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Need help asking your boss to attend WebPros Summit?

cPanel Blog -

The upcoming WebPros Summit 2019 is almost upon us! In talking with different members of the community, a common theme pops up from those who want to attend. “How do I convince my boss/company/employer that we/I should attend the WebPros Summit?” Never fear, we have a solution for you! Take this handy pre-formatted letter and simply replace the text that goes in [these boxes]. There’s plenty of value to attending the Summit this year, and …

On the recent HTTP/2 DoS attacks

CloudFlare Blog -

Today, multiple Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerabilities were disclosed for a number of HTTP/2 server implementations. Cloudflare uses NGINX for HTTP/2. Customers using Cloudflare are already protected against these attacks.The individual vulnerabilities, originally discovered by Netflix and are included in this announcement are:CVE-2019-9511 HTTP/2 Data DribbleCVE-2019-9512 HTTP/2 Ping FloodCVE-2019-9513 HTTP/2 Resource LoopCVE-2019-9514 HTTP/2 Reset FloodCVE-2019-9515 HTTP/2 Settings FloodCVE-2019-9516 HTTP/2 0-Length Headers LeakCVE-2019-9518 HTTP/2 Request Data/Header FloodAs soon as we became aware of these vulnerabilities, Cloudflare’s Protocols team started working on fixing them. We first pushed a patch to detect any attack attempts and to see if any normal traffic would be affected by our mitigations. This was followed up with work to mitigate these vulnerabilities; we pushed the changes out few weeks ago and continue to monitor similar attacks on our stack.If any of our customers host web services over HTTP/2 on an alternative, publicly accessible path that is not behind Cloudflare, we recommend you apply the latest security updates to your origin servers in order to protect yourselves from these HTTP/2 vulnerabilities.We will soon follow up with more details on these vulnerabilities and how we mitigated them.Full credit for the discovery of these vulnerabilities goes to Jonathan Looney of Netflix and Piotr Sikora of Google and the Envoy Security Team.

20+ domains on sale for August 2019 Blog -

Our Monthly Domain Sale for August 2019 starts now, kicking off 10 days of killer deals. Use the code AUGUSTSALE19 now through August 21 at 11:59 p.m. MDT to register these domains at a major discount. This promo code cannot be applied to renewals or registration of Premium Domains. $1.99 domains .fun, .casa, .fit, .beer […] The post 20+ domains on sale for August 2019 appeared first on Blog.

The Many Ways to Check Your Grammar in WordPress

Nexcess Blog -

John McPhee, a renowned writer of non-fiction books and magazine articles, describes in his book “Draft No. 4” the editorial process his articles must pass through before publication in the New Yorker.  The first phase involves multiple drafts and editing passes by McPhee himself. When McPhee submits the article, there is a conversation with the… Continue reading →

