your actual site, like content, urls and code.
  •  Off-page SEO refers to actions taken to improve your site ranking and trustworthiness by building the right inbound links network  and social signals.

On-page SEO factors

·    Content, Content, Content

Now, high quality content is maybe the most important factor when it comes to on-page SEO.  Try to keep your content lengthy, useful and unique. Updated content is also liked by Google, but try to make low magnitude changes when updating.

§  Site title

Make sure to contain your keyword, be relatable to page’s content and be brief and descriptive. As for the actual length, keeping it around ~60 chars is idea.

§  Site URL

Make sure to contain your keyword and match your page title. It should be human readable and words should be separated by hyphens while stop words and punctuation should be avoided.  Ideal URL length is around ~60 characters, but everything under 100 characters is okay.

§  Site meta description

Although meta description is not that important as it used to, it can offer you a lot of control over your indexed pages. It should contain your keyword and be around 150 characters long, as Google’s May update truncates everything above that.

§ Keyword in important HTML tags

Make sure your keyword is present in important tags, like H1, H2, H3, bold and italic

§ Images

Your images should have suggestive file names, alt descriptions even captions and descriptions

§  Sitemap AND/OR Solid Internal Links Structure

Make sure not to have broken links and avoid redirects. If you are not using a sitemap, your internal links structure should be well balanced and avoid excessive internal links.

§ Robots txt

Make sure your robots.txt file is not disallowing search engines to crawl any important sections of your website, while keeping private internal stuff.

§  HTTPS

Make sure your site is protected by SSL encryption. You can now get free certificates using something like Let's Encrypt and Certbot.

§  Mobile friendly

Mobile friendliness is again one of the most important factors of on-page SEO. Make sure your website is looking good on all mobile devices.

§  Page speed

Page speed is an important factor because it denotes the usability of the site, just as the mobile optimizations.

§ Contact us, TOS and Privacy pages

The pages mentioned above also denotes credibility not only for your users but also for Search engines.


Off-page SEO factors

§ Links, Links, Links

Backlinks are the most important SEO factor, both on and off page. However, your links must be high quality, from high authority domains, relevant and similar websites links and also diverse links.

§  Domain age

It is a common fact among SEO gurus that domain age and sometimes even registration length makes your website look better for search engines. Also a clean domain history is required for successful projects.  Keyword present in the domain is also a plus, but websites with keyword in domain and thin content might get penalized.

§  Server location, IP History

According to some experts, search engines tends to boost the ranking of websites based on their server location and IP history, which should be clean and with no spam antecedents. Also, keep in mind shared hosting servers are a bit more risky than VPS/dedicated servers.

·   Social signals and Social usage

How many times your site or page has been shared on Facebook and Twitter might actually make a difference, as social signals are always to keep in mind when optimizing your SEO. As a starting pack, websites with Facebook pages that has a lot of likes or a Twitter profile with many followers might just get you the boost you are looking for. Also, as most of the real world business are on LinkedIn, a profile on it might help you too.

 

Bonus: To Avoid ( Penalties )

§  Keyword stuffing in title / meta description

Using excessive keywords in your content, title, meta description or URLs might get you penalized. You can use them multiple times in your content, but just make sure they’re usage is in context and not forced.

·   Paid / Low quality / Spammy Links

There aren’t many things Google hates more than paid or spammy links. Make sure your link building strategy is clean and safe.

·    Pure / User-generated Spam

Google doesn’t like spam, so try to stay in the safe zone as much as possible.

§  Duplicate content / pages

Google doesn’t like duplicate content, so avoid penalizations by not duplicating content or pages. Use canonical tags when needed.

§ Sneaky Redirects / Doorway pages

§  Getting hacked / hosting malicious pages or hosting piracy content

§  Hiding text

§  Popups


That's it for now guys! If you think I've skipped something important, let me know ;)

Take care and don't let your SEO go wild.

Register and post a comment

  • 4 months ago
    Dan Oprica

    100_Emoji.png?9898922749706957214 Good seo checklist!

  • Latest articles

    Introduction to cloud computing

    In the past decades, hard drives were the major storage device for data and information. And should any disaster occur, the entire data are lost forever – no means of retrieval whatsoever.  No wonder most businesses do not rely on hard drives as storage means anymore. 

    Have you ever wondered how businesses – small, medium, and big businesses store their data? Well, the answer is the ‘cloud’.

