Links from the show:
- “Why do you publish on Medium over your own sites?”
- Malware cleaned up, no long-term impact on rankings
- WordPress abandons React due to patents clause
- “People are and will continue to be the biggest security issue with WordPress”
- Study shows links are as important as ever
- Bing says links may decrease in important
- The Google “hawk” update happened last month
There are lots of great places to post your content online, such as Squarespace and Medium. However, Google asks, “Why would you post there instead of your own site?”
Before we get into that, though, I’m Mickey Mellen, and this is A Brighter Web, episode number 17, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen. Our goal with this podcast is to give you quick weekly insights for news, products, and ideas so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips talking about strategy, search engines, WordPress plug-ins and UX, or it might be productivity ideas to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things. We also want to thank our sponsor, clickhost.com. ClickHOST provides top great web hosting at prices as low as $5 a month. Visit clickhost.com/abw for an exclusive 20% off discount for listeners of A Brighter Web. Today we’ll talk more about publishing on your own site, long-term malware impacts, WordPress abandons React, and links are still important. Let’s dig in.
In response to an article about people using Medium to post their content on the internet, Google’s Gary Illyes said, “I still don’t get why you would use Medium instead of your own site for publishing.” In response, the question was, “To reach a different type of audience in a different place with a different format. Own site equity is good, but SEO is hard and PPC costs.” Gary’s response was, “A different place means you’re also giving equity for someone else, or at least dilute what you normally get.”
It’s a good point and something we’ve talked about for years. To the extent possible, you should be posting your own site in a place you control, usually under one umbrella so you can really get all that equity in one place. Also, for what it’s worth, we do post on Medium some, but Medium allows you to set a canonical back on your own URL. Often I’ll post a blog entry on my site and on Medium, but then tell Medium, “Hey, the real post lives over on my site.” You can still get some of the traffic from the people on Medium, but you get all the link equity back to your site. We have a link to that article on Search Engine Roundtable in the show notes for you to check out.
Another note from Google on Twitter this week is about malware, what happens long-term. Google’s John Mueller said, “Malware can be tricky with cloaked re-directs, etc, but once cleaned up, it shouldn’t have a long-term effect on search visibility.” Now, long-term could be tricky. If you let malware live on your site for weeks and weeks, you could get completely removed from the index and it could take months to recover, but Google doesn’t hold that against you long-term. If you get things fixed, you will eventually return to where you are. If you get hacked, just stay on top of things, get it fixed quickly, and it won’t be too big of a deal. That’s why it’s very important to stay on top of your site, not only to make sure your updates are in place, but also to make sure that if you do have something go wrong, you know about it right away and can get it resolved.
Dre Armeda, a WordPress security expert that works for Sucuri, had an interview Cloud Waves and made an interesting statement I thought was worth sharing. He said, “People are and will continue to be the biggest security issue with WordPress.” Dre’s approach is to simply block everything and only open up what you need, versus many of us that have everything open and try to block out the bad stuff. If you come at it from the other perspective, locking it down, keeping people out, doing what you can and only allowing the minimum, you’ll tend to be a lot safer. In a nutshell, what he suggests is reduce access to your site. Stay updated, of course, that we talked about. Use strong credentials. And then monitor the site for issues. Simple security, but takes some discipline to keep it simple and not just be lazy and open up access to everyone else. It’s a real good article. You can check it out. We have a link in our show notes to it.
A recent study by Stone Temple Consulting shows how powerful links continue to be. Their study shows that links are a strong ranking signal and will continue to remain that way for the foreseeable future. We’ve seen similar things from Google, that links aren’t going anywhere, and getting links to your site is very important. Interestingly though, there was another article — we have links to both articles in our show notes — from James Murray of Bing, saying links may decrease in importance and evolve to become more driven by personalization and context. It’s an interesting conflict between the two articles, although James Murray of Bing does end with, “Don’t start devaluing the importance of link building just yet.” It is some time away. I don’t see that happening any time soon. But you know that Google’s looking to make personalization and context much more important. So long-term, links may become less important, but short-term, you need to stay on top of those and get more links coming to your site to help Google continue to respect you and help you rank well.
As always, Google won’t confirm or deny, but it appears there was an update last month on August 22nd that people are calling the “hawk” update, focused on local results in Google. It was related to seemingly duplicate local listings that weren’t really duplicate. Companies that were in the same building together, for example, might get filtered out even though they really shouldn’t have, and Google’s doing a better job of fixing that. They’re really doing a lot less filtering on that kind of thing, simply because that kind of filter wasn’t helping anyone. It’s another example, though, of making sure that Google understands your local information if you have a local address that matters, and they understand it perfectly.
The key to this is your name, address, and phone number, getting them exactly consistent across every local directory you can find, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Super Pages, all those kinds of things. We like to use Moz Local for that. You can find info about that at moz.com, M-O-Z-, moz.com/local, but there’s other good resources for that as well. Really, much of it you can do yourself if you just want to put in the time and effort to get everything tidied up.
Lastly is our tip of the week, which is to join a few Facebook groups. We have our group for A Brighter Web, which we encourage you to join and come ask your questions as you have them and help other people out. There are a ton of great WordPress-based groups on Facebook that you can join. There’s the Genesis WordPress group that I like, for those that use the StudioPress Genesis framework. ManageWP users’ group for people that use ManageWP. There’s WordPress Help and Share. There’s WordPress Plugin Suggestions, Advanced WordPress, WP Innovator, who also has an awesome podcast, many others on there. Encourage you to go to Facebook. Check it out. Join a group. Ask your questions, but really contribute and try to help other people as they’re growing in their knowledge as well.
That’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter @mickmel, M-I-C-K-M-E-L, or learn lots more at greenmellenmedia.com. You can find out more about the podcast, including show notes and links, as well as video tutorials and many other resources over at abrighterweb.com. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our meetup held three times each month. If you’re not in the Atlanta area, we post recaps on the site soon after each meetup. Either way, you can learn more at abrighterweb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.