Ecommerce SEO: A Complete Guide for 2019

Nexcess Blog -

Do you run an ecommerce store but aren’t sure how to improve its SEO? Worry no more, this is your complete guide to ecommerce SEO. From keyword research to technical audits, this expert guide takes you on a detailed journey through the ins and outs of ecommerce SEO tactics for ranking your products on page one of Google.  What are you waiting for, let’s get started! Laying the Groundwork for Ecommerce SEO A concrete ecommerce SEO strategy is exactly that: a strategy. And all good strategies start somewhere. For ecommerce SEO, that starting point is keyword and category research, upon which you’ll build site structure, on-page and technical SEO, and backlinks.  These, in turn, influence the buyer’s journey. From click to homepage, to checkout, your keyword research should provide a clear rationale for the journey a customer takes, even extending off-site into guest posts and social channels.  So before we launch into a detailed look at implementing or improving your ecommerce SEO, let’s take a look at the groundwork you need to cover, and why it’s important, first.     Why Ecommerce SEO Matters Why does ecommerce SEO matter? Is it really just a form of dark magic held by wordsmiths of a digital age? Let’s break that down.  Firstly, yes, ecommerce SEO matters. It matters because it’s the key to finding customers and selling products organically. This means without having to pay for advertising.  Sound pretty sweet, right? 93% of online activity begins with a search, with less than 75% of searchers proceeding past the first page of search results. That means that in order to play the organic game successfully, you’ll need to compete and beat out the competition. Moreover, as we’ll look at throughout this guide, SEO doesn’t just affect your organic search rankings, it has implications that run throughout your entire site. From UX to structure, SEO is the key to creating buyers journeys that are unforgettable and targeted. So what about the second question. Is SEO just some form of dark magic? No.  Despite what some “experts” would like you believe, SEO is actually a fairly straightforward process (for the most part) that revolves around you proving the relevancy of the pages and content you create.  For ecommerce, that means attributing value to your products and telling a search engine that is the case.  What’s best, it’s all easily done by following a simple formula. That’s what we’re going to be looking at here.    Defining Ecommerce Products and Categories Ecommerce search engine optimization is a little different than typical content SEO. Google handles content differently, buyers expect it to act differently, and the competition is different.  Where ecommerce and content SEO differs is in how products should be treated when compared with blog or other content pages. This is especially true if your store offers a large number of products across several categories.  Take, for instance, if you’re opening a store selling headphones.  Simply stating “headphones” when it comes to the product title and description isn’t enough. Going even further, the category “headphones” won’t do much to help either the buyer or your SEO either.  Modern audiences are looking for personalized and detailed buying experiences. These buying experiences mean understanding the differences between, say, “headphones” and “earphones”, “in ear” and “over ear”.   Understanding the Difference Between Ecommerce and Content Ecommerce and content SEO is not the same.  Why? To start, visitor intent is different. Content SEO often has the long game in mind. Ecommerce SEO aims to optimize the sales process. Sometimes this means the long game, other times it means more immediate engagement.  Secondly, ecommerce is arguably a lot more competitive. There are a huge number of products which are very similar. Product attributes then become increasingly important, with even the smallest addition or subtraction potentially making or breaking a sale. Thirdly, Google handles transactional search queries differently. We will look at this in more detail later. However, what’s important to know is that transactional search queries have search features you won’t find with informational or navigational queries.  Finally, site content will be different. Product pages should be treated a little differently than, for example, blog pages. They should still follow the same general rules of focus and relevancy, but they also need to sell a product. This means you’re going to have to intertwine some emotional resonance in that copy.  As we cover pretty much everything you need to know about ecommerce SEO, keep in mind that every store is different and should be treated differently.  To create incredible, future-proof ecommerce SEO, make sure that your copy is relevant, informative, and useful.  Then do the rest.  Your Ecommerce SEO Stack Your ecommerce SEO stack should be a collection of applications and websites that enable you to quickly and effectively research and/or confirm your keyword and category suspicions.  Your ecommerce SEO stack is your main toolset for laying the groundwork and building your store’s online presence. WIthout a good stack you’ll struggle to implement a proper keyword strategy.  Here’s exactly how you can use a huge range of applications to isolate product differences, find buyer intent, and understand a product’s market.    The Keyword Map Before you launch any further into this section, you’re going to need a place to store all of your juicy keyword information. Everything you collect needs to be recorded for later! If you have nothing else available, we recommend pulling up a spreadsheet and creating something which looks like this: Keyword Product Monthly Volume Cost Per Click Keyword Difficulty We’ll come back to what all these different sections mean shortly. For now, you can focus on keyword and product. Here you’ll put any of the keywords you find through your research and the product they are associated with.  Secondly, create a smaller table that looks like this: Keyword Category This is potential categories. Categories are much larger than keywords. For instance, “Headphones” and “Earphones” may be individual categories as they have large differences. More specific attributes would fall under the keyword sections.  While conducting keyword research, keep an eye on the different keywords that appear and try to gain inspiration on what categories may and may not work.  Once you’ve done that, it’s time to get researching!   When Google Is Replaced by Amazon The first tool you have at your disposal is Amazon. As the most popular ecommerce outlet, with a huge range of products, did you think we would (could) start anywhere else? Amazon is to ecommerce SEO as Google is to content SEO.  Optimizing internal search is one of Amazon’s priorities, and contributed significantly to a 2018 revenue number in excess of $230 billion. 9 in 10 consumers use amazon to price check a product before making a purchase elsewhere. By positioning the right products in the right places along a buyer’s journey, they increase the chance of making a sale. To do this, they have had to optimize and perfect their internal search engine and ecommerce SEO to deliver only the most relevant results.  So, amazon is the perfect place to get started with keyword research.  Since we’re interested in selling headphones, we’re going to start by typing “headphones” into search and taking a look at Amazon Suggest.  This gives us two different types of information: ideas for keywords, and ideas for categories.  Primarily, the keywords we see above are what we call long tail keywords. They are search terms that are actually being searched by real customers and they provide a lot of insight into what they are looking for.  Taking a quick look, we can see that “headphones for kids”, “headphones with microphone”, and “headphones over ear” are a couple of keywords that stand out. Since headphones are very close to earphones, we can also take a look at this search result to see if there is any crossover or new long tail keywords we can play with. Immediately, “earphones with microphone” stands out, as does “earphone splitter” as a potential upsell product.  We can also take a look at the categories referenced in these searches. Cell Phones & Accessories appear in both search results, meaning it’s an important category to consider moving forward. Take this Further You can take this research even further by using a tool called Keyword Tool Dominator. This tool scrapes a huge number of amazon search suggestions for you, providing keywords for you to add to your keyword and category map. This can help save a lot of time and provides a fairly big long tail keyword base to work from. As you can see above, the results are different than when we used amazon directly, but are still just as valid moving forward.    The Power of Reddit and Wikipedia Both Reddit and Wikipedia should be used for generating a longer and more complete list of keywords.  Reddit should be your first port of call as its community is often teeming with advice and recommendations on what others should or shouldn’t purchase. These posts provide a huge amount of information regarding product market, target audience, and keywords. Of course, this often depends on what type of product you are looking to sell. However, there is often some kind of online community (whether in reddit or not) which talks about products from the perspective of a buyer.  Wikipedia is also an asset when it comes to keyword research. Just search for any product idea you have: like headphones.  We’ve highlighted a few key things which appear in the wikipedia search. First we have synonyms. These are words with the same or similar meanings, and are great keyword targets. Even the slang term “cans” is a viable search terms.  Second is potential categories. We already know that mobile phones are a viable category from the Amazon suggest results. We can now add musical instruments, radio, and video games.  Finally, we’ve also marked up some words which may be helpful for building out a more complete keyword strategy, including keywords like “bluetooth”, “DECT”, and “high fidelity headphones”. Tip: Don’t forget to take a quick look at the table of contents too. Here you’ll find some good ideas for both categories and keywords. For headphones, we can see a couple of options listed under types.    Identifying Semantic Keywords Additional bits of language conceptually related to your keywords or products are what are known as semantic keywords (LSI – latent semantic indexing). They are not one of your primary keywords.  Semantic (LSI) Keywords are those that are linked conceptually. We can also identify these as Qualifiers and Attributes. They are excellent for building our and understanding categories, as well as for bulking up your keyword strategy.  For example, LSI keywords for Headphones may be” Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Beats  Microphone  On-Ear These link conceptually and co-occur with instances of “Headphones” frequently. However, they do not have the same meaning.  In the wikipedia example above, two examples may be “open back” and “closed back”. These are potentially great binary categories, and provide customers with a clear UX path to purchasing the product they want.  Remember, these keywords should always be checked with a keyword tool (which we’ll get to later).    Google Trends Google trends is useful tool for seeing what kind of trends are taking place in the market currently. In the past, we’ve found this tends to require a lot of sifting of data, but it can help you to find golden SEO opportunities if done right.  To begin, we’re again going to want to use the auto suggest feature to see what kind of searches are popular. Luckily, there are a few suggestions for headphones, including the popular search term “noise-cancelling headphones”. We can add that to our keyword map.  Once we’ve done this, we can scroll down and take a look at the related topics and queries. These can provide us with some good, long tail keywords, and help us to gain deeper insight into the categories we’re looking to create. Oculus VR can probably fall under video game, MacBook Air can fall under computers, and AirPods can fall under mobile phones.  Tip: Sorting through Google trends can take a long time but it really does offer a wealth of information for merchants that are able to act quickly. Remember that trends are exactly that: trends. There is no guarantee that what is popular now will be even 1 month down the road.    Google Keyword Planner Once you’ve collected all of your keywords, it’s time to run them through a keyword tool to see what kind of buyer/searcher intent exists. There are a lot of options available to merchants, but we’re going to start with good old Google Keyword Planner.  Yes, Google, not Amazon.  The reasons we’re using google is because a large number of ecommerce searches come from search traffic outside of amazon. While Amazon has grown to be larger than Google in terms of ecommerce searches, Google still accounts for over 34% of product searches. So, taking a look at the list of keywords we’ve found, we’re going to start putting them into the keyword planner to see what it suggests and what we’re looking at in terms of search volume and competition.  Starting with the keyword “earphones with microphone”, taken from our first look at Amazon suggest, we’re given a deeper look at how that keyword would perform and several additional options. But what numbers are we really looking at here and what do they mean? Avg. monthly searches This is the average number of searches you can expect each month. Google keyword planner isn’t accurate in this area and we’ll be using another tool later for a better number.  Competition This is how hard it is to rank for the keyword. On your keyword map, we’ve called this DIFF. Top of page bid (both high and low) These provide a guide to how much an ad would cost per click. This number gives us a really good indication of competition. The higher the cost, the more competition. The lower the cost, the less competition.  Go through your keywords and add the numbers you find here to you keyword map. We’re going to be using them more later.  Unsure if your product idea is profitable? We took a deeper look at evaluating whether there is a market for ecommerce ideas.    Other Keyword Tools Once you’ve completed everything else, we recommend taking your keyword map and exploring it further with a paid keyword tool.  For the purposes of this guide, we’re using Mangools’ KWFinder. It’s lightweight, provides a lot of the information we’re going to need, and we’ve found it to be pretty accurate at predicting success in the past.  Other tools you can use include Ahrefs and SEMRush. We’re going to start this section of our research just like each of the other ones: by searching for “headphones”. Here, we’re given a lot of information on how useful our keywords are. We’ve got a lot more detailed information on search volume, a clear idea of the cost per click (CPC) and an easy metric for judging ranking difficulty. We can also see how search volume has changed historically. All of these metrics are ones we can use.  It’s also possible to take a look at autocomplete suggestions and questions that are asked using the keyword. These sections also provide detailed information on search volume, CPC, and difficulty.  Once you’ve looked through all of this information and moved what you think is relevant into your keyword map, you’re ready to start sifting through and putting together your primary keywords.    Sifting Through Keywords Well done on getting this far. If you’ve proceeded through each of the previous steps, you should now have a fairly expansive list of keywords, potential categories, and metrics available to you. But it’s probably too much. How are you going to take that list and shorten it to create a clear idea of what keywords to use and where to use them? After all, you can’t just stuff it all onto one page. To solve this problem, we’re going to need to take a deeper look at those metrics we pulled earlier.  When looking at keywords and metrics, it’s important to remember three general rules: Higher search volume means more potential Lower difficulty means easier ranking Lower CPC means less competition Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the types you metrics you’ve gathered and what they mean.  