DIY Technical SEO for WordPress Websites | Maddy Osman | Skillshare

DIY Technical SEO for WordPress Websites

Maddy Osman, SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith

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5 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. An Introduction to Technical SEO & Why I'm Teaching This Class

      2:11
    • 2. #1: Mobile Responsiveness: Designing for Devices

      9:22
    • 3. #2: Page Load Time & User Experience

      20:07
    • 4. #3: Why You Can't Go on Without HTTPS

      10:13
    • 5. #4: Menu Design & Usability

      9:47

About This Class

SEO success comes from the combined efforts of three pillars:

  • A solid content strategy (onpage SEO and keyword research)
  • A solid backlink strategy (from relevant, high-authority websites in your niche)
  • Proper website technical structure

This class will walk you through the most important technical SEO considerations, including:

  • Mobile-responsiveness
  • Page speed
  • HTTPS
  • Menu usability

During each lesson, you'll be presented with actionable takeaways that get straight to the point so that you don't have to spend too much time making these necessary technical website improvements. Those working with WordPress will have the easiest time applying these takeaways, though the material is still relevant to those using other content management systems.

Why I'm qualified to teach this class:

I write SEO content for brands like Automattic, Search Engine Journal, and GoDaddy. I've been developing websites since age 11, and know my way around the backend of WordPress.

