So the next part is technical SEO, so fix the technical issues and optimize your content.
The nerd stuff. (laughter)
Yes, so, basically the nerd stuff, yes. We talked about having your site mobile friendly, very, very important in the (mumbles), 51% or more of searches are done in mobile, or 50 to 60%, I was conservative 51. Google is now indexing mobile first over desktop, meaning that if you-- it's kind of hard to explain what that means, but they're looking at the mobile version of your site now, before the desktop version. So if your site's not mobile friendly, that's a problem. So you want to make sure your site's responsive, which is the same thing, more or less, as mobile friendly. And you don't want to have different content on your mobile site than you do on your desktop site and vice versa, Google doesn't like that.
Okay, for the average person, though, if they pick one of the site's templates that we generally recommended, for the most part it end's up, the big compani...
es, it makes it mobile friendly already.
SquareSpace, all these WordPress themes. (crosstalk) I'm not gonna say all these WordPress themes, because there are market places that have older ones that are not mobile friendly. There are tools-- and we'll get into that, in which you can go and check for free whether your site's mobile friendly, besides just going on it, but it's not so much of, "Does it just look good on my phone?" Google does its own ranking, do you have high res images loading on your mobile? Which is not great because they look at that. And I know we've been guilty of that too. You know, you just upload an image from LightRoom or something like that and you don't realize it's four megabytes or, God forbid, it's one of your photos that's (laughs) 45 megabytes or something like that. Try downloading that on a mobile phone-- Google doesn't like that. So, page speed, very important. Site should load in under three seconds. What does that mean to the average user? Again, you can kind of check this out on Google Page Speed Insights, which is free. You just put your website in and it tells you how fast it loads, also tell you if there's some problems. There's a couple of other websites: Pingdom, Webpagespeedtest. It's important to have a reliable web host, too. That's a big factor in speed. And by reliable I mean not one that's like $3 a month. And if that's what you can afford, fine, but by having ones that are priced a little more aggressively, and I'm talking about maybe like $15 to $20, they give you less people on their servers. Your site's gonna go faster, it's not gonna be influenced by a thousand-- think of it like a thousand people in this room and you can't move around, that's your website, more or less, whereas you paying a little more for a quality web host, you're able to move around a lot more. And because Google now really looks at your site speed, your host is a big factor in that too.
If your site's loading crazy slow. And you're like, "I do have a good host." What are other things that usually make it super slow? Is it just like, it's loading large images, is that usually the culprit?
Well it's not that, there could be errors on your site. And that's when using something like Screaming Frog or even talking to your host. There's been plenty of times, our sites have loaded slow and I've emailed the host, "What's going on?" And they'll tell us, they go, "Oh, well, "it's because you have this crazy plug-in that you installed "that's constantly pinging some other server "and doing something it shouldn't be doing." Okay, I'll disable that plug-in. If you're on SquareSpace or Which or something else, just tell them and I go, "I go to my site "and it feels like it's loading forever." They'll be able to tell you, typically, what's wrong. If you're doing the WordPress route, there's no dedicated support, so you might have to diagnose that yourself. Which gets a little tedious. So check indexing, so this is kind of a cool thing that maybe not a lot of people know about, you could type in site:yoursite.com in Google and it'll tell you, roughly, how many pages are index of your own personal site, and why is this useful? If nothing comes up, it means that you're not being found in Google, which means that you could have a real problem with your website. It means it could accidentally be being blocked by the Google web crawlers. It could, more or less, uncover certain errors. So, and it doesn't do everything. And there's no ranking with this, it just shows it randomly. But, let's say you know you have 10 pages on your site, you know that's it, that's all you have. And all of a sudden only three are showing up. So you go, "Okay, well that's a problem. "Maybe I accidentally blocked one of my sites. Or I accidentally caused a reason to be penalized by Google. And again, reach out to your host, ask them what's going on with this. So you want to check for errors and we talked early on about going to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. They'll do that for free, it'll tell you if there's any glaring errors. There's a couple other tools you could use, like Moz and Screaming Frog. One of the important things you want to look out for is duplicate page titles and meta descriptions, otherwise known as keyword cannibalization. So you don't want to repeat Ryan Flynn wedding photographer every single one of your pages. Some people think, well, alright, isn't that what I want to rank every page from my website?
I thought so too.
No, you want to make sure that each page has a different page description and different title. Another thing to look out for is redirect issues. There's two versions of your site, there's a www and there's a regular version, http without the www. They're supposed to redirect to each other. If it doesn't, then you can have a duplicate content issue, which Google doesn't like and it'll rank you lower. So, what does that mean in layman's terms? More or less you can go to your host and say, "Is this redirecting to the proper website? "Is it actually, you know, the www going to the http? "Is this redirect happening?"
So you'd find that out from one of the test tools?
No, you could just type that in. If you type in your site-- type your website in two different ways: type it in without the www and with the http and see if you get different versions of your site. That's the best way to really do it. And 404 errors, what is that? That's just basically pages that aren't found. Maybe you published a blog post and then it got deleted somehow, or you linked from another page of your site to something else and it's not find. 404 errors and broken links, so those are things you want to look out for, Google doesn't like errors. And you can use the free Google Search Console to tell you if there are errors on your site. You could use something like Screaming Frog or Moz. Moz is really great because it'll tell you a lot of other information related to your pages in general. It'll tell you whether you have errors, duplicate page titles, things like that.
Which ones are free?
Search Console. Moz will give you a little bit of information, usually a trial. But you can get all this information through Search Console, which is free, but--
I'm realizing how much I spend a month on this stuff, as we go on. But yeah, so free, free's good too.