Don’t forget to check the semantic keywords you found as well. These can come in handy during category creation.   Search Volume Search Volume is a good indicator of how much traffic you could potentially see to your product. Know that this is searches, not click throughs. Even result number 1 doesn’t receive all of that traffic (but a fairly significant portion of it). Knowing what number is good here is really about understanding how niche your target audience is. Clearly, headphones are a large consumer market (who doesn’t own a pair in the mobile phone age?). As a result, large numbers are going to be good here. We would say anything with over 1,000 searches per month is going to net you a return. If you’re looking to sell more specific or specialized headphones or products, such as headphone amplifiers, a smaller search volume is ok.  “Headphones with mic” has a search volume of 2,400. This is pretty high and means that if you make it to the first page, you’re probably going to get a good amount of traffic. For merchants who stock this product, they would probably want to add priority to this keyword.    Keyword Difficulty Before looking at CPC, we’re going to take a quick peek at keyword difficulty.  Different tools measure difficulty in different ways. KWFinder measures it in terms of the link profile strength from other competitors on the first search engine results page. We like this method as it provides a nice understanding of page 1 ranking competition.  The lower the score, the better. It’s going to be harder to rank for higher numbers. KWFinder’s color coding here is really helpful. Anything in green is usually very easy to rank for  – depending on a few factors. These are low hanging fruit and you’re going to want to target them if possible.  In the example above, keywords like “neckband headphones” have really high search volume and low difficulty. A combination of these two metrics makes this a high-value keyword. Similarly, “best DJ headphones” is another with this perfect combination of factors. Finding this golden SEO combination is the key to isolating the best keywords available to you.    Cost Per Click Cost per click (CPC) indicates how much an individual click will cost in Google ads.  But wait, you want to rank organically, not for paid ads. Why does this matter? CPC is a great indicator of competition. The higher the value of a click, the more merchants are bidding for a smaller customer pool. This number can fluctuate a lot. According to Search Engine Watch, the most expensive keyword in terms of CPC in 2016 was “best mesothelioma lawyer”. Each click was valued at $935.71.  You should not expect numbers anywhere near this large. The most expensive CPC for headphones is just $3.24. This travels all the way down to just $0.14 for “gumy headphones”.  What you’re really looking for is a number in the middle here. You don’t want to go for a keyword with too little competition as there’s probably a reason for that (it doesn’t lead to a high conversion rate). You also don’t want to go for something too high as it may be because it’s too hard to rank for or compete on. Taking the top and bottom numbers of “headphones”, we’ve set a range between $0.60 – $1.50. This actually only filters out a handful of results and leaves us with a pretty broad spectrum of results.    Bring It All Together Once you’ve done this, you should now have a pretty complete picture of what your keyword strategy should look like. Take those keywords remaining on your keyword map and organize them based on relevancy and metrics (remembering the general rules above).   Site Structure Once you’ve completed your keyword research, it’s time to put that research into practice by using it to inform your site structure (or site architecture). Site structure is already an important part of SEO for any site. However, with ecommerce sites, it’s even more important due to the number of products and pages.  A clearer site structure makes it easier for customers to find specific products, for search engines to index them, and for merchants to create exquisite buyer journeys. The more pages and products you have, the more important this stage will be.  Don’t Skip this   Optimizing site structure means following two simple rules: The rule of simple scalability The rule of proximity to your homepage These two rules embody two core principles behind best practices web development: simplicity and connection. They show that it’s important to add pages to your site in a way that supports simple site architecture, while also ensuring that no page is more than 3 clicks away from you homepage.  These two rules relate heavily to “deep” site architecture.    Creating “Deep” Site Architecture In general, most external links (packed with backlink juiciness) are going to be directed towards the homepage. This means that most of your authority is going to exist on this page (probably).  As you build out your site, you’re going to want to create a clear pathway for that authority to “flow” from the top to the bottom.  In the example below, domain authority filters from the home page down through to the product pages (which are just 2 clicks away).  With more complex sites with more pages, this would probably have to be built out even more. It would include multiple mid-level pages and many, many more product pages. Whatever you do, it’s important to ensure that product pages are no more than 3 clicks from your home page. If you have fewer products, it’s important that they are no more than 2 clicks from the homepage. This ensures a streamlined customer journey and makes for easier indexing by search engines. Take a look at some of your competitors if you’re unsure and see how they do it. Tip: don’t put too many pages in level 2 if you can help it. The more pages on each level, the lower authority each page is given. The “deep” structure is designed to dilute that authority vertically instead of horizontally.    Bad SEO Site Structure  Bad site structure is easy to diagnose. It flies in the face of both simple rules above: The rule of simple scalability The rule of proximity to your homepage Instead of allowing for authority to drip down from the top, it creates meandering mazes that create uneven buyer journeys and hard to navigate UX.  The example above also puts 6 pages between the homepage and the product.  That’s 7 clicks between arriving at the site and finding the product they want. Not only is this terrible UX, it also all but guarantees that your conversion rate will drop significantly (unless you happen to have an audience that loves website mazes). Tip: If your site structure looks like it does above, don’t rush into moving everything around and changing your site structure. This will lead to changes in URLs, which means a lot of pages will lose their existing SEO value. Before engaging in a site redesign, we recommend getting in touch with an SEO professional to help, if it’s something you feel needs to be done.    Categories Now that you know the basics of site structure, we can start to apply the keyword research we performed in the last step.  Where this is mainly going to make a difference is on the category pages. Do you remember those qualifiers and attributes we identified in the first section? We also called them semantic (LSI) keywords.  These terms are great for creating categories. Make sure that you check them with the keyword tool as well. For the purposed of this exercise, we’re going to start with two category pages, “open back” and “closed back”. These provide us with a nice way to split any products we have down the middle, despite not necessarily having some of the best keyword metrics around. If you structure your site for best results, your URL structure should mimic your site structure.  Take the “open back headphones” and “closed back headphones” example from our wikipedia research. These would create two different categories “open back” and “closed back”, and the following URLs: Products would then fall under these categories and the URL would look like this:   Product Variations Product variations should not be addressed in your site structure. Differences such as color, size, material, or similar attributes should be addressed with your ecommerce CMS. The line between these variations and genuine categories is a thin one. Generally, best practice is to keep niche attributes with high volume or competition as categories, while taking more general attributes such as color and size, and setting them as variations.  Magento is particularly powerful when it comes to setting up product attributes. Not only does it allow you to set different values and settings, it also allows for attributes to be displayed differently in different parts of your store or different regions.  Other applications like WooCommerce are also very capable of managing attributes, but don’t have some of the advanced functionality you’ll find with Magento.  Tip: Before actually putting together your site structure, it’s a good idea to compare the differences between ecommerce CMS. Make sure to check for features which line up with your requirements for SEO. We recommend Magento in most cases as it allows for much more customization.   The Best Ecommerce SEO Site Structure The best ecommerce site structures follow the two simple rules above and ensure that all authority and links flow from the homepage towards categories and then out to products.  In the example above, the categories have been separated into two levels, allowing for more products to be represented and simplifying the buyer’s journey. In turn, these level two categories flow into the product pages along the bottom.  If you were setting up site structure for an earphone/headphone site, you may place “earphones” as one top level category, and “Headphones” as another. Level two would then diversify into other features such as “Noise Cancelling”, “bluetooth”, or other options.  We do not suggest going past this 4 level structure as that would mean more than 3 clicks from the homepage to reach a product. This will lead to a bad user experience and a hit to conversions.   On-Page Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization Ok, you’ve made it this far.  You’ve got your keyword map and you’ve created a solid site structure. Now it’s time to start creating the actual pages and optimizing them for SEO.  Here we’re going to show you how all that groundwork you’ve prepared is going to pay off. We’ll walk through keyword placement, on-page optimization factors, and what makes ecommerce SEO unique.      The Ecommerce Focus There are 3 primary query types defined by Google and each shows different types of results. Transactional Informational Navigational Optimizing SEO for ecommerce is different because Google treats ecommerce search results differently than they do other queries. Since we’re talking about ecommerce SEO in this article, we’re going to focus on Transactional search engine results pages (SERPs). To do this, let’s take a look at a simple ecommerce search query and break down what we see. The query we’re going to use is “buy bluetooth headphones”. Immediately, the first thing we’re shown is a sponsored product carousel. These are products that Google has deemed relevant to your search query and are based on you own ad selection settings. They are paid ads (we can tell by the sponsored tag in the top right), so ranking here is going to depend on numerous factors, including your ad spend.  Directly below this, you can see the delivery of an adwords ad, along with typical search query results. These usually last for a couple of results before moving back into another ecommerce SERP feature.  In the case of our search query, that is a carousel for the best bluetooth headphones and headsets. This is actually more of an information section, providing information scraped from popular sites and displayed in an easy to read manner. It is organic. Scrolling down a little, we are then shown the “People also ask” box. Here, long tail questions with higher search volume are listed and answered in easy dropdown text boxes. This is also organic and not paid.  Further down still and we’re shown a series of articles relevant to our search query. These allow for buyers to perform even more research before making a purchasing commitment. These are also organic. Below this, we’re able to refine our search based on brand. We’re offered a couple of options here. Clicking on one takes you to a google search for that brand’s name combined with your search query above.  Finally, the last thing you will see if a map with the location of local businesses you can purchase the product you’ve searched for from. To really make the most of this section you need to optimize your local businesses SEO.    The Move to Informational Following some level of criticism over too much paid placement in search results, Google have dialed it back a lot more recently. A lot of the information we see on the results page is actually informational – despite the fact that we have a transactional query.  This means that content and a solid content strategy is an ever increasing part of ecommerce search optimization.  Take a look at your keyword map and see if there are any clear opportunities for content creation. Then take a look at whether you think it is a good idea to start a blog on your website.  We’ll be picking up on how to implement an SEO content strategy for ecommerce sites a little later.   A Deeper Look at Keywords How Many Keywords? It’s often one of the first questions asked by merchants trying to solve their SEO woes: “How many times should I use this keyword”. Well, there’s no precise answer to this question, but just as with everything SEO, there are a couple of rules you can follow.  Keep usage clear, relevant, and precise (no keyword cramming) Consider use of semantic keywords Make keywords meaningful We’ve seen articles that state you should only use them 3 or 4 times. We’ve seen articles which state they should be used 5 or 6 times.  Yes, best practice states that using a keyword less is better than using it more. However, there’s also something to be said for how Google (and language processing networks in general) analyze text. As long as your keywords are making semantic sense and appropriate, write away.  If that’s not good enough, as a general guide, use 1 keyword per page and use it 3-5 times per 1000 words. Mix in a small number of semantic keywords where needed and you’re good to go. Take the text below as an example of a product description for a pair of noise cancelling headphones we want to rank. The Audio Creator To the Beat Noise Cancelling Headphones are some of the best on ear, active noise cancelling headphones around. Take your music wherever you think it’s needed with either bluetooth support or the 3.5mm jack. Experience high fidelity sound like you never have before. The words in bold above are semantic keywords we identified during our keyword research. We’ve included a lot of them in the product description, but they all make sense and none are out of place. Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords When putting together content, you’re going to see that there are primarily three different types of keywords you have to play with. The first two are short tail and long tail keywords. Short tail keywords are exactly as you would expect: shorter. They tend to have much higher monthly search volume and difficulty. But that’s ok because these pages should be closer to the homepage. That means they will have more authority flow into them: and so will have more power to rank.  An example of a short tail keyword would be “bluetooth headphones”, or even just “headphones”. Long tail keywords are longer. They have lower search volume and difficulty. More and more, long tail keywords and mimicking natural language patterns; usually in the form of questions.  An example of a long tail keyword would be “what are the best bluetooth headphones?” or “The best bluetooth headphones of 2019”.  We recommend using a mix of short tail and long tail keywords on pages when possible. The higher up in the site structure, the more you’re going to want to optimize for the short tail.    Optimizing Category Pages In this example, the category pages are optimized for Noise Cancelling and Wireless short tail keywords. These pages would contain some text about the different attributes and internal links to the top products.  