Class resources: https://www.the-blogsmith.com/technical-seo/

Transcripts

1. An Introduction to Technical SEO & Why I'm Teaching This Class: My name is Maddie Iseman, and I'm going to give you an introduction into Technical s CEO. But before we get into that, I think it makes sense to talk a little bit about what technical CEO even is I to me and everybody has their own opinion. But to me, I csco is having kind of like three parts to it. One is the content and all the things that you do to optimize the contact for certain keywords. Another part of it is back links, you know, trying to get people to link to you, trying to get websites in the same needs to link to you so that you could demonstrate authority. And then the third thing is the technical structure of your website and different things that you could do to kind of make peace with Google and play along with their rules. So in this class, we're going to cover the basics of technical s CEO in terms of mobile friendliness, switching to https, which, if you haven't heard of that before, it's probably going to scare you to hear it now. But just know that we're gonna go over it and you'll understand soon enough, um menu design, creating user friendly navigation and also improving page load time page speed time. So in the class, I'm going to introduce these concepts in a little bit more detail. But then we'll also get into actionable takeaways for how you can easily fix these problems on your own website. Even if you're not a Web developer when just so you know why I'm qualified to teach this class. First of all, I do S e o content writing for brands like automatic sprout social Go Daddy, Triple A and many more which you can see on my website which is the Dash blog's with dot com on. And also where I come in with the technical ASIO angle is I've been developing what sites since I was 11 years old. So I know my way around the back and of the average website, especially wordpress websites, and so were mostly gonna focus on wordpress applications, but never fear. If you're not using word price, the same principles will still apply to your website. So without further ado, let's get to it. 2. #1: Mobile Responsiveness: Designing for Devices: if you're just starting a new website, then making sure that its mobile responsive on mobile friendly is something that's gonna be pretty easy to do just because you're starting with a blank slate. A. You don't have to go in and edit an existing design. Obviously, then, if you do have an existing website that is not mobile friendly, this is probably going to be one of the harder steps were making sure that your technical S e O. Is all good to go. But before we get into any sort of development, um, hacks, your ideas and things like that, I want to spend some time focusing on why it's even worth the effort. So, first of all, according to Stone Temple mobile browsing now accounts for 63% of Web site visits. And guys, this number is definitely growing. Every day, every week, every mind think it's bigger dust. Stop visits are definitely getting surpassed by mobile. So if you're designing just for dust, happier already out of los here, um, and you're you're gonna hurt yourself because the majority of people that are going to visit your website, at least you know, based on these averages are going to be mobile viewers. And if they have a frustrating user experience, that may be the only time they ever visit your website. So it's important to get it right from the get go. And that's not all, actually, as of, um, this year, at least when I'm filming this class. As of July 2018 Google announced that mobile usability is an official ranking factor in their search algorithm. But you can also hear it referred to as mobile first indexing, and I'll provide links to these sources in the class notes. The resource is so you can see for yourself, but you clearly Google is rolling out different parts of their algorithm that you need to be aware of, and mobile is a huge one. I mean, it's always been a factor and usability, but now it's also a factor and actually making sure your website can rank and mobile search . So I'm not going to get super heavy into how you're gonna make your website mobile responsive. If you need to be, um, you know, going in after you have a theme or a design that's Onley dust top friendly, but what I will say is it definitely starts with a good, mobile, responsive WordPress theme. So if, like I said in the beginning of this class, if you are starting a new project, this is going to be easy to do. The majority of WordPress themes on the market, at least the ones that are actively maintained. We're already gonna be mobile friendly. Make sure you take the initiative to test it. Bulls on dust hopping mobile, whatever you know, their demo site is Look at it on your devices. If you have an iPad, if you have ah, phone, I'll also share some other different things that you can use to test it. But make sure that you do that before you kind of commit to it before you buy a before you install it. It's gonna save you a lot of headaches in the end. And if you you know, if you're using WordPress or whatever it is that you use and you don't have a mobile friendly theme, it's time to invest in a new one. It might be a very simple thing to go and download a new thing that is mobile, responsive or if your websites really complicated he might need to enlist help from a Web developer. But either way, I think that it's clear that you can no longer afford to ignore this. So take those steps that you need to take. You know there's free and paid options for themes with WordPress, so it doesn't necessarily have to be something that you spend a lot of money on. Unless, of course, you need the help to fix it. But, um, make sure that you're looking into a design that works, and maybe the thing that you have already just has a couple issues. Maybe it's something that you can kind of retro for it. Retrofit that mobile responsiveness into explore your options before making any big changes . Um, so the next thing that you're gonna want to think about, you know, whether you ever mobile, responsive design or not, is what's called finger friendly design. So essentially you want people to be able to scroll and tap at different parts of your Web page with ease, you know, without accidentally hitting something that they don't mean Teoh personally, because that's a very frustrating user experience and partially because having a website that's hard to navigate where people are clicking things that they don't mean Teoh can mess up your analytics. You know, the true sort of test of how people are using your websites. You want to avoid that if at all possible eso finger friendly design basically refers to the idea that you have 44 pixels