    Okay, that sounds strange. Cloud is a term which simply means ‘online’. Information said to be stored in the cloud are those information stored online.
    Cloud computing, which is also known as security in the cloud, is a sub-category of a larger body, information security, which employs different sets of technologies in the protection of data and information stored online.

    Thanks to technology, most organizations (70 % as recorded by the Cloud Security Agency, CSA.) across the globe, now operates in the cloud – i.e. run their programs online and store their data and information online too. So much safer I must add. 

    As safe as cloud computing may be, it also has a few drawbacks. Just before then, let’s see some of the benefits of cloud computing to businesses – small, medium, and big businesses alike.

    Benefits of Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing or security in the cloud provides its users with lots of benefits. Some of which are:

    • Quick and Easy Access to Information: Cloud computing provides its users with easy access to data and information as they are stored on a single desktop computer. Any authorized party can easily access the company’s data anywhere across the globe.
    • It Ensures Better Business Continuity: Retrieving data after a natural disaster is made possible with cloud computing. These natural disasters – earthquake, flood, fire outbreak, power outage, etc., are bound to occur at some point in time but have no fear as your data are secured in the cloud. You just have to log in from a new device and retrieve the vital data needed for continuity of your business. 
    • Enhanced Service: Incorporating the cloud computing system enables data sharing among users. This helps increases the quality of your customer service as you can integrate different software and features to serve them better.
    • It Lowers IT Cost: Before now, a set of individuals are employed to manage a company’s data and programs. Cloud computing serves most of the functions such as software upgrade, data backups, and patches; as such you will need just a few IT staffs. Consequently, saving you more revenue.   
    • Drawbacks of Cloud Computing
    • Although securing your data in the cloud provides you with lots of benefits, it also exposes you to some risk. This is why it is advisable to pay attention to security on the cloud (securing your online account) as much as security in the cloud.
    • Some of the security concerns associated with cloud computing include;
    • Data Breaches
    • Denial of Service (DOS) attack
    • Hijacking of account 
    • Data loss
    • Malware injection

    Useful Tips for Securing your Data in the Cloud

    Most organizations have been victims of different cybercrimes because they pay less attention to security on the cloud. Security on the cloud is a topic of concern among small, medium, and big firms. Sadly, the individual businesses have got more roles to play than the service providers.
    Here are some useful tips you can employ in securing your data in the cloud.

    1. Be sure to use strong passwords on your account. It is better to make your password as long as possible. This makes it difficult for cybercriminals to guess correctly. Also, the password should be alphanumeric. Addition of symbols is safer too.
    2. A good understanding of social engineering attacks is necessary for the safety of your data in the cloud. Employees and employers are to be educated on the various forms of phishing and social engineering attacks so that they know how to deal with such attacks when they occur.
    3. Thankfully, most cloud software now requires the use of two-factor authentication, i.e. the use of other forms of verification besides password and username. This makes it difficult for cybercriminals to hijack your cloud account.
    4. Anti-malware or anti-virus is also useful in protecting your data online. In fact, your business is at risk without anti-malware software in your devices – phones, computers, tablets, etc. Virus come into your devices through different means, it could be through an email, a link, or an app. This anti-virus software help protect your devices from such attacks.


    Queuing emails in Laravel with Background Jobs

    So most of the web apps nowadays are featuring email notifications, newsletters and all kinds of different email implementations.  Laravel eases up the process a lot with its suit of tools that allows you to send email via any driver you wish, template and customize your emails and even queue them for later execution.


    The queue functionality comes in handy in particular when you want to speed up up your application by not having to wait for server response when doing requests that are sending emails. This basically allows emails to be sent asynced on the server side. Couple examples of use cases:


    • When for example pressing on the register button, the UI won’t have to wait for the server response, while the server is sending the email.
    • When your server / service sends your email to slow.
    • When sending large number of emails, maybe even bypassing Mailgun’s 100 emails / hour limit.


    But enough with the long talk and let’s get to business. For this particular example, I have used Laravel 5.4, but this should be pretty much the same on newer and even older versions. Let's get started!