Below these would be the long tail keywords for the products themselves. The Audio Creator To the Beat headphones would be searched by fewer customers than just “Noise Cancelling Headphones”. We still want to rank for it, but because of the lower search volume and difficulty, it’s ok to place this on the product page – further from the homepage.    Semantic Keywords for Ecommerce (LSI) On top of short tail and long tail keywords, you also need to consider semantic keywords. This are also known as LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing). As we discussed earlier, semantic keywords are those that are conceptually linked to the main keywords. For ecommerce, these are often product attributes and features.  If you’re unsure about what semantic keywords there are, take a look at Amazon and search for you product.  In the example above, we highlighted several keywords which seem to appear frequently across the page in the product titles. These include words like “active” for noise cancelling, “bluetooth”, and “over ear”.  We could take this deeper and explore product descriptions to see relevant, frequent words. We recommend looking at several different products like this and then putting the semantic keywords you find into your keyword map.  They should then be sprinkled throughout copy on different pages – especially in product descriptions. They tell Google that your page is relevant and informative.  Don’t overdo it. Moderation and relevance is key here, so follow the same rules as you would for other keywords with the exception that you can use multiple semantic keywords on one page.    How Much Content? Talking about the number of words, how many should you have on each page? Google ranks longer content higher, so your product descriptions should be hitting 1000 words (at least).  This isn’t a length thing. It’s not the more words you have the higher your pages are going to rank. If that were the case then everyone would be writing 10,000 word articles.  It’s that a well-written article or product page provides more than just a quick answer or description. In terms of ecommerce, a well written product description goes into depth about the product and what it can do.  When google then analyzes the page and its text, it will be able to see your keyword (assigning relevancy) and any semantic keywords (assigning extended relevancy) present.    Ecommerce On-Page SEO An ecommerce product page optimized for search will look (roughly) like this: So what is everything there and how can you ensure you’re providing enough information? Let’s walk through each of these different areas and look at them in detail.    The Ecommerce Title Tag and Meta Description Meta content is vital, not only for your ecommerce store’s SEO, but for click through rates from the search results page as well.  When deciding on a title tag, be sure to include the main keyword for the page and place it towards the front of the title tag. Try to make the copy here convincing as it will directly affect click through rates. Including terms like “The best” or “Cheap” or something similar can really help to improve click through rates. The meta description isn’t as important in terms of direct SEO. However, it’s still going to influence click through rates. Again, using terms like “Cheap” and “Best” here will probably increase click through rate. Just make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.    The URL There are two key things you URL needs to consider: Site structure Your keyword Implement both in this section and you’ll be fine.  The example above uses both the “noise-cancelling” keyword from our category page and the keyword from our product page.   The H1 Tag This is one of the most important pieces of information you’ll have on the page and best practice is to keep it simple and short. In some cases, it’s even worth just using your main keyword directly. Of course, this depends on the page.  Products should include the product name. Take a look at what Amazon does with their main titles on the page.  This H1 tag is long and wordy. Part of the reason for this is how Amazon’s search algorithm works and the competition between similar products.  However, if we take a look at a product like Bose, who are trying to rank on Google, we see a different picture. Their H1 tag is short and simple. It is the product name itself. This is because their product has search volume in its own right.  Tip: deciding on how you are going to treat your H1 tags depends on the products you’re selling. Does the product itself have search volume? If not, it may be worth taking more of an Amazon seller approach.  For category pages, it’s recommended that you stick to the short tail keyword you’ve opted to use. For the example above “Noise Cancelling Headphones” would be perfect.    Product Description This is the meat of your page and where most of its SEO value will come from.  As we discussed earlier, at a minimum, you’re going to want to include 1000 words here. The more the better (within reason).  Don’t forget that you should also include your keywords here: both short tail and semantic. We recommend aiming for 3 uses of your main keyword, with an additional sprinkling of your others.  Take a look at some of your competitors to see how they have done this. This can give you a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t in your industry.  This content should also have emotional relevance and pull for your audience. This is outside the purview of ecommerce SEO, so we won’t cover it here, but a clear understanding of your target audience (personas) is vital to creating this content. Your keyword research should help to inform this.  We also recommend placing keywords in H2 title tags if possible. H2 tags are given higher priority than body text, so well positioned keywords here attached increased relevance to a page.    The Alt Image Google understands that images help make content easier to digest. When was the last time you clicked on a web page and there were no images? Even Wikipedia has images scattered throughout.  As a result, including images won’t only make a difference in terms of conversion, it also helps with SEO (yes, really).  When inserting an image, try to think of a relevant alt tag. This should describe the image for those with sight impairments. If it’s a side shot of a pair of headphones, something like “side short of Audio Creator To the Beat headphones” would work.    An Ecommerce Internal Linking Strategy Depending on the ecommerce platform you’ve opted to use, you should already have a lot of internal links on your site. Links from category pages, links from product pages to frequently viewed products, and more.  This makes ecommerce SEO much easier than in a lot of other industries.  However, putting in some strategic internal links is aldo going to help and it does align with SEO best practices. So how do you do it? Start by taking a look at which pages are high priority. Which pages get the most traffic and see the highest conversion rates / are vital to the customer journey?  Are you going to have a blog? We recommend that you start a blog. When you publish new articles, link them to the high priority product pages. The higher the article with rank, the more authority will flow into the product page (just like with our homepage down technique).  Remember, when creating anchor text (the actual link text), use a keyword rich search term.  In the above example, we’re linking to the noise cancelling headphones category page, so are using the anchor text “The best noise cancelling headphones”. This is both relevant and has high volume according to our keyword research.    Rich Snippets and Product Reviews What’s one thing ecommerce SEO has that content SEO only sometimes has?  That’s right, reviews.  Take a look at the results of “bose noise cancelling headphones 700”. Every single one on the first page includes review stars. Every. Single. One. So how do you get this on your product pages? By using Schema Markup.  Schema markup is a code for telling Google and other search engines more about a page and what information is on it. It’s vital for having “rich snippets” in search results, and for including product review stars in the search results.  To add reviews, you can add code as defined by the review page. Google provide more in-depth information on how to include and mark up this information using JSON, with examples.  It’s also possible to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. This provides a simple wizard where you are siven several options on what to do and what you want to appear. It will then create the code for you, which you can just copy and paste onto your page.  Remember, to input reviews for the structured data markup here, you’ll want to select the products category. This will allow you to add the review and more information.  To check if these are working, head to the Google Search Console and check under Enhancements. The different schema that Google is able to track will be listed here under the different categories.  Since we selected the products category above, we can see products listed in this section. If you have not activated schema properly (or it hasn’t been indexed) then nothing will show up here.   Technical SEO You should now have an ecommerce SEO optimized website.  You’ve conducted keyword research, you’ve created a concrete site structure, and you’ve optimized on-page copy and meta. The Next thing you’re going to want to do is launch a technical SEO audit. This is going to help  you diagnose any problems with your SEO from a technical perspective. Technical audits can easily find themselves stuck in the weeds. In this section we’ll take a look at how you can conduct a simple audit for yourself, and how to fix some of the most important issues which spring up.  What Does a Technical Ecommerce SEO Audit Include? A technical SEO audit takes a look at what may be broken on your site. It scans the site code to look for issues that can easily be fixed and often provides a clear way to fix them. Some of the errors an SEO audit should pick up on are: Broken links Faulty redirects Page title and meta issues Duplicate content Incorrect XML sitemaps Bad robots and directives Site structure and architecture problems JavaScript hiccups Schema “rich snippet” issues There are additional areas that a technical audit will touch on, but the above are the main areas this guide is going to cover.  For the purposes of this article, we’re going to use Raven Tools. We’re choosing this as it provides information on all the areas we’ve mentioned above, and is arguably the easiest to use. To keep taking advantage of it you’ll need to pay a subscription. However, you can get started with a 14 day free trial. Screaming Frog is also a good tool for conducting technical audits. It provides information on a lot of different areas and allows site owners to look a lot deeper into the issues their site is having. This means that it is a lot more complicated to use than Raven Tools, so we’re not going to talk about it here. We do recommend taking a look at it if you want to delve deeper.  Finding Technical SEO Issues Start by signing up to Raven tools and logging in. Once logged in, you should be presented with a request to set up a campaign. These campaigns are based around website URLS. So go ahead and enter your website URL for the campaign or project you want to manage, then click continue.  Once you’ve gone through the setup wizard and selected the choices, head to the left sidebar and then open the SEO research drop down and then SEO Auditor Classic. After your site has been crawled, you’ll then be provided with a summary of the different areas you need to respond to.  Now you’re possibly going to see a lot of different things here. We simply don’t have space to go through each of the different technical audits you’ll see. Instead of covering everything, we’re going to look at the most important issues the tool can highlight and show you how to fix them.  Let’s get started.  Solving the Top Ecommerce SEO Issues Duplicate Content Despite being a major concern in terms of SEO, this is a very common problem. The very nature of ecommerce sites (especially large ones) does not help. However, it’s an easy fix with the right time commitment and a few changes to your technical SEO. How to Fix It Fixing duplicate content issues is simply done by following three techniques: Make sure content across your site is unique Employ Canonical URLs when needed Avoid heavy boilerplate content Yes, creating unique content can be a huge time drain – especially if you’re aiming for 1000+ words for each product. However, it will make a huge difference in terms of how well your site will rank.  The second thing you should make sure you’re doing is using canonical tags. Do you have a few pages that have to be very similar? In these cases it’s best to implement a canonical tag on that page.  The canonical tag will state which page is the primary page – which one you want to rank in Google.  Let’s say we have two products that are very, very similar. We want them both to rank in Google, but they can’t because they are just that similar. One is selling A LOT more than the other, and we’ve decided it’s time to start climbing the SEO ladder.  We would take both product pages and implement a canonical tag that directs to the higher-performance page. This will tell Google that this is the page you want to be indexed. Canonical tags can be implemented with a SEO plugin or through code. However, we recommend getting in touch with a technical SEO professional about this as there is a smorgasbord of rules to consider (too many to list here).    A Slow Site Slow sites are a common problem and there’s no one way to fix it. It really depends on the reason behind why the site is slow. This can be: Hosting problems Global customers accessing a single data center location Uncompressed images and files Poorly coded content How to Fix It The first thing you should do is check your hosting platform. They are not always the problem, but it’s an easy first port of call. Get in touch with your support team and see if they can see anything wrong. If they can’t find anything, then that means it’s probably something wrong with your code or content.  Hosting isn’t always the problem with site speed, but it’s an easy first port of call.  To narrow down what code or pages are causing problems, head into analytics and take a peek at Behavior > Site Speed. This will give you a good idea of the different page timings and which pages are showing the problem. Remember, metrics like TTFB are not the ones you should be looking at. From here, you may be able to see consistencies across you site and resolve the problem yourself.  It’s very possible that certain pages just have elements which are taking a long time to load (e.g. images). If this is the case, try lowering their file size with compression and see if site speed improves.  Perhaps the speed issue isn’t your hosting or your code, but a location issue. If a large amount of your site traffic is coming from a different country than your hosting provider, it may be time to either switch hosting provider or (the better option) invest in a CDN. A CDN will give you a good kick in terms of speed around the world, and it makes your site more secure! Unsure how to choose a data center location? Check our guide.   Your Site Is Not Secure This is a big one and something that a lot of ecommerce merchants have been slow to buy into. However, it’s a really easy problem to fix and can be resolved in a few minutes. How to Fix It Buy and install an SSL certificate on your site. Yes, it’s that simple. A SSL certificate will keep your site secure. In July 2018, Google made SSL certificates pretty much compulsory for all websites. On average, unencrypted sites now face a 5% decrease in organic visibility. Not only does it affect how Google ranks you, it also has a huge impact on click through rates. Just 2% of customers will proceed past the dreaded “not secure” warning page of a site without an SSL. Not sure where to get an SSL certificate? Let us help you and head to our SSL page.     Time To Put Your Ecommerce SEO to the Test Now you’ve read about how to get started with ecommerce SEO, it’s time for you to put it all into practice. Spin up your admin panel and get to work creating your keyword map, site structure, and finessing your technical SEO.   We want to know what you think is the most important for ecommerce SEO. What strategy did you find most useful and what does your keyword map look like? Let us know! The post Ecommerce SEO: A Complete Guide for 2019 appeared first on