of white space around different elements. So, you know, if you have, like, a button, um, you know, displaying like your headings versus your text you wanted add as much white space as is necessary to easily scroll and not accidentally hit. Um, those different elements are not meant to be hit on the third thing, and we're going to give into this a lot more in the next session is minimizing load time. Think about mobile design in terms of the experience it creates for your users. You know, if you have a website that is hard to use or hurt to load, people get frustrated and they're not gonna want to come back. They're not wanna gonna want toe sort through all this chaos in order to get to whatever it is that they came to your website for in the first place. So you're gonna want to incorporate different elements to make sure that your website loads in a timely manner and again, we're going to get to that in a second. But we're going to finish up with this first. So once you've started to get in, the mine's A and you know the action of having a mobile friendly website, you're gonna want to test after every little change you make. And as annoying as that sounds, it's the only way to ensure that your mobile user experience stays good after you've put that initial foundation. And and so Google has a great tool that you can use, called the Google Mobile Friendly Tests. Eso if you Google that will find it right away. I'm also going to include it in the class. Resource is, it's pretty basic, but it does give you some ideas. If there are any specific issues, it will tell you about those to the best of its ability. It's not. It's not without its own problems like it can't tell you like the minute details of what's wrong. And so for that, I would suggest using safari. The browser has its own set of mobile, responsive tools where you contest out how your website looks on different devices, you know, like how it would look on an iPad. How it would look on an iPhone and you can even set, you know, specific resolutions for what you would want to see. So I would recommend trying that, too, So you can manually debug any issues that you might have. Um, you know, more often than not, little fixes can make a huge difference. But you're not going to know about them unless you test. And then one more thing that I want you to think about as you thinking about mobile design is how you can kind of steer people towards Whatever your main called action is, whatever your main goal is, you know, think about what do I want used used to do when I get on my website. If your service professional, you probably want them. Teoh, you know, get in touch with you. Book a meeting book of service. Um, you know, alternatively, if you have like a media website, you probably want to get people to be signing up for your email, so that will stay in touch. And so one thing I wanted to bring up with the idea of like having a sidebar on your website. So sidebars air Interesting. A lot of people say that they take away from the user experience just because it can create kind of look cluttered and chaotic. Look, um, and it's pertinence to this particular topic is the fact that in most cases when you have a website with the sidebar, the sidebar is not going to show up on mobile, at least not as a sidebar. What usually happens is the side markets pushed down to the bottom of your website kind of been like the floater area right before the footer would appear. And so, you know, if your most important goal is something that use and core brewed it into that side. Bart, the mobile experience is going to kind of mess it all up for you. So you want to be thinking about you know, how is my most important goal served in my mobile design? And what do I have to do, you know, on mobile to make it show up so that people actually do the thing that I want to dio. So I know that's a really super basic way to look at mobile, but hopefully it gives you those basic tools you need to make the change. If you haven't already on and next, we're going to get a little bit more in depth with technical stuff, talking about page load time. 3. #2: Page Load Time & User Experience: so talking about page load time, also known as page speed or some derivative there of is really a perfect Segway. After talking about the mobile use their experience because page speed as a ranking factor is, and it's considered in the same update as mobile usability being a ranking factor, they kind of go hand in hand, even though you should really be thinking about page, speed and page load time in terms of both the mobile and US top user experience. So let's jump into things here. A Nim Porton stat that comes up a lot when I'm researching, um, writing different articles about different page speed factors. This has become a huge focus in the WordPress world in the S e o World. And so you might have heard the staff before, but it's worth repeating. So 53% of mobile users abandoned websites that take three plus seconds to load. Um, this might surprise you, but it shouldn't if you think about your own experiences, browsing websites and how frustrating it can be when you know, you know your signal is good and you just want an answer to a question or, you know you're ready to buy something, and it's taking forever So on. When I first heard this fact, I actually thought that it was about all website users, so dust top to. But I guess I would assume that people on desktop would be a little bit more patient because, you know, you can kind of foot grounder screens or your tabs. You can kind of multitask when you're on dust top, but not so much. I'm mobile. So frustrating in kind of appears fact faster when dealing with a really bad mobile experience versus desktop. So one of the ways that you can improve your page load time and I'm gonna give you several you can use one or all of them. Um, the 1st 1 is the idea of using a content delivery network more commonly referred to by its acronym CD On So Content Delivery Network refers to geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. Put another way, a cdn is like having copies of your website and the files that people are, you know, loading up a zey visit it in different areas of the world. So say, for example, you know I'm in done Bird, Colorado. So maybe, you know, my cdn has a server in Denver or in Colorado or in the US but maybe it also has one in Europe in Australia, Um, you know, in South America or whatever. So that no matter where somebody is accessing my website, the cdn would pull from whatever server that has my website files. That's closest to them so that it takes that much less time to load. So a couple tools that you could use to implement a cdn on your website. There's definitely a couple free ones that I would consider