    Step 1. For easier to edit code in the future, we will use a Service provider to easily dispatch email actions across our controllers. To get the based of your provider, you can run the following command

    php artisan make:provider EmailProvider

    After the base file has been created, make sure it looks something like this

    <?php
    namespace App\Providers;
    use App\Jobs\SendEmail;
    use Illuminate\Support\ServiceProvider;
    class EmailProvider extends ServiceProvider
    {
        /**
         * Bootstrap the application services.
         *
         * @return void
         */
        public function boot()
        {
            //
        }

        /**
         *
         * Generic email template method
         *
         * @param $email
         * @param $header
         * @param $content
         */
        public static function sendEmail($subject, $title, $content){
            dispatch(new SendEmail($subject,$title,$content));
        }

        /**
         * Register the application services.
         *
         * @return void
         */
        public function register()
        {
            //
        }
    }

    Step 2. Create a Laravel Job

    php artisan make:job SendEmail

    After the base file has been created, make sure it looks something like this

    <?php
    namespace App\Jobs;
    use App\Mail\GenericEmail;
    use Carbon\Carbon;
    use Illuminate\Bus\Queueable;
    use Illuminate\Queue\SerializesModels;
    use Illuminate\Queue\InteractsWithQueue;
    use Illuminate\Contracts\Queue\ShouldQueue;
    use Illuminate\Foundation\Bus\Dispatchable;
    use Mail;
    class SendEmail implements ShouldQueue
    {
        use Dispatchable, InteractsWithQueue, Queueable, SerializesModels;
        public $emailSubject,$emailTitle,$emailContent;
        /**
         * Create a new job instance.
         *
         * @return void
         */
        public function __construct($emailSubject,$emailTitle,$emailContent)
        {
            //
            $this->emailSubject = $emailSubject;
            $this->emailTitle = $emailTitle;
            $this->emailContent = $emailContent;
        }
        /**
         * Execute the job.
         *
         * @return void
         */
        public function handle()
        {
            //
            Mail::to($user->email)->later(Carbon::now()->addMinute(1), new GenericEmail($this->emailSubject,$this->emailTitle,$this->emailContent));
        }
    }

    Step 3. Create a Mailable Class

    php artisan make:mail GenericEmail


    <?php
    namespace App\Mail;
    use Illuminate\Bus\Queueable;
    use Illuminate\Mail\Mailable;
    use Illuminate\Queue\SerializesModels;
    use Illuminate\Contracts\Queue\ShouldQueue;
    class GenericEmail2 extends Mailable
    {
        use Queueable, SerializesModels;
        public $subject = 'Mass email';
        public $title = 'Email header';
        public $content = 'Email content';
        /**
         * Create a new message instance.
         *
         * @return void
         */
        public function __construct($emailTitle,$emailTitle,$emailContent)
        {
            //
            $this->subject = $emailTitle;
            $this->title = $emailTitle;
            $this->content = $emailContent;
        }
        /**
         * Build the message.
         *
         * @return $this
         */
        public function build()
        {
            return $this
                ->subject($this->subject)
                ->view('emails.template');
        }
    }

    Step 4. Create an email template file in a directory like resources/views/emails/template.blade.php with a content like


    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" style="font-size: 100%; font-family: 'Avenir Next', 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.65; margin: 0; padding: 0;">
      <head>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width" />
    <!-- For development, pass document through inliner -->
      </head>
      <body style="font-size: 100%; font-family: 'Avenir Next', 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.65; width: 100% !important; height: 100%; -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; -webkit-text-size-adjust: none; background: #efefef; margin: 0; padding: 0;">
      <h2>{!!$emailTitle!!}</h2>
      <p>{!!$content!!}</p>
      </body>
    </html>

    Now you should be be able to send queued emails from wherever you want in your app with something like

    EmailProvider::sendGlobal(‘This is a test email’,’Welcome friend’,’Just testin things around’);


    But before actually sending the emails, we will need to configure laravel and our server to run the service worker continuously and send actually send the previously queued emails.
    Now, there are many options you can chose from when it comes to service worker drivers, including self hosted worker, AWS or Redis.

    In this example we will work with a self hosted worker, so let’s start by creating the tables it needs to store the tables.

    php artisan queue:table
    php artisan migrate


    Then open up your dot env file and make sure the following entry is present
    QUEUE_DRIVER=database

    Bonus: Installing service supervisor

    Now, in real life usage, on sites with decent amounts of traffic the service is very likely to fail from time to time, so Supervisor makes sure the worker gets restarted if this happens.