Magic Transit makes your network smarter, better, stronger, and cheaper to operate

CloudFlare Blog -

Today we’re excited to announce Cloudflare Magic Transit. Magic Transit provides secure, performant, and reliable IP connectivity to the Internet. Out-of-the-box, Magic Transit deployed in front of your on-premise network protects it from DDoS attack and enables provisioning of a full suite of virtual network functions, including advanced packet filtering, load balancing, and traffic management tools. Magic Transit is built on the standards and networking primitives you are familiar with, but delivered from Cloudflare’s global edge network as a service. Traffic is ingested by the Cloudflare Network with anycast and BGP, announcing your company’s IP address space and extending your network presence globally. Today, our anycast edge network spans 193 cities in more than 90 countries around the world. Once packets hit our network, traffic is inspected for attacks, filtered, steered, accelerated, and sent onward to the origin. Magic Transit will connect back to your origin infrastructure over Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnels, private network interconnects (PNI), or other forms of peering. Enterprises are often forced to pick between performance and security when deploying IP network services. Magic Transit is designed from the ground up to minimize these trade-offs: performance and security are better together. Magic Transit deploys IP security services across our entire global network. This means no more diverting traffic to small numbers of distant “scrubbing centers” or relying on on-premise hardware to mitigate attacks on your infrastructure.We’ve been laying the groundwork for Magic Transit for as long as Cloudflare has been in existence, since 2010. Scaling and securing the IP network Cloudflare is built on has required tooling that would have been impossible or exorbitantly expensive to buy. So we built the tools ourselves! We grew up in the age of software-defined networking and network function virtualization, and the principles behind these modern concepts run through everything we do.When we talk to our customers managing on-premise networks, we consistently hear a few things: building and managing their networks is expensive and painful, and those on-premise networks aren’t going away anytime soon. Traditionally, CIOs trying to connect their IP networks to the Internet do this in two steps:Source connectivity to the Internet from transit providers (ISPs).Purchase, operate, and maintain network function specific hardware appliances. Think hardware load balancers, firewalls, DDoS mitigation equipment, WAN optimization, and more.Each of these boxes costs time and money to maintain, not to mention the skilled, expensive people required to properly run them. Each additional link in the chain makes a network harder to manage.This all sounded familiar to us. We had an aha! moment: we had the same issues managing our datacenter networks that power all of our products, and we had spent significant time and effort building solutions to those problems. Now, nine years later, we had a robust set of tools we could turn into products for our own customers.Magic Transit aims to bring the traditional datacenter hardware model into the cloud, packaging transit with all the network “hardware” you might need to keep your network fast, reliable, and secure. Once deployed, Magic Transit allows seamless provisioning of virtualized network functions, including routing, DDoS mitigation, firewalling, load balancing, and traffic acceleration services.Magic Transit is your network’s on-ramp to the InternetMagic Transit delivers its connectivity, security, and performance benefits by serving as the “front door” to your IP network. This means it accepts IP packets destined for your network, processes them, and then outputs them to your origin infrastructure.Connecting to the Internet via Cloudflare offers numerous benefits. Starting with the most basic, Cloudflare is one of the most extensively connected networks on the Internet. We work with carriers, Internet exchanges, and peering partners around the world to ensure that a bit placed on our network will reach its destination quickly and reliably, no matter the destination.An example deployment: Acme CorpLet’s walk through how a customer might deploy Magic Transit. Customer Acme Corp. owns the IP prefix, which they use to address a rack of hardware they run in their own physical datacenter. Acme currently announces routes to the Internet from their customer-premise equipment (CPE, aka a router at the perimeter of their datacenter), telling the world is reachable from their autonomous system number, AS64512. Acme has DDoS mitigation and firewall hardware appliances on-premise.Acme wants to connect to the Cloudflare Network to improve the security and performance of their own network. Specifically, they’ve been the target of distributed denial of service attacks, and want to sleep soundly at night without relying on on-premise hardware. This is where Cloudflare comes in.Deploying Magic Transit in front of their network is simple:Cloudflare uses Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to announce Acme’s prefix from Cloudflare’s edge, with Acme’s permission.Cloudflare begins ingesting packets destined for the Acme IP prefix.Magic Transit applies DDoS mitigation and firewall rules to the network traffic. After it is ingested by the Cloudflare network, traffic that would benefit from HTTPS caching and WAF inspection can be “upgraded” to our Layer 7 HTTPS pipeline without incurring additional network hops.Acme would like Cloudflare to use Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) to tunnel traffic back from the Cloudflare Network back to Acme’s datacenter. GRE tunnels are initiated from anycast endpoints back to Acme’s premise. Through the magic of anycast, the tunnels are constantly and simultaneously connected to hundreds of network locations, ensuring the tunnels are highly available and resilient to network failures that would bring down traditionally formed GRE tunnels.Cloudflare egresses packets bound for Acme over these GRE tunnels. Let’s dive deeper on how the DDoS mitigation included in Magic Transit works.Magic Transit protects networks from DDoS attackCustomers deploying Cloudflare Magic Transit instantly get access to the same IP-layer DDoS protection system that has protected the Cloudflare Network for the past 9 years. This is the same mitigation system that stopped a 942Gbps attack dead in its tracks, in seconds. This is the same mitigation system that knew how to stop memcached amplification attacks days before a 1.3Tbps attack took down Github, which did not have Cloudflare watching its back. This is the same mitigation we trust every day to protect Cloudflare, and now it protects your network.Cloudflare has historically protected Layer 7 HTTP and HTTPS applications from attacks at all layers of the OSI Layer model. The DDoS protection our customers have come to know and love relies on a blend of techniques, but can be broken into a few complementary defenses:Anycast and a network presence in 193 cities around the world allows our network to get close to users and attackers, allowing us to soak up traffic close to the source without introducing significant latency.30+Tbps of network capacity allows us to soak up a lot of traffic close to the source. Cloudflare's network has more capacity to stop DDoS attacks than that of Akamai Prolexic, Imperva, Neustar, and Radware — combined.Our HTTPS reverse proxy absorbs L3 (IP layer) and L4 (TCP layer) attacks by terminating connections and re-establishing them to the origin. This stops most spurious packet transmissions from ever getting close to a customer origin server.Layer 7 mitigations and rate limiting stop floods at the HTTPS application layer.Looking at the above description carefully, you might notice something: our reverse proxy servers protect our customers by terminating connections, but our network and servers still get slammed by the L3 and 4 attacks we stop on behalf of our customers. How do we protect our own infrastructure from these attacks?Enter Gatebot!Gatebot is a suite of software running on every one of our servers inside each of our datacenters in the 193 cities we operate, constantly analyzing and blocking attack traffic. Part of Gatebot’s beauty is its simple architecture; it sits silently, in wait, sampling packets as they pass from the network card into the kernel and onward into userspace. Gatebot does not have a learning or warm-up period. As soon as it detects an attack, it instructs the kernel of the machine it is running on to drop the packet, log its decision, and move on.Historically, if you wanted to protect your network from a DDoS attack, you might have purchased a specialized piece of hardware to sit at the perimeter of your network. This hardware box (let’s call it “The DDoS Protection Box”) would have been fantastically expensive, pretty to look at (as pretty as a 2U hardware box could get), and required a ton of recurring effort and money to stay on its feet, keep its licence up to date, and keep its attack detection system accurate and trained. For one thing, it would have to be carefully monitored to make sure it was stopping attacks but not stopping legitimate traffic. For another, if an attacker managed to generate enough traffic to saturate your datacenter’s transit links to the Internet, you were out of luck; no box sitting inside your datacenter can protect you from an attack generating enough traffic to congest the links running from the outside world to the datacenter itself.Early on, Cloudflare considered buying The DDoS Protection Box(es) to protect our various network locations, but ruled them out quickly. Buying hardware would have incurred substantial cost and complexity. In addition, buying, racking, and managing specialized pieces of hardware makes a network hard to scale. There had to be a better way. We set out to solve this problem ourselves, starting from first principles and modern technology.To make our modern approach to DDoS mitigation work, we had to invent a suite of tools and techniques to allow us to do ultra-high performance networking on a generic x86 server running Linux. At the core of our network data plane is the eXpress Data Path (XDP) and the extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF), a set of APIs that allow us to build ultra-high performance networking applications in the Linux kernel. My colleagues have written extensively about how we use XDP and eBPF to stop DDoS attacks:L4Drop: XDP DDoS Mitigationsxdpcap: XDP Packet CaptureXDP based DoS mitigation presentationXDP in practice: integrating XDP into our DDoS mitigation pipeline (PDF)Cloudflare architecture and how BPF eats the worldAt the end of the day, we ended up with a DDoS mitigation system that:Is delivered by our entire network, spread across 193 cities around the world. To put this another way, our network doesn’t have the concept of “scrubbing centers” — every single one of our network locations is always mitigating attacks, all the time. This means faster attack mitigation and minimal latency impact for your users.Has exceptionally fast times to mitigate, with most attacks mitigated in 10s or less.Was built in-house, giving us deep visibility into its behavior and the ability to rapidly develop new mitigations as we see new attack types.Is deployed as a service, and is horizontally scalable. Adding x86 hardware running our DDoS mitigation software stack to a datacenter (or adding another network location) instantly brings more DDoS mitigation capacity online.Gatebot is designed to protect Cloudflare infrastructure from attack. And today, as part of Magic Transit, customers operating their own IP networks and infrastructure can rely on Gatebot to protect their own network.Magic Transit puts your network hardware in the cloudWe’ve covered how Cloudflare Magic Transit connects your network to the Internet, and how it protects you from DDoS attack. If you were running your network the old-fashioned way, this is where you’d stop to buy firewall hardware, and maybe another box to do load balancing. With Magic Transit, you don’t need those boxes. We have a long track record of delivering common network functions (firewalls, load balancers, etc.) as services. Up until this point, customers deploying our services have relied on DNS to bring traffic to our edge, after which our Layer 3 (IP), Layer 4 (TCP & UDP), and Layer 7 (HTTP, HTTPS, and DNS) stacks take over and deliver performance and security to our customers. Magic Transit is designed to handle your entire network, but does not enforce a one-size-fits-all approach to what services get applied to which portion of your traffic. To revisit Acme, our example customer from above, they have brought to the Cloudflare Network. This represents 256 IPv4 addresses, some of which (eg might front load balancers and HTTP servers, others mail servers, and others still custom UDP-based applications. Each of these sub-ranges may have different security and traffic management requirements. Magic Transit allows you to configure specific IP addresses with their own suite of services, or apply the same configuration to large portions (or all) of your block. Taking the above example, Acme may wish that the block containing HTTP services fronted by a traditional hardware load balancer instead deploy the Cloudflare Load Balancer, and also wants HTTP traffic analyzed with Cloudflare’s WAF and content cached by our CDN. With Magic Transit, deploying these network functions is straight-forward — a few clicks in our dashboard or API calls will have your traffic handled at a higher layer of network abstraction, with all the attendant goodies applying application level load balancing, firewall, and caching logic bring.This is just one example of a deployment customers might pursue. We’ve worked with several who just want pure IP passthrough, with DDoS mitigation applied to specific IP addresses. Want that? We got you!Magic Transit runs on the entire Cloudflare Global Network. Or, no more scrubs!When you connect your network to Cloudflare Magic Transit, you get access to the entire Cloudflare network. This means all of our network locations become your network locations. Our network capacity becomes your network capacity, at your disposal to power your experiences, deliver your content, and mitigate attacks on your infrastructure. How expansive is the Cloudflare Network? We’re in 193 cities worldwide, with more than 30Tbps of network capacity spread across them. Cloudflare operates within 100 milliseconds of 98% of the Internet-connected population in the developed world, and 93% of the Internet-connected population globally (for context, the blink of an eye is 300-400 milliseconds).Areas of the globe within 100 milliseconds of a Cloudflare datacenter.Just as we built our own products in house, we also built our network in house. Every product runs in every datacenter, meaning our entire network delivers all of our services. This might not have been the case if we had assembled our product portfolio piecemeal through acquisition, or not had completeness of vision when we set out to build our current suite of services.The end result for customers of Magic Transit: a network presence around the globe as soon you come on board. Full access to a diverse set of services worldwide. All delivered with latency and performance in mind.We'll be sharing a lot more technical detail on how we deliver Magic Transit in the coming weeks and months.Magic Transit lowers total cost of ownershipTraditional network services don’t come cheap; they require high capital outlays up front, investment in staff to operate, and ongoing maintenance contracts to stay functional. Just as our product aims to be disruptive technically, we want to disrupt traditional network cost-structures as well. Magic Transit is delivered and billed as a service. You pay for what you use, and can add services at any time. Your team will thank you for its ease of management; your management will thank you for its ease of accounting. That sounds pretty good to us!Magic Transit is available todayWe’ve worked hard over the past nine years to get our network, management tools, and network functions as a service into the state they’re in today. We’re excited to get the tools we use every day in customers’ hands.So that brings us to naming. When we showed this to customers the most common word they used was ‘whoa.’ When we pressed what they meant by that they almost all said: ‘It’s so much better than any solution we’ve seen before. It’s, like, magic!’ So it seems only natural, if a bit cheesy, that we call this product what it is: Magic Transit.We think this is all pretty magical, and think you will too. Contact our Enterprise Sales Team today.

