• WordPress Database Optimisation

    WordPress Database Optimisation

    This WordPress database optimisation technique is useful in general, but especially so if your website runs the popular WooCommerce shopping cart plugin. In just 2 steps, your pages will load at least 2 seconds faster, but often a lot more than that.

    One of my clients owns a site that sells dresses and despite being hosted on a business-grade server and using various caching and minification techniques, the product pages we often slow to load. Often, the WordPress back-end (admin area) was also slow. Since page loading speed is a big factor in conversion rate optimisation, as well as search engine optimisation, this was important to sort out.

    To find out what was going on, I first installed the Query Monitor plugin, which shows various issues in the PHP proccessing of the page, including slow queries. On every page load, it was showing one particular query as taking at least 2 seconds, often longer. That query was run by a core function to load all the options with “autoload = ‘yes'”.

    Web discussions showed that other people were plagued by this, but the WordPress core team was opposed to addressing it with an index, or in any other specific way. I had to do it myself.

  • Is Google Search Getting Better for Small Business?

    Is Google Search Getting Better for Small Business?

    Google Search is a free service, but Google is still a company. So to answer the question “Is Google Search getting better?” we need to determine our perspective. Do we mean “better for those who search”, “better for those who pay for advertising on AdWords”, “better for shoppers” or “better for businesses”?

    In fact, even in the business area, global brands differ very much from local businesses or small businesses trying to break into the marketplace.

    One obvious answer is that Google Search just keeps getting better for Google the company, because it is the foundation of everything they do. Without Google Search, the other things Google does would be possible and some things would stop making sense altogether.

    From a small business point of view, however, I think that Google Search keeps getting worse. Here’s why.

  • Is Google Search Stealing Your Website Traffic?

    Is Google Search Stealing Your Website Traffic?

    Website owners all around the world depend on Google Search for their livelihood and spend considerable amounts of money and effort to rank well on Google Search results pages (SERPs). Google boasts delivering the best results for those who search and spends a huge amount of money and effort to make its search results more and more relevant.

    Part of this effort was the recent demotion and exclusion of directory sites and archive or index pages. For small businesses, this often cuts out the “middle man” and shows links directly to relevant websites, instead of forcing potential buyers to view a list of competitors first. In a sense, these directories were stealing website traffic for their own direct revenue (through paid listings) or indirect revenue (through advertising).

    Another part was the addition of Knowledge Graph, which attempts to provide direct answers to search queries on the search results page. Unfortunately, this change, despite being great for information searches, can really hamper business’ promotion efforts on Google Search. Google keeps telling us to market our business by publishing fresh, informative content, and then grabs that content, shows it directly and forgets about giving us the traffic.

  • The New Google Image Search

    The New Google Image Search

    Google has released a new Image Search. Ever true to their aim of providing the best possible user experience, the new Google Images is a lot quicker and more intuitive to use. If you are looking for photos or graphics, the new image search interface is great.

    But what about website owners and small business operators that want their websites to be found through image search?

    Well, in terms of reach, Google Images is responsive, which makes it convenient to use on any device. With the rapid growth of Internet use on touch and mobile devices, this means more exposure for marketing purposes.

    But wait, there’s more…

  • Google PageRank Restored (almost)

    Google PageRank Restored (almost)

    This is a tale of woe for all you out there who have not kept up to date with Big Brother (Google) changes. Once upon a time, I had a good pagerank, and there was much rejoicing and I even boasted my good fortunes and considerable SEO skill in a post.

    Then, the mighty Google enginerds decided to let loose a large, wild Penguin, and they updated the Google quality guidelines and they automated detection of “unnatural” links and their new algorithm flagged my site and there was much misery and there was no point posting about it, because nobody could find my blog anyway.

    Fortunately, the email notification from Google Webmaster Tools provided a handy link to the reconsideration request page. I promptly submitted the site for reconsideration and waited for 8 weeks.

    My request was denied, my site remained hidden from the public eye and there was much hair pulling and screaming, but I didn’t record any of it, because the site was still virtually invisible, but also because it was really pathetic to listen to.

  • Link Exchange is Dead. Now What?

    Link Exchange is Dead. Now What?

    Let’s face it. Search engines are not interested in making SEO easy. By definition, SEO is a set of ways to manipulate search results, so why should the?

    Google has always made it clear that the best way to promote a website is by focusing on human searchers, rather than on robots and crawlers. In several algorithm changes, it specifically targeted links that serve no purpose other than SEO and content that serves purpose other than SEO and advertising revenue.

    So basically, traditional link exchange – you link to my site and I’ll link to yours – is dead. Gone. Buried. No more. You get it.

    What now? How should an honest small business use the mighty Internet for some promotion, then? Without swapping links, what CAN we do?

    The answer is … (drum roll) … fresh content.

  • My Site Has a PR5!

    C H E C K   T H I S   O U T ! I was showing someone this site as an example and quickly checked my Google PageRank (PR). It was 5! In the past, whenever someone offered me SEO services, the first thing I did was check the PR of their site, […]

  • Word Count for Firefox & Chrome

    This may not be strictly related to online marketing, but in the course of my work, I often have to count the number of words and characters in a given text (like page titles and descriptions). If you’ve ever used Microsoft Word, you know how that works. Well, before Firefox 4.0, there was a nice […]

  • Google Search Results Have Changed (again)!

    So here I was, showing some small business owners how to get more business online in a webinar, and I suddenly noticed that the Google Search results page (or SERP for short) is behaving differently. Here is a quick summary of what’s new.

  • What’s SEO anyway?

    I think that if you’re going to ask for professional help, it’s better if you stick to what you want to get for yourself and don’t try to use jargon, because that will get you both in trouble. Leads? Great. Sales? Even better. Profits? Awesome. But SEO? Is that a business word?