    This time I am using a Centos system, but the commands should be relatively similar on *nix systems.

    easy_install supervisor
    yum install supervisor
    echo_supervisord_conf > /etc/supervisord.conf
    nano /etc/supervisord.conf

    And add following content:

    [program:laravel-worker]
    process_name=%(program_name)s_%(process_num)02d
    command=/usr/bin/php /var/www/html/artisan queue:work --sleep=3 --tries=3 --daemon
    autostart=true
    autorestart=true
    numprocs=2

    Create log file

    sudo mkdir -p /var/log/supervisor/laravel/
    sudo touch /var/log/supervisor/laravel/worker.log

    Start the service

    sudo service supervisord start
    sudo supervisorctl reload

    And enable it at system start

    systemctl enable supervisord

    If you have config changes

    supervisorctl reread
    supervisorctl update
    supervisorctl restart all

    That’s it for this tutorial! If everything went well, then your Laravel email setup should be able to handle all the emails you need.

    If you are having any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me via a comment!

    What is dev burnout and how to overcome it

    The job description of a developer goes beyond writing codes. We also look after databases and monitor sever-based systems; these are time demanding tasks that most of us have little to no private life. Although it looks like we have our lives after work but in reality our job goes beyond office hours. Most of us have an IT setup in our homes where we spend the supposed free time working tirelessly on virtualizing servers, programming language, designing theories or testing out new database. We virtually do nothing else than stare at the computer day and night. No wonder burnout is common amongst dedicated programmers even at young age.

    Developer’s burnout is basically that point in a programmer’s career where he gets exhausted and wishes to do just about anything other than his job. Yes I love my job, but there are times I wish I was not a programmer.


    Causes of Burnout

    Burn out is caused by several reasons but the most common of these reasons is prolonged state of intense stress from a ‘death march task’ ( a high-stake task that requires large amount of personal sacrifice and seem impossible to complete). It tends to grow gradually; one step at a time till you lost all of the passion you have for your job and start contemplating on quitting. Some other causes of burnout include;


    • Doing same task over and over without a break, from month to month and year to year. This can become very tiresome and boring leading to lost of passion and zealousness for your job.
    • Mental fatigue can also be a cause as programming is highly cognitive, stressful and intense. 
    • Working constantly to tight deadlines is another reason for burnout. Everything is a rush. As programmers, we often have more than one deadlines approaching and all you can think of is how to quickly finish up so you beat the deadline. This is unhealthy and can lead to a mental breakdown
    • Working long hours on end for months or maybe years. Work tends to invade our private lives, no night rest or weekend breaks. This eventually leads to overbearing stress that makes you seek anything but your job.


    How to Avoid Burnout


    • Do not Overwork: The first and most important tip on overcoming burnout is ‘do not overwork’. Avoid it like a plague. Generally, productivity decreases as the time spent on a task increases. Why then do we spend all those hours overworking our brains? You end up doing more harm than good. Quit overworking.
    • Pomodoro Technique: This involves taking a break at intervals while working, say 25 minutes of focused work then 5 minutes of rest. By doing so, you ease yourself of built up tension and become more productive even.
    • Exercises: Yes the job is tasking and demanding but you do not have to stay glued to your computer all day. Do a work out, it must not necessarily involve going to the gym. You could do pushups, sit ups, weight lifting, take a walk, anything, just stay active and keep moving.
    • As programmers it helps to take a break from work and experiment or play on other work related stuffs that does not involve fear of failure. You end up learning something new and resting at same time. 
    • You could also attend conferences and meetups. You gain a lot by just listening to other programmers talk. Hearing others experiences helps motivate you and increases your focus on your job.
    • Endeavour to take breaks and indulge in other passions. Programming is not your only passion; indulge in others so you do not get bored of work.
    • Working on same tech or project over and over can become tiring and boring, as such, take up new projects, anything to help rejuvenate you.


    Conclusion

    Leading a healthy work life as programmers takes a lot of commitment and conscious efforts. I advice we quit this cult of ‘overworking’. Not spending all day on coding and work related things does not make you the least dedicated in your organization. Let’s strive to strike a balance between our work and our private life. Truth is, when you involve yourself in other activities you learn better from real life and incorporate these experiences into your inventions. Don not kill your passion for coding by overworking yourself. Say no to over working, eat and sleep well, lead a healthy life style and you will have no burn out experience.