Magic Transit: Network functions at Cloudflare scale

CloudFlare Blog -

Today we announced Cloudflare Magic Transit, which makes Cloudflare’s network available to any IP traffic on the Internet. Up until now, Cloudflare has primarily operated proxy services: our servers terminate HTTP, TCP, and UDP sessions with Internet users and pass that data through new sessions they create with origin servers. With Magic Transit, we are now also operating at the IP layer: in addition to terminating sessions, our servers are applying a suite of network functions (DoS mitigation, firewalling, routing, and so on) on a packet-by-packet basis.Over the past nine years, we’ve built a robust, scalable global network that currently spans 193 cities in over 90 countries and is ever growing. All Cloudflare customers benefit from this scale thanks to two important techniques. The first is anycast networking. Cloudflare was an early adopter of anycast, using this routing technique to distribute Internet traffic across our data centers. It means that any data center can handle any customer’s traffic, and we can spin up new data centers without needing to acquire and provision new IP addresses. The second technique is homogeneous server architecture. Every server in each of our edge data centers is capable of running every task. We build our servers on commodity hardware, making it easy to quickly increase our processing capacity by adding new servers to existing data centers. Having no specialty hardware to depend on has also led us to develop an expertise in pushing the limits of what’s possible in networking using modern Linux kernel techniques.Magic Transit is built on the same network using the same techniques, meaning our customers can now run their network functions at Cloudflare scale. Our fast, secure, reliable global edge becomes our customers’ edge. To explore how this works, let’s follow the journey of a packet from a user on the Internet to a Magic Transit customer’s network.Putting our DoS mitigation to work… for you!In the announcement blog post we describe an example deployment for Acme Corp. Let’s continue with this example here. When Acme brings their IP prefix to Cloudflare, we start announcing that prefix to our transit providers, peers, and to Internet exchanges in each of our data centers around the globe. Additionally, Acme stops announcing the prefix to their own ISPs. This means that any IP packet on the Internet with a destination address within Acme’s prefix is delivered to a nearby Cloudflare data center, not to Acme’s router.Let’s say I want to access Acme’s FTP server on from my computer in Cloudflare’s office in Champaign, IL. My computer generates a TCP SYN packet with destination address and sends it out to the Internet. Thanks to anycast, that packet ends up at Cloudflare’s data center in Chicago, which is the closest data center (in terms of Internet routing distance) to Champaign. The packet arrives on the data center’s router, which uses ECMP (Equal Cost Multi-Path) routing to select which server should handle the packet and dispatches the packet to the selected server.Once at the server, the packet flows through our XDP- and iptables-based DoS detection and mitigation functions. If this TCP SYN packet were determined to be part of an attack, it would be dropped and that would be the end of it. Fortunately for me, the packet is permitted to pass.So far, this looks exactly like any other traffic on Cloudflare’s network. Because of our expertise in running a global anycast network we’re able to attract Magic Transit customer traffic to every data center and apply the same DoS mitigation solution that has been protecting Cloudflare for years. Our DoS solution has handled some of the largest attacks ever recorded, including a 942Gbps SYN flood in 2018. Below is a screenshot of a recent SYN flood of 300M packets per second. Our architecture lets us scale to stop the largest attacks.Network namespaces for isolation and controlThe above looked identical to how all other Cloudflare traffic is processed, but this is where the similarities end. For our other services, the TCP SYN packet would now be dispatched to a local proxy process (e.g. our nginx-based HTTP/S stack). For Magic Transit, we instead want to dynamically provision and apply customer-defined network functions like firewalls and routing. We needed a way to quickly spin up and configure these network functions while also providing inter-network isolation. For that, we turned to network namespaces.Namespaces are a collection of Linux kernel features for creating lightweight virtual instances of system resources that can be shared among a group of processes. Namespaces are a fundamental building block for containerization in Linux. Notably, Docker is built on Linux namespaces. A network namespace is an isolated instance of the Linux network stack, including its own network interfaces (with their own eBPF hooks), routing tables, netfilter configuration, and so on. Network namespaces give us a low-cost mechanism to rapidly apply customer-defined network configurations in isolation, all with built-in Linux kernel features so there’s no performance hit from userspace packet forwarding or proxying.When a new customer starts using Magic Transit, we create a brand new network namespace for that customer on every server across our edge network (did I mention that every server can run every task?). We built a daemon that runs on our servers and is responsible for managing these network namespaces and their configurations. This daemon is constantly reading configuration updates from Quicksilver, our globally distributed key-value store, and applying customer-defined configurations for firewalls, routing, etc, inside the customer’s namespace. For example, if Acme wants to provision a firewall rule to allow FTP traffic (TCP ports 20 and 21) to, that configuration is propagated globally through Quicksilver and the Magic Transit daemon applies the firewall rule by adding an nftables rule to the Acme customer namespace:# Apply nftables rule inside Acme’s namespace $ sudo ip netns exec acme_namespace nft add rule inet filter prerouting ip daddr tcp dport 20-21 accept Getting the customer’s traffic to their network namespace requires a little routing configuration in the default network namespace. When a network namespace is created, a pair of virtual ethernet (veth) interfaces is also created: one in the default namespace and one in the newly created namespace. This interface pair creates a “virtual wire” for delivering network traffic into and out of the new network namespace. In the default network namespace, we maintain a routing table that forwards Magic Transit customer IP prefixes to the veths corresponding to those customers’ namespaces. We use iptables to mark the packets that are destined for Magic Transit customer prefixes, and we have a routing rule that specifies that these specially marked packets should use the Magic Transit routing table.(Why go to the trouble of marking packets in iptables and maintaining a separate routing table? Isolation. By keeping Magic Transit routing configurations separate we reduce the risk of accidentally modifying the default routing table in a way that affects how non-Magic Transit traffic flows through our edge.)Network namespaces provide a lightweight environment where a Magic Transit customer can run and manage network functions in isolation, letting us put full control in the customer’s hands.GRE + anycast = magicAfter passing through the edge network functions, the TCP SYN packet is finally ready to be delivered back to the customer’s network infrastructure. Because Acme Corp. does not have a network footprint in a colocation facility with Cloudflare, we need to deliver their network traffic over the public Internet.This poses a problem. The destination address of the TCP SYN packet is, but the only network announcing the IP prefix on the Internet is Cloudflare. This means that we can’t simply forward this packet out to the Internet—it will boomerang right back to us! In order to deliver this packet to Acme we need to use a technique called tunneling.Tunneling is a method of carrying traffic from one network over another network. In our case, it involves encapsulating Acme’s IP packets inside of IP packets that can be delivered to Acme’s router over the Internet. There are a number of common tunneling protocols, but Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) is often used for its simplicity and widespread vendor support.GRE tunnel endpoints are configured both on Cloudflare’s servers (inside of Acme’s network namespace) and on Acme’s router. Cloudflare servers then encapsulate IP packets destined for inside of IP packets destined for a publicly-routable IP address for Acme’s router, which decapsulates the packets and emits them into Acme’s internal network.Now, I’ve omitted an important detail in the diagram above: the IP address of Cloudflare’s side of the GRE tunnel. Configuring a GRE tunnel requires specifying an IP address for each side, and the outer IP header for packets sent over the tunnel must use these specific addresses. But Cloudflare has thousands of servers, each of which may need to deliver packets to the customer through a tunnel. So how many Cloudflare IP addresses (and GRE tunnels) does the customer need to talk to? The answer: just one, thanks to the magic of anycast.Cloudflare uses anycast IP addresses for our GRE tunnel endpoints, meaning that any server in any data center is capable of encapsulating and decapsulating packets for the same GRE tunnel. How is this possible? Isn’t a tunnel a point-to-point link? The GRE protocol itself is stateless—each packet is processed independently and without requiring any negotiation or coordination between tunnel endpoints. While the tunnel is technically bound to an IP address it need not be bound to a specific device. Any device that can strip off the outer headers and then route the inner packet can handle any GRE packet sent over the tunnel. Actually, in the context of anycast the term “tunnel” is misleading since it implies a link between two fixed points. With Cloudflare’s Anycast GRE, a single “tunnel” gives you a conduit to every server in every data center on Cloudflare’s global edge.One very powerful consequence of Anycast GRE is that it eliminates single points of failure. Traditionally, GRE-over-Internet can be problematic because an Internet outage between the two GRE endpoints fully breaks the “tunnel”. This means reliable data delivery requires going through the headache of setting up and maintaining redundant GRE tunnels terminating at different physical sites and rerouting traffic when one of the tunnels breaks. But because Cloudflare is encapsulating and delivering customer traffic from every server in every data center, there is no single “tunnel” to break. This means Magic Transit customers can enjoy the redundancy and reliability of terminating tunnels at multiple physical sites while only setting up and maintaining a single GRE endpoint, making their jobs simpler.Our scale is now your scaleMagic Transit is a powerful new way to deploy network functions at scale. We’re not just giving you a virtual instance, we’re giving you a global virtual edge. Magic Transit takes the hardware appliances you would typically rack in your on-prem network and distributes them across every server in every data center in Cloudflare’s network. This gives you access to our global anycast network, our fleet of servers capable of running your tasks, and our engineering expertise building fast, reliable, secure networks. Our scale is now your scale.

Seven Things Speakers Must Have On A Website Speaking Page

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Whether you’re just getting started with public speaking or you’re a seasoned professional speaker who has been speaking to groups for years, you need a speaker website or a speaking page—a place meeting planners, event organizers, and media can go to learn more about you. A successful speaking page provides the exact information needed to help someone decide if they should invite you to their event and facilitates the inquiry process. Unfortunately, many speaking pages fall short and talented speakers fail to get booked. That’s why in today’s post, we’re sharing exactly what speakers need to include on their website speaking page. What To Include On A Speaking Page If you want to get booked as a speaker, you need to make it easy for event planners and booking agents to not only find the information they’re looking for but see just how fantastic you are in front of a group. You also need to remove the “wild card” risk associated with an unknown speaker and provide peace of mind that you’ll wow the audience and make the person who booked you look good. Subscribe to the Liquid Web newsletter to receive tips on how to build a professional WordPress site. Here’s a list of seven things meeting planners are looking for on a speaking page: 1. Speaking Topics Share your best, most popular speaking topics and if you have one, your signature talk—the best talk you have that always receives rave reviews from event planners and audiences alike. Consider sharing the talk title and a short description for each topic. 2. Speaking Testimonials Every time you speak at an event, ask for feedback and a testimonial from the event organizers and ask to see the attendee feedback or survey results for your session. Display testimonials about your talks on the speaking page, share attendee feedback, and if attendees posted glowing remarks about your talk on social media, embed a tweet or two to provide added social proof. 3. Speaking Photos And Videos Make sure you ask a friend to take photos and/or video of you speaking, hire a photographer or videographer to take photos, or ask for photos and/or a video recording of your talk from the event organizers. You can also ask for the official event videographer or photographer’s contact information before the event and hire the same person to take extra photos of your talk. Displaying photos of you speaking at events and including videos of you speaking from stage demonstrate that you have experience and give potential clients the opportunity to see you in action and witness the quality and value you deliver. 4. Previous or Future Speaking Gig Information Have you spoken at other events or have future speaking gigs booked? List them on the speaking page of your website. This shows event organizers that you’re already being booked by other people and helps remove risk. 5. Your Speaking Approach Do you have a unique speaking style? Are you known for a specific thing when you speak? Do you have a reputation for making people laugh, telling great stories, or inspiring action? Share it! Also, share your approach to working with event planners and event organizers to ensure your session creates great value for their audience. 6. A Speaker One Sheet In addition to a speaking page, it’s a great idea to create a speaker one-sheet, which is a flyer promoting your speaking. A downloadable one-sheet that includes your photo, bio, speaking topics, testimonials, and contact information is incredibly valuable for event organizers who often research speakers online, gather information, and provide options to key stakeholders to choose from. When you have a one-sheet, a meeting planner can download it, and either email it to decision-makers or print it to distribute at a meeting. 7. A Speaker Booking Form At the bottom of your website speaking page, include an interest form or booking form that includes questions specific to speaking such as when the event is and how many people are expected to attend. One More Tip For Speakers With the seven items listed above incorporated into your speaking page, you’ll have everything an event planner is looking for except one thing. We haven’t yet addressed a professional bio because where it goes on your website varies. If your entire website is dedicated to speaking and it is a speaking website, the about page should have your professional bio in long and short formats, as well as a collection of photos.If your website is a business site that is selling services and/or products and the speaking information is limited to the speaking page, you need to include a professional bio on the speaking page. The post Seven Things Speakers Must Have On A Website Speaking Page appeared first on Liquid Web.