before paying. The first is cloud for Cloudflare Excuse Me, which is known as the best free cdn for WordPress users that also scales up. They have paid plans. All these free ones also have paid plans in most cases. And then jetpack is a plug in that actually by the same company that created WordPress. So the company is called automatic and jetpack is, you know, one of their own plug ins. Photon is a specific feature, and it's another salad free option. And because it's made by automatic, you know it's gonna work really well with WordPress, so I would consider those before considering any paid options. But if you need something a little bit more than what these can provide, or what they're, you know, scale that premium versions can provide, fastly is another one on. And just to give you an idea of what should be paying for it, they have a minimum charge of 50 per month. So the next way that you can speed up your website is with the principal, and, I guess in action known as cashing. So there's a couple different ways to think about cashing, and if you try toe, understand it in its totality, it'll probably confuse you. I know it confuses me, so we'll just keep it real simple with this definition here, cashing is one of the best ways to improve website performance. So even above some of these other things we may be telling you about, definitely want to consider cashing, enabling it on your rugs that so essentially it creates a stored version of your websites pages for quicker load times and less server stress. So think about it this way. If you didn't use cashing every time somebody loaded your website. They would be loading it fresh. So you know, all the images, all the text, You know, whatever java scripts your website used, Whatever, everything that goes into your website would be wounded fresh every time, and it would take longer to do that. So in one way, that cashing works and not to get, you know, to all over the place with this is there's browser side cashing. So say, you know, I go to Facebook every day. My browser stores a lot of, you know, the user interface, you know, different profiles that I would go to normal things that I would see. You know, during my normal Facebook experience, they've got that stored in the browser. Which is why, when you're trying to free up space on your computer, a lot of times, um, different cleanup programs will go for those cache files and to leave them. Then you just, you know, have to kind of start the process of new, but, um, this Yes. So, essentially, the idea is that it has a copy available to you so that it can It can unload as much of the website as it knows, and then you know little changes. Like, you know, people have new status updates, new pictures and things like that. Obviously, that's going to be loaded as they happen. But everything around that, um, if it can load quicker if it already knows what it's looking for him. Another way that I heard this explained recently is, and this is mostly applicable for people who use WordPress or really any other kind of content management system. So word price works with different template files. And so any given page, you know, you have a header, you have a footer, you have the body content. You know, you might have a sidebar, things like that. So word process, toe load these things, um, you know, in conjunction with one another for any given page. But when you enable something like cash and what happens is the cashing tool takes all these template files and creates what's called a static HTML version of this. So the WordPress template files are based on language called PHP, which is a little bit more dynamic. It can load according to what you need. HTML is a little bit more like you. You have to code it exactly. The way that it looks, You know you have to code the header footer, sidebar, etcetera all on one page for every page, Which makes it annoying. You know, if you have to change one thing in the footer than you have to change up every other page. At least this is how typical Web design would work. And I'm sorry if I'm confusing you. I'm just trying to explain it another way. So if you're using cashing to create a static HTML version of your pages, that gets updated if you update those pages without you having to do it, um, it's just easier for the website toe load. Quicker for people, especially on mobile. But you have to enable cashing and so cashing a couple plug ins that I would recommend. I use WP rocket as it paid plug in because it's really awesome. It's easy to set up on. I would definitely recommend if you do set up WP racket and you're not really in the know about the back end of WordPress. You might wanna have your Web developer configure it for you really wouldn't take that long . I think it's it would be less than an hour project for them to set it up and tested to make sure that nothing's breaking. Um, but if you know your way around the back end, it's worth experimenting on your own to get this working. So anyway, pricing starts at $39 a year, and it's been my experience that they will extend that. They will try to get you to sign up for more years and give you a deep discount on it. So and I have taken advantage of that, so I definitely recommend it. So it's one of the best out there. But if you're on a budget, here's two that I've used in the past that I would recommend W three total cash or WP super cash. Are bulls very widely used WordPress cashing plug ins with a lot of options. Um, again, I would recommend having a developer set this up for you if it's not something you have a lot of experience with, because you can definitely break your website if you miss, configure it and I'm gonna talk a little bit more about what you can do. If you break your website in just a moment. Um, another huge thing that you can dio Teoh, reduce your file your page file sizes, which will also obviously help you increase load time is the optimize your images. So if your website doesn't have a lot of images, this is probably not gonna make a huge difference. But say you run a fashion blag or a food blood with a lot of recipes or, you know, you just have a blag where you have a lot of like example images or something like that. What you can do to reduce page load is optimized. Those images and big basically make the file size smaller. It's called also known as compression eso. My favorite plug in for doing this is short pixel just because you can find really affordable monthly plans. And on those plans, you can use this plug and on multiple websites without necessarily having to purchase extra licenses like you would with a plug in like WP Rocket or some of the other plug ins will talk about later. So it's nice if you run multiple websites. You can just do you know, one small monthly