So we talked about avoiding duplicate page titles. Here's a good example, New York Fashion Photographer on the homepage and about page, so if you have it throughout the site. Just create an alternative for it. So beauty and fashion photographer New York City on your about page, just another variation. Submit a site map, so this gets a little technical. So we talked about keeping your navigation simplified. So what is a site map to begin with? Basically, it's a map for Google to crawl your website, which actually exists, it's not something that a person sees, although you can see it, the Google bot sees it. So, you can do this through the Search Console. If you have WordPress, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin. Or you could ask your provider is a site map even exists. The reason why this is important is because if Google can crawl your site with this map, it's gonna help with ranking. It's gonna help it determine what your page is about. Now, I know this is a little technical, but submitting a site map is very useful. So, if it kind of goes over anybody's head--
It's easy, too, right?
Yeah, if it goes over anybody's head, email your host, usually they're more than happy to say, "Okay, we have it, your site map is here." Just type it in to Google Search Console and it'll tell Google to crawl these specific pages typically. So, SSL Certificate, so what is that? Have you ever seen https, or the little lock, when you're visiting a site? This is becoming more and more important as you move forward. Google is now ranking whether your site has an https version. Generally if you're collecting information. So if you have a form on your site, you might actually rank lower if it's not secure, because Google wants to protect people's information. Google Chrome will actually show an error saying that your site is not secure. Which is really not cool if you're trying to-- you send somebody to your site and all of a sudden it says, "Not secure." You're like, what does that mean? I'm not gonna visit this site, it's not secure. I don't want to do that.
I'm not gonna check back with you, probably, again.
This is free, doesn't cost money. Quality hosts will usually include it for free, like wpengine, Site Ground, things like that. Some might charge you like $20 a year and it, basically, is just-- Google cares about security now. It's nothing you have to do to install it, unless your site host really doesn't help you with that. Usually just say, "Can you install an SSL certificate?" There's nothing to really do. It just makes your site secure.
If you had to recommend two, three hosts, ones that are good, that you know are good, what would they be?
WPEngine, but it's just for WordPress. They're really great because they have automatic backup, they are constantly worrying about security, so your site's secure. SiteGround is also really good, but SiteGround can be used for anything, so if it's not WordPress, you can host your own. A lot of these other hosted solutions like SquareSpace, they're a host and a website builder, and everything all in one, they're a multi-million dollar company. So they have all the security and all this other stuff really locked into place. And if you're concerned about something like this, and you want (mumbles) you can email them and say, You offer a secure site? Like if you're on a host that you don't know does. Do you offer a secure version of this site? Because it is a ranking factor now in Google. Yes, hi.
My question is that I have a host with GoDaddy and then I use SquareSpace, is there a problem with crawlers and stuff like that when you start using subfolders for gal-- SquareSpace has two different ways to do galleries, you can actually set up a page and then input a gallery or you can just input a gallery. And they don't do the same things at all.
What are you using GoDaddy for?
It just a hosting.
And it's hosting--
Is it where you register the name?
My .com and all that.
Okay, no difference with that whatsoever. Because you're not actually hosting a site on GoDaddy, you just registered your name on it. Your hosting the site on SquareSpace, so there's no-- even though GoDaddy is a host also, they were originally known for that's where you go to register your website's name.
So, like all the tagging and SSL, I would contact say-- SquareSpace for that, because I've seen like blog-- fields for that. I'm like, ah, I don't know what this means, what does this need a description for, but now I know.
They have good descriptions in their help docs that say-- I was reading an article recently, it says how to optimize your SquareSpace page for SEO, and it tells you, line by line, fill in the page title, fill in this description on your page and that's where we were putting keywords and things like that. Like best Seattle wedding photographer and your mission statement for whatever page that you're on. And those are the areas that you would fill those out in.
My question is about blogging. Is blogging really super important to do or is that something that I can not deal with and just go ahead and do my website.
It is super important.
Yeah and we get into that a little bit. Blogging, in the traditional sense, is, people assume, writing and what do I write about. The information is kind of sourced for us, if we did a photo shoot, we can just talk about the photo shoot, talk about what the inspiration for the day was, talk about where-- especially if you're a wedding photographer, talk about the venue, and then the florist, the caterer, and there's a lot that you can write about. You can get user-generated content easily, too. Your testimonials, let's say you did a photo shoot, you go, tell me what you liked about the experience.
This is what I'm covering next.
So blogging is very important, because that goes back to Google liking content.
Yeah, there are a couple of things that you can-- like will help with SEO, even if you don't blog, but it's much harder, like it's much harder to actually be successful at SEO if you're not.
This question is from EO Photo in NYC and there was another similar question, when you change a page, title, meta data, or delete a page and Google crawls your site again, does it see those changes? How long does That take to go into effect? Does that ding you when you make these changes? Can you talk a little bit about that as we're doing new things?
So that's a great question. Google crawls your site, and they say randomly, and it can take a couple of days to-- there's ways to force it through Google search. Google Search Console you can actually submit the URL and say I want this to be re-crawled again. So, basically, it can be anything from a few days to a few hours. There's ways to get Google to crawl your page instantly, to start showing up in the search results. If you do delete a page, and let's say it was linked to from like 20 other blogs, you want to do something called redirect, it's called a 301 redirect, so it'll tell Google, "This no longer exists. "Now this is where it is." So you want to make sure-- and that goes back to the 404s and pages not being found, that you don't have any of those errors. Especially if you delete a page, that's probably not the best thing to do.