6 Facebook Ad Mistakes Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them

Social Media Examiner -

Are you struggling to get great results from your Facebook ads? Wondering if you’re making mistakes that are hurting your campaigns? We asked some of the industry’s top Facebook advertising experts to share the mistakes they see most often and how you can avoid making them. #1: Optimizing Your Facebook Ads Too Often Most Facebook […] The post 6 Facebook Ad Mistakes Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

ResellerClub: Our Story

Reseller Club Blog -

It’s been a while since I did a blog post like this but as the business has expanded and more customers have joined the ResellerClub family, I feel the need to pen our journey especially for those who might not be familiar with the brand. I think this would be a good time to reconnect on the ResellerClub story. Milestones Our journey has been quite an interesting one so I’d like to start by drawing out our milestones. Our History The Beginning (2006 – 07): ResellerClub started in 2006 with a handful of employees in a tiny Mumbai office. We were a Domain Registrar company offering 20 TLDs and still toying with the idea of hosting. However, in just a short time, we acquired 15,000 resellers.  Picking up Pace (2008 – 12): Growth was massive in this period. We grew from 15,000 resellers to 40,000 resellers and 20 TLDs to 80 TLDs in this period. By 2009, ResellerClub was among the Top 10 Domain Name Registrars in the world. In 2011, ResellerClub went global. This was a huge step for us as we were now offering glocalised experiences in China, Brazil, UK, Spain and more. We were recognised as the Fastest Growing Wholesale Registrar.  We also expanded our product portfolio by offering Shared and Reseller Hosting. In this time, we also held our first ever event, ResellerClub Hosting Summit. Diversifying (2013 – 16): By this time, ResellerClub hit some major milestones: Our domain offering grew to 500+ TLDs. We also acquired 100,000 resellers worldover.  We added to our product portfolio, servers – VPS and Dedicated Servers. We also launched addon products namely, Business & Enterprise Email hosting, Backup & Security Solutions, Combo Plans and mobile site builders. While we have always catered to hosting companies as well as web professionals,  we realised during this time that the way web professionals buy is a little different. To cater to them, we started the Frictionless-reseller Buy program where web pros can directly ‘buy off the shelf’. In this time, we also launched the event, ResellerClub presents Hostingcon in India, China and the Netherlands. ResellerClub defined and refocused on the WebPro audience. We launched our first ever design contest, SiteWars and our first ever design – development event, Ctrl+F5 in light of this refocus. Ctrl+F5 has since expanded to become a highly popular, multi-city event in 2019. The contest set the pace for all the following activities for webpros.  Transforming (2017 – Present): Today, ResellerClub has over 200,000 customers worldwide. We’ve dug deeper and reached further in the WebPro community. This is reflected through new initiatives and projects like: ResellerClub Mobile App  The all-new WebPro Panel Cloudbazaar, our flagship event solely focused on WebPros Product portfolio expanded to include SaaS apps like G Suite, Themes & Templates, Plugins & Scripts Our Vision & Mission today Today, ResellerClub’s vision and mission is to cater to and equip WebPros and hosting companies in every step of their business through meaningful partnerships, events, content, products and services.  Through partnerships with various brands, we aim to bring the best of the lot under one roof – ResellerClub. Our partnering brands include:  Our Products Our Geographies ResellerClub has 8 country market programs and its presence in over 240 countries: Our Team Our team 250+ employees, works together to the common mission: WebPros & Small Businesses. The brand functions are divided to optimize skill and strength. According to research, ResellerClub employees are 54.86% happier than employees of other Businesses (source: Bogus Insights Inc., 2019 ;)) Until next time! .fb_iframe_widget_fluid_desktop iframe { width: 100% !important; } The post ResellerClub: Our Story appeared first on ResellerClub Blog.

When indexing goes wrong: how Google Search recovered from indexing issues & lessons learned since.

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Most of the time, our search engine runs properly. Our teams work hard to prevent technical issues that could affect our users who are searching the web, or webmasters whose sites we index and serve to users. Similarly, the underlying systems that we use to power the search engine also run as intended most of the time. When small disruptions happen, they are largely not visible to anyone except our teams who ensure that our products are up and running. However, like all complex systems, sometimes larger outages can occur, which may lead to disruptions for both users and website creators. In the last few months, such a situation occurred with our indexing systems, which had a ripple effect on some other parts of our infrastructure. While we worked as quickly as possible to remedy the situation, we apologize for the disruption, as our goal is to continuously provide high-quality products to our users and to the web ecosystem. Since then, we took a closer, careful look into the situation. In the process, we learned a few lessons that we'd like to share with you today. In this blog post, we will go into more details about what happened, clarify how we plan to communicate better if such things happen in the future, and remind website owners of the channels they can use to communicate with us. So, what happened a few months ago? In April, we had several issues related to our index. The Search index is the database that holds the hundreds of billions of web pages that we crawled on the web and that we think could answer some of our users’ queries. When a user enters a query in the Google search engine, our ranking algorithms sort through those pages in our Search index to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second. Here is more information on what happened. 1. The indexing issue To start it off, we temporarily lost part of the Search index.Wait... What? What do you mean “lost part of the index?” Is that even possible? Basically, when serving search results to users, to accelerate the speed of the service, the query of the user only “travels” as far as the closest of our data centers supporting the Google Search product, from which the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is generated. So when there are modifications to the composition of the index (some pages added and removed, documents are merged, or other types of data modification), those modifications need to be reflected in all of those data centers. The consequence is that users all over the world are consistently served pages from the most recent version of the index. Google owns and operates data centers (like the one pictured above) around the world, to keep our products running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - source Keeping the index unified across all those data centers is a non trivial task. For large user-facing services, we may deploy updates by starting in one data center and expand until all relevant data centers are updated. For sensitive pieces of infrastructure, we may extend a rollout over several days, interleaving them across instances in different geographic regions. source So, as we pushed some planned changes to the Search index, on April 5th parts of the deployment system broke, on a Friday no-less! More specifically: as we were updating the index over some of our data centers, a small number of documents ended up being dropped from the index accidentally. Hence: “we lost part of the index.” Luckily, our on-call engineers caught the issue pretty quickly, at the same time as we started picking up chatter on social media (thanks to everyone who notified us over that weekend!). As a result, we were able to start reverting the Search index to its previous stable state in all data centers only a few hours after the issue was uncovered (we keep back-ups of our indexes just in case such events happen). We communicated on Sunday, April 7th that we were aware of the issue, and that things were starting to get back to normal. As data centers were progressively reverting back to a stable index, we continued updating on Twitter (on April 8th, on April 9th), until we were confident that all data centers were fully back to a complete version of the index on April 11th. 2. The Search Console issue Search Console is the set of tools and reports any webmaster can use to access data about their website’s performance in Search. For example, it shows how many impressions and clicks a website gets in the organic search results every day, or information on what pages of a website are included and excluded from the Search index. As a consequence of the Search index having the issues we described above, Search Console started to also show inconsistencies. This is because some of the data that surfaces in Search Console originates from the Search index itself: the Index Coverage report depends on the Search index being consistent across data centers.when we store a page in the Search index, we can annotate the entry with key signals about the page, like the fact that the page contains rich results markup for example. Therefore, an issue with the Search index can have an impact on the Rich Results reports in Search Console.Basically, many Search Console individual reports read data from a dedicated database. That database is partially built by using information that comes from the Search index. As we had to revert back to a previous version of the Search index, we also had to pause the updating of the Search Console database. This resulted in plateau-ing data for some reports (and flakiness in others, like the URL inspection tool). Index coverage report for indexed pages, which shows an example of the data freshness issues in Search Console in April 2019, with a longer time between 2 updates than what is usually observed. Because the whole Search index issue took several days to roll back (see explanation above), we were delayed focusing on fixing the Search Console database until a few days later, only after the indexing issues were fixed. We communicated on April 15th - tweet - that the Search Console was having troubles and that we were working on fixing it, and we completed our fixes on April 28th (day on which the reports started gathering fresh data again, see graph above). We communicated on Twitter on April 30th that the issue was resolved- tweet. 3. Other issues unrelated to the main indexing bug Google Search relies on a number of systems that work together. While some of those systems can be tightly linked to one another, in some cases different parts of the system experience unrelated problems around the same time. In the present case for example, around the same time as the main indexing bug explained above, we also had brief problems gathering fresh Google News content. Additionally, while rendering pages, certain URLs started to redirect Googlebot to other unrelated pages. These issues were entirely unrelated to the indexing bug, and were quickly resolved (tweet 1 & tweet 2). Our communication and how we intend on doing better In addition to communicating on social media (as highlighted above) during those few weeks, we also gave webmasters more details in 2 other channels: Search Console, as well as the Search Console Help Center. In the Search Console Help Center We updated our “Data anomalies in Search Console” help page after the issue was fully identified. This page is used to communicate information about data disruptions to our Search Console service when the impact affects a large number of website owners. In Search Console Because we know that not all our users read social media or the external Help Center page, we also added annotations on Search Console reports, to notify users that the data might not be accurate (see image below). We added this information after the resolution of the bugs. Clicking on “see here for more details” sends users to the “Data Anomalies” page in the Help Center. Index coverage report for indexed pages, which shows an example of the data annotations that we can include to notify users of specific issues. Communications going forward When things break at Google, we have a strong “postmortem” culture: creating a document to debrief on the breakage, and try to avoid it happening next time. The whole process is described in more detail at the Google Site Reliability Engineering website. In the wake of the April indexing issues, we included in the postmortem how to better communicate with webmasters in case of large system failures. Our key decisions were: Explore ways to more quickly share information within Search Console itself about widespread bugs, and have that information serve as the main point of reference for webmasters to check, in case they are suspecting outages.More promptly post to the Search Console data anomalies page, when relevant (if the disturbance is going to be seen over the long term in Search Console data).Continue tweeting as quickly as we can about such issues to quickly reassure webmasters we’re aware and that the issue is on our end. Those commitments should make potential future similar situations more transparent for webmasters as a whole. Putting our resolutions into action: the “new URLs not indexed” case study On May 22nd, we tested our new communications strategy, as we experienced another issue. Here’s what happened: while processing certain URLs, our duplicate management system ran out of memory after a planned infrastructure upgrade, which caused all incoming URLs to stop processing. Here is a timeline of how we thought about communications, following the 3 points highlighted just above: We noticed the issue (around 5.30am California time, May 22nd)We tweeted about the ongoing issue (around 6.40am California time, May 22nd)We tweeted about the resolution (around 10pm California time, May 22nd)We evaluated updating the “Data Anomalies” page in the Help Center, but decided against it since we did not expect any long-term impact for the majority of webmasters' Search Console data in the long run.The confusion that this issue created for many confirmed our earlier conclusions that we need a way to signal more clearly in the Search Console itself that there might be a disruption to one of our systems which could impact webmasters. Such a solution might take longer to implement. We will communicate on this topic in the future, as we have more news. Last week, we also had another indexing issue. As with May 22, we tweeted to let people know there was an issue, that we were working to fix it and when the issue was resolved. How to debug and communicate with us We hope that this post will bring more clarity to how our systems are complex and can sometimes break, and will also help you understand how we communicate about these matters. But while this post focuses on a widespread breakage of our systems, it’s important to keep in mind that most website indexing issues are caused by an individual website’s configuration, which can create difficulties for Google Search to index that website properly. For those cases, all webmasters can debug issues using Search Console and our Help center. After doing so, if you still think that an issue is not coming from your site or don’t know how to resolve it, come talk to us and our community, we always want to take feedback from our users. Here is how to signal an issue to us: Check our Webmaster Community, sometimes other webmasters have highlighted an issue that also impacts your site.In person! We love contact, come and talk to us at events. Calendar.Within our products! The Search Console feedback tool is very useful to our teams.Twitter and YouTube! Posted by Vincent Courson, Google Search Outreach

WP Engine Platform Becomes 40% Faster Making it the Unequivocal Performance Leader in WordPress

WP Engine -

AUSTIN, Texas – Aug. 12, 2019 – WP Engine, the WordPress Digital Experience Platform (DXP), today announced it has become the first WordPress Digital Experience Platform to adopt Google Cloud Platform’s newest infrastructure, the Compute-Optimized Virtual Machines (VM) (C2). With these enhancements, WP Engine’s platform offers performance that is 40 percent faster than anyone else… The post WP Engine Platform Becomes 40% Faster Making it the Unequivocal Performance Leader in WordPress appeared first on WP Engine.