plan. Um, sure, pixel is great. There's also WP SMI shows another really popular one, and there is a free version of that that you can use. I think there's a free version of short pixels. Well, basically, the limitation is just how many images you cannot uploads. It's going to depend on how many images you're uploading on a monthly basis for you to determine. You know which one you want to use it if you want to go for your paid with it, Um, and you know the ideal image optimization plug in is optimizing these images as you upload them or giving you a bulk upload option or bulk optimization option so that after you've uploaded a bunch of images, you can just click the button and the plug and we'll do the rest of the work. It's definitely going to be and a bigger pain if you have to do it one by one for your images. Um, another thing I wanted to share, and this is gonna be very business and black dependent is the idea of using Google AMP. Or Facebook instant articles. Google AMP is kind of more like anyone can use a solution, Um, so I'll just give into what huge one of these is so AMP. Is also known at Celery did mobile pages. That's what it stands for. It's an open source library that provides way to create websites or Web pages that are smooth and fast loading. It essentially works by stripping away, like all your style, all your job, a script. And so it's just like the text in the images of like your blag post. You can also use it for your pages, but people use it usually use it for their black's. Um so the benefits of using AMP. Is that when people are browsing on Mobile will see amp results, you know, if they are relevant enough, and if Google thinks that they're the high enough quality, but they'll see them at the top of the search results, which is huge and a carousel. And then they have, like, a little like lightning bolts thing on them that just signifies that there and particles, and that they're gonna load fast day. So obviously Google here is trying to incentivize people to use this format. Eso that content could be quicker to find and serve and all this good stuff. There have been stirrings in the S e o community in the WordPress community that amp may actually be hurting. You know their ability to rank. And obviously, if it's going to strip away like you know, all these things on your website, the styles, the job script, whatever, it might also hurt your ability to convert that person for whatever your most important goal is. So I would say that deciding to install a plug in to convert your articles to AMP format for mobile search is a very personal choice. It's one that you should definitely test. It's one that you need to kind of understand over time. And maybe you don't convert are all your articles at once? Maybe you test it with a couple, Um, and that's all I'm going to stand that because I don't actually use AMP. I focus more on a strategy of just reducing my page speed with some of the plug ins that I've already mentioned. But another one that we could talk about us Facebook instant articles is really the same idea. Just stripping down your articles, your content to the most basic factors of, like, text and images. But this one basically just lives inside the Facebook app, so it's not gonna work in Google, and that's not gonna work when people are looking on other APS, you know, reading content and things like that. So I would say that the benefit for somebody using Facebook instant articles would be if you have, like a really awesome Facebook following, which again is something that's kind of iffy nowadays, with Facebook moving to basically, you know, 0% organic reach on pages. But obviously some people are still killing it. If you have an adds budget, you know, then you don't have anything to worry about. So somebody who's like a heavy Facebook publisher, you know where people are clicking on your lengths and you just want to give them a better user experience. That may be the ideal use case for somebody to use Facebook instant articles. So just some things to think about. And I would say this is more like Intermedia Advanced Technical s CEO stuff. I can't speak to the effectiveness of either one of them because I've researched them but not used them myself. But again, just something to think about in this overarching topic of page speed. Two more things I want to share with you on this topic. Um, the first is just the idea of how your Web host might be affecting your page being so in most cases, when you're using, like a cheap Web post like blue host or, you know, host Gator or whatever is that you're using a shared server and that's how they keep the prices lows. You know they have other websites that are on these servers. And so the issue with this is that those people might be, you know, a huge drag on resource is which then affects everyone on that server. There's a little bit more of, like, a complication to why these different Web poses, like low cost. What Post can be slowing down your website? But that's kind of a huge part of it. And, like obviously you're getting a really good price. You know, it's probably gonna be under 10 bucks a month, which is nice and all that's great. But really, your Web host can have such a huge impact on your page speed that if technical s CEO is important, Teoh or, you know, if you're like hitting a plateau with traffic from search, it might be one of the things that you want to consider switching up to give your website a better chance to rank. So what happened with me was I recently upgraded. I use site, ground and site. Ground is fine. They actually have options where you can beat not on a shared server and just pay a little bit more. But I wanted a host that was built for WordPress performance specifically and like somebody who focuses on Lee on that And so I had recently moved to Kinsa and I pay 30 bucks a month per instant. So you know, for per WordPress websites have two different websites hosted with them, which makes it 60 bucks a month, which is a huge increase in costs over what I was paying with site ground. I think I was paying, you know, maybe 12 bucks a month and I could do unlimited websites up to whenever my band with Waas. So I was hosting three websites on site ground. I'm at that price, but again, you know, it comes down to what are your goals? And for me, it was to be bringing in more traffic from search. I've already gotten all the on page stuff, right? You know, keywords and, you know, using the key words correctly and all that good stuff. So the next step was to affect my technical s CEO. And so since I've moved to Kinston, which is a performance WordPress host known for improving page speed, I have seen my website do a lot better and search. And so if that's something that is hurting you, I would definitely recommend looking into a performance host like Kinsa. So the last thing I want to say on this topic and really this is applicable to any of the topics that we're going to talk about in this class is that before you make any major changes on your website, especially of a technical nature, I would I would honestly recommend every time you install a new plug in that you do. This is to back up your website and most Web hosts will do this for you Site ground and Kin stub. Both did this for me automatically off once a day. Are you can, you know, specify different intervals based on what plan you're paying for. But usually it's once a day. I mean, usually they also let Teoh do manual backups in addition to automatic backups, You know, up to a certain number of backups just again based on your plan and how much space you're paying for, But another tool you can use. Um, and I would recommend that you you have more than one backup solution because you know what happens if you know, site ground, just, like goes under or, you know, their servers catch on fire or whatever You don't want toe. Ever rely on one place toe, Have your website backed up just in case the worst happens basically. But anyway, another way that you come back up your website in addition to these things or instead of these things, although it I recommend you do both is a plug in called updraft. Plus, it is the best free back a plug in because it allows you to schedule automatic backups. There is no other free plug in that I've found that does back upset. What's you automatically do it for free. There are others you could use to manually do back ups, but I wouldn't recommend it. You're not going to remember to do it, and you know the time that you need it the most. You're gonna have an outdated backup, so use updraft. Plus figure out how your hosts handles backups and back up your website manually before you make any major changes so that you have a version of it available to help you if you need it. So with that, we're done talking about page load, time, paid speed and all that good stuff. You know, there's definitely more we could say, but I think these are the most important things for you to focus on right now and next. We're going to talk about a new Google ranking factor, https. 4. #3: Why You Can't Go on Without HTTPS: So now we're going to talk about https and why you can no longer afford to ignore it. So before we get into those details, let's just define https for those who might not be aware. So you might be familiar with the idea of when you type in a Web site. It goes, http said Michael and slash slash www dot whatever dot com there some form of that. So https basically just adds an S on to the end of that. As far as you know what, you would type in your browser to access the https version of a Web site. But here's what it means. Https is an extension of hypertext transfer protocol. So that http prefix that you see when every type of website, then a website address in at least one that uses it, that creates secure and safe communications over computer networks and all over the Internet. So essentially, what it does is it facilitates a secure connection. You know, when say you are shopping online and putting in your credit card details, you know your dress and things like that, or, you know, if you're like logging into your bank account and um, accessing sensitive information there. These are different situations where https has been popular in the past, because what it does is whatever data that you input while you're on https connection becomes encrypted in a way that is very difficult for somebody to, you know, hack into and steal and all that good stuff. How you know, if a website is using https is based on, um, if it has like a lock icon saying, and I'm gonna demonstrate it because it's easier to show it than it is to describe. So if you can see right here, there's this like green lock icon and it says secure. And if you click that it tells you about you know, like what cook use it's using if it has an SSL certificate and so on. SSL certificate is basically how you activate https. I'll get more on that in a second, so this one uses. This is my website uses a let's encrypt SSL certificate, which is kind of like standards, the one that's offered by most Web hosts. So we're going to go Google Google Chrome is the one that's displaying this in particular, and it's giving me that green. Go ahead that this websites legit and you can see it has yes there. So basically, for anyone browsing this website, they know, You know, if I were to input any of my sensitive data, it's gonna be encrypted so I can feel secure in doing that. If that's something, you know, that I'm prompted to dio. So here is like a website that I had built while going of kind of just, like left to die. And so, as you could see, it is not secure. Google does not give it that nice screen, you know, security lack. It says your connection to this site is not secure. You should not enter any sensitive information on this site because it could be stolen. Um, and so you can see it's a very different experience, or at least, you know, the kind of like mental implication it has an you. It's like, Oh, well, I'm kind of afraid to even be on this website because if I do anything, you know, it's something that could potentially be stolen and exploited. But then this one, it's like That's probably OK. You gotta think about that, you know, when deciding if you're gonna do https or not if you're gonna, you know, put yourself through that process and you know the thing is, no matter what, it's not really a choice anymore. That's because https is now a Google ranking signal. So Google's has been updating their algorithm like crazy this year in terms of different, you know, user experience factors. And I would definitely count https among that definition of being a user experience factor because, like I just said, you know the idea of sharing your credit card information are your even your email address . But you know, your home address and things like that is not something that you want to do on websites that don't have https. And that's not to say that your Web say, you know, is even going to ask for that information. But now the Google has made it into a ranking factor. You can't ignore it anymore, because Google is essentially saying, no matter what it is your website does, even if it's a black, you know that's not asking for people sensitive information. They're saying we're gonna preferentially rank those websites that use https, no matter what, so you can afford to ignore it. The other thing is like I said, Chrome is the one Google Chrome browser is the one that is showing me those like lack icons and the green or the red or whatever. So this ranking