Improving Our Backend Performance by 15%

WP Engine -

At WP Engine, we are relentlessly focused on being the best platform for building and operating high-performing digital experiences on WordPress. To fulfill this focus, it’s important to remain the leader when it comes to WordPress performance at scale, and to provide customers with a platform that helps their sites run faster, more securely, and… The post Improving Our Backend Performance by 15% appeared first on WP Engine.

What Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Means For Your Site

Nexcess Blog -

Most web searches are carried out on mobile devices, as they have been for several years. This shift in user behavior shouldn’t be news to any site owner or ecommerce retailer, and nor should Google’s enthusiasm for the mobile platform. The search giant has been cheerleading for mobile-friendly design for the best part of a… Continue reading →

10 Ways to Boost Online Store Sales with Wishlists

HostGator Blog -

The post 10 Ways to Boost Online Store Sales with Wishlists appeared first on HostGator Blog. Adding wishlist functions to your online store can help turn more window-shoppers into paying customers, if you make your wishlist visible and easy to use—and maybe don’t call it a wishlist. Here’s how to choose your wishlist tools, put them in the right places on your site, and make the most of the marketing opportunities wishlists deliver. 10 Steps to Wishlists That Work Why do wishlists work for online stores? Saving items for later reduces cart abandonment, and it makes it easy for your shoppers to pick up where they left off later, even on another device. Shareable wishlists can also reach new customers who are shopping for gifts or want to copy a social media influencer’s style. Follow these steps to boost sales for your online store with wishlists. 1. Choose your wishlist plugin The best wishlist plugins make it easy for your customers to use them. Look for guest wishlist options, social shareability, privacy options for individual wishlists, and easy to use admin tools that show you which products are the most wished-for. Two of the best-rated options for stores that run on WordPress with WooCommerce are WooCommerce’s own Wishlists plugin and YITH WooCommerce Wishlist. Both cost $79 for a one-year, single-site subscription. YITH also offers a pared-down free version. 2. Decide what to call your wishlists Wishlist—as in, “add to wishlist” may seem like the obvious term to use in your store. But UX-research group Nielsen Norman Group has found that some shoppers feel “greedy” about adding things to a list to share with others. NNG recommends alternatives like Favorites or My List. 3. Choose where to put wishlist tools on your site There should be an add to wishlist (or favorites or my list) button on every product page. Google’s Retail UX Playbook lists wishlist-related calls to action on product pages to reduce friction for shoppers who are browsing or who want to complete their purchase later, on another device. You can also add a wishlist button—usually a heart—to product photos on your category pages. West Elm does this, and lets shoppers start marking favorites without signing in or creating an account first. Shoppers can review their My Favorites Gallery and sign in if they want to save those items for later. It’s also a good idea to make wishlists visible and easy to access from the shopping cart and during checkout, to encourage shoppers to add items from their lists. 4. Customize your store’s wishlist tools You should be able to customize your wishlist buttons, colors, messages, and more to blend in with your site design. You may also have the option to require that shoppers register in order to make a wishlist, although NNG recommends against that because it adds friction to the shopping experience. You may also be able to customize the sharing options you want your store’s wishlists to support. Make it as easy as possible for shoppers to share their lists, especially on social media. One study found that online stores without “clear social sharing options” consistently miss out on potential sales.   5. Preview and test your store’s wishlist features Navigate through your store the way shoppers do and add things to test wishlists to make sure that everything looks and works the way you want it to. Preview the new setup on different devices and pay special attention to how your customizations look on mobile phones. And follow our recommendations for other UX testing best practices. 6. Activate your new wishlist capabilities Make your wishlist functions live, let your shoppers know they can make wishlists, and then listen for their feedback. You may need to tweak things as customers start building and sharing their lists. Wishlist implementation done, right? You’re just getting started. You’ll get much more value from your store’s wishlists if you go beyond relying on customers to keep and share their lists. The next steps are all about making the most of the marketing opportunities wishlists give you. 7. Use wishlist data in your marketing campaigns Use your wishlist admin dashboard to make your marketing more effective. You’ll see how often list owners post. You can see which products are on the most wishlists and promote them. You can personalize email offers to customers based on specific items on their lists. And you can create holiday promotions that offer deals on users’ wishlist items and incentives for sharing lists. You can also send personalized offers of similar items at different price points, along with cross-sell offers. For example, if a customer has a pair of jeans on her list, you can offer cheaper and more expensive jeans from the same brand. You can also offer tops, belts, and shoes that would look good with her wishlist jeans. 8. Test your wishlist-based marketing efforts We’ve talked before on the blog about A/B testing for email marketing, and your wishlist marketing messages should get A/B tested, too. Sometimes the color or placement of a button or a small change to the wording of a subject line can make a significant difference in engagement and conversions. So, test early and often. 9. Monitor your wishlist metrics Over time, you’ll send trends emerge from you wishlist data. How many of your shoppers have wishlists? Is the number of lists rising or flat? Are your customers consistently sharing their lists, or do you need to promote sharing more heavily? Pay special attention to how users are sharing their lists. Is email or social their preferred channel? If it’s social, which platforms do they use the most, and which platforms generate the most traffic to your store from shared lists? This data will help you decide where to focus your marketing efforts. It can also flag areas where you may need to improve UX. For example, if you’re getting a lot of click-throughs from lists shared on Instagram but very few conversions, you need to examine that pathway to see if there are obstacles you can remove to increase sales. 10. Keep optimizing your wishlist program Consumer preferences, technology, and social network popularity are always evolving. That means you need to keep tabs on what’s trending in online retail, in addition to watching your marketing metrics and A/B test results. Keep listening to your customers, too. Any opinions or requests they share about your wishlists when they contact customer service or post on social media are data you can use to build a better wishlist program. Ready to start granting e-commerce wishes? Build your online store with HostGator. Find the post on the HostGator Blog

Data Challenges, Global Expansion Prompt Search for Strategic IT Partner

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Synchronoss, a software company that serves tech, telecom and media companies, was facing a massive data challenge — like 300 terabytes a day massive. That volume comes from the company’s wildly successful mobile content transfer service, which allows millions of subscribers to seamlessly and safely transfer their personal data whenever they upgrade to a new […] The post Data Challenges, Global Expansion Prompt Search for Strategic IT Partner appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Getting the Most out of Facebook for WooCommerce

Liquid Web Official Blog -

Facebook is one of the most-trafficked websites on the planet. Only Google and YouTube see more. With 1.56 billion daily users, Facebook’s user base is impressive, and 31% of the global population are active on the platform at least monthly. No matter how many customers you have, and no matter how many customers you continue to convert, there’s not a single retailer in the world with the global reach of Facebook. What if you could tap into even a small fraction of Facebook’s massive user base? What if you could boost sales and in turn, generate more revenue for your online store by bringing your retail business to Facebook’s vast audience? We’re here to tell you that you can. Here’s how to sell products on Facebook in four easy steps. How Does Facebook for WooCommerce Work? It starts with the Facebook tracking pixel. Adding this small but powerful item to your WooCommerce store gives Facebook Business Manager access to your product catalog, and tracks customer data. Once the two platforms are connected, you’ll add your products, put together your catalog, and set up your Facebook shop. Don’t worry — it’s easier than it sounds. When your store runs on WooCommerce, Facebook integration brings consistency and cohesiveness to your retail experience. Plus, Facebook Business Manager makes this a very simple, painless process; the “work” of the integration is automated. In the end, you are selling products both on your eCommerce site and on your Facebook shop. Subscribe to the Liquid Web eCommerce newsletter for more insight into using social media to promote your WooCommerce store. Benefits of Combining Facebook and eCommerce For eCommerce retailers, there are several benefits to integrating a WooCommerce store with Facebook (beyond adding a new revenue channel). Wider Reach Integrating with Facebook is an opportunity to leverage the vast user base. Even if you convert just a fraction of Facebook’s total usership, it can result in substantially higher revenue for your business. Stronger Customer Relationships Integrating with Facebook can help you to build stronger customer relationships. Facebook is a platform that is designed, first and foremost, for building relationships. So bringing eCommerce to Facebook is the best of both worlds both for you and your customers. Better Audience Data The ability to collect useful, actionable data on the audience data makes Facebook a valuable tool for business owners. Imagine having that level of insight about your customers’ shopping behaviors. How to Sell Products on Facebook Now that we’ve gone over Facebook integration with WooCommerce, let’s move on to the most important question: How do you integrate Facebook with your WooCommerce store? Step 1: Install the Facebook Pixel for WooCommerce Many services offer a tracking pixel, but the most popular one is the Facebook pixel.  The Facebook pixel is very easy to install. Instead of copying and pasting lines of code, Facebook Business Manager generates a WordPress plugin embedded with your unique Facebook pixel. Connect to WooCommerce First, use this link to access your own Facebook Business Manager account. The link will take you to the page for connecting your Facebook account to WooCommerce. Then from the dashboard, click Connect Account either in the upper right-hand or bottom right-hand corner of the window (yes, it appears twice). Next, choose whether you want to set up Pixel & Website Events or a Catalog. You can set up one or both, then click Next. From there, you’ll be asked to select a Facebook pixel. An advertising account can only have one Facebook pixel, so if you’ve already created one, you’ll only have one option to select. Then click Continue. If you haven’t yet created a pixel for your Facebook business account, you’ll need to create it. Facebook provides its own tutorial, but the process is:  