signal update came kind of at the same time that Google chrome started displaying warning. So Google Chrome is proactively warning people on non https websites. And sometimes it's more, Um, it's more of like a noticeable thing than what I showed you on that one website that was not https. Sometimes you know, it's like you have to click through a warning to even get into that website. So these air things that you don't ever wanna have Teoh, you know, explain to use or lose the user over. So really, it's simpler to just do it, she TPS, and it's easiest to do it again. Kind of like what I was saying about being mobile responsive. It's definitely gonna be easiest to do it if you are starting a new website because you can just specify that you want it to be on https and get an SSL certificate from the get go. But it's not. It's not impossibly difficult to do it If you have an existing website, um, that you need to switch over. And this is something that I had to do recently. So you're kind of learning from my own experience. Um So how do you install on SSL certificate to make your https website or to switch rate your website to https? If you already have an existing website, that's not on https. So the first thing is you have to get on us assault certificate. And thanks to this new like, you know, Google, like chrome browser warnings and the fact that it's ranking factor. Most Web hosts offer us assault certificates. Absolutely for free. Um, site grounded, can stood eyes. Um, lots of other ones that I've had experience with. Um, But if you were to pay for an SSL certificate, see your website. Your Web post doesn't offer these for free. You would probably expect to pay about 60 bucks a year per website. So, you know, if your Web host doesn't offer these things, it might be a good time to switch because you're gonna save by going with a Web post that house one included, You know, again, site ground being my pick for the budget option, Kinston being my pick for the performance option. So after you get that SSL certificate for your website or multiple websites appeared gonna be switching over multiple websites, you have to redirect your http lengths to https links or having that prefix. And some Web hosts have, like, a find and replace tool where you can easily do that. There's also like a find and replace plug in that you can use. To do this, I would recommend looking at seeing what your Web host recommends, because sometimes they have these tools built in Wow, they might also have recommendations for how to do it. So basically, I just redirecting the you Earl so that everything looks right. But then sometimes what can happen? What did happen when I've redirected through http to https links on my website is that you're going to get these mixed content signals. So essentially, you know, from a Google perspective, they're going to be loading both content that has the http prefects and the https prefix, which can be bad because of its If Google is indexing bulls, it's going to say that you have a duplicate content issue, which is going to hurt your rankings. So I have included in the class resource is kin stows recommendations for how to fix this? Um, it's a little bit more complicated than what I'm going to get into here, but easy to follow along. And also, you know, whoever it is that you host with will probably have their own recommendations as well. But the kids to documentation, concave, you at least a basic understanding of what's happening and some of the steps he can use to fix it again. Like, um, like some of the other things that I have mentioned earlier, like setting up cashing and some of these more like technical things. It might make sense to just outsource this to a Web developer because this has become such a big thing this year. A lot of people are gonna be, like, ready do this. It's not gonna be something that's going to confuse them, and they probably have a quick process for it. So I don't imagine it would take ah, lot of time, you know, from like a budget perspective to hire somebody to help you on. It might be a better situation. If you use a Web developer, just you don't break anything. But again, If you are backing up your website before you make major changes, then it doesn't hurt to experiment. Just make sure you have documentation in front of you to follow along with that. You don't mess up any important parts of the process, so we're almost done. We have covered what I consider to be some of the most important technical CEO factors, and we're just gonna finish off talking a little bit more about usability and the user experience, especially as it relates to menu design. 5. #4: Menu Design & Usability: At this point, we've covered a lot of different technical ASIO factors that are somewhat more quantitative in nature or easier to measure and, you know, test and see that they're actually working. But I want Teoh end off by talking about menu design and different usability factors to consider while creating your website navigation. So the first thing wonder designing a menu is you want to think about? How succinctly can I, you know, provide navigation to people so that they can kind of understand in general, where the information they seek is going to be found and they don't have toe consider a whole lot of options before coming to some sort of decision. As so we're going to click. So usability experts suggests that a menu you know, a top level menu, your home about services, contact whatever should have a maximum of seven menu items, at least for a top level menu. You can always, um, you know, expand on those menu items with a drop down menu, although that's not necessarily recommended. It's something that I do against the recommendations of usability experts just because there's a lot of information that I need to organize on my website. As I'm sure you know, you will have similar things to consider as you decide upon your many navigation. But try to keep this principle in mind just to make sure that you're thinking about you know how house is simply can I display all necessary information Just so people kind of get in the right place on the first try another thing that you're gonna want to keep in mind when you're creating your menu is toe organized by topic, not by the medium or format. So you know, don't don't just say like, Okay, here's all my videos, you know, here's all over info graphics. You know, Hughes, all of her images That would be something that was very difficult for somebody to navigate . And it's better to organized by topic, you know, like yours. All our videos, infographics images, block posed etcetera about technical Alessio, Here's all those things about on site s you, whatever it is that your website does, you know, make sure that you're helping people to find what it is they need and not necessarily, you know, parts of your website that are relevant to them. So on that line um, you want to think about Does your menu navigation the way that you described where people are going does it doesn't actually make sense. So, like, for example, you want to think about common naming heuristics. You know, what do most websites do? And how can I sort of model that on my Web site so that people don't get confused and have to kind of re learn things just for me? And because guess what? They're not going to do it. So you're better off going with the status quo, at least in terms of this. For todo to give you an example. Um, you know, if you're designing your menu and you have a news section for your website for your company , you probably want to call it black, because that's where people expect to learn more about the company or to see you know any up to date articles that the company is putting out. If you say news, I mean, it makes sense from like a human point of view and just from understanding what would be under there. But that's not what people expect. Do you want to be thinking about you know what are your expectations as somebody who's going to a new website in search of some specific information and how can you serve? You know, this like average person who has an average understanding but based on all these men, you best practices and other websites have already implemented. So it helps to kind of even, like look at your competition and see how they're presenting things. But to find that common denominator and use it on your website. The other thing about being properly descriptive about your menu items is that it can help with US CEO, but I want to touch on that in a little bit more detail. There's a difference between your page title, which is what the visitor sees in an S E O title, which is what a search engine spiders indexing to determine if your content is relevant to a searcher and so you could make these things technically the same thing if you want. But you can separate these by using a tool like Joost Sdo. It's plug in for WordPress. You've probably heard of if you're watching this class, but it mixed so that you can define a separate SDO title on page title because obviously people respond to things differently than websites dio. And so you know the same idea for your navigation. You might want to name it something in your navigation, but have page title be something totally different? Eso be thinking about the user experience as you create these different titles for your menu navigation or black posts or pages on your website? Um, obviously, you know, we talked about mobile design earlier in this class. Um, but how does your menu act on Mobile? One thing that a lot of usability experts talk about is the hamburger menu, which, if you've, you know, view the any website on multiple for you probably seen it. It's essentially three parallel dashes in like the upper right hand corner, uh, which supposedly signifies that there's a menu that you should click on so that it can expand a lot of usability. Experts say this isn't the right way to go. It's counterintuitive to what people expect. I would argue with them that people are now pretty used to it just because it has become such a common mobile design factor. But you might want to consider alternatives, depending on how important usability issue. How important accessibility is to you. Eso just kind of putting that idea in your head to think about how your menu displays on mobile and is it truly usable? Or does it need to be fixed in some way? So the last thing will talk about here is the idea of usability testing so you might have all these ideas and your hot about like how perfect your website is, how great it is or, you know, if it gets even the opposite where you're like, Oh, my website sucks. There's nothing good about it. Um, so usability testing can kind of either validate your ideas or tell you that you're completely Ron and usability Testing is really a good idea for like, I need type of business because it's like no matter what, and chill, you bring it to market or, you know, tested in some way. It's hard to say if it's actually viable. So usability testing is where you put your rubs that in front of a group of people, and you might want to define them by the same characteristics that you define your ideal target on Anson. Maybe you seek out people you know who fit a certain demographic, a certain age group. You know, men versus women, If that's important, Um, you know, maybe a certain economical status. Whatever it is, there's different platforms where you can go to find these users. And so my favorite, our user testing and also fiber, you confined individuals, and you can separate by those different demographic pieces to make sure that you know, whoever it is that is giving you feedback about your website, which is the basis of usability testing, um, you know, fits that target audience demographic that you're looking for. So you might prompt some with specific questions. You might ask them, Teoh, you know, try to find specific information or take a certain path to, you know, see where it leads them. Or you might just say, Hey, you know, just use my website and tell me what your impressions are as you do that. So while use their testing dot com and fiber are two tools that you would pay for, you know, based on how many users you need, and obviously you can scale that up and down based on the size of your project. Another tool that you can use for free at least up Teoh. I think it's 500 sessions per month is one called Inspect lit and inspect Lit works in the background, and it records anonymous user sessions. Actually think it gives you I p addresses, but regardless, you don't necessarily know who the person is, so it records anonymous user sessions and you can actually see video recordings of how people are using your website to see if there's any areas in particular. You know, where they're having struggles, where they're getting frustrated and all that good stuff. So the next session of this class is really just Resource is a number of articles that I've written or that I think are useful background information on some of these ranking factors plug and recommendations, hosting recommendations and all that good stuff. One of those articles is about how to effectively undertaking user test and various tools you can use both on a budget and scaling up. So with that, we're done with the class material here. But I would encourage you to look into any of these factors. Um, whether that's usability factors or ranking factors, or what have you to get a little bit more information and to get started in implementing these technical s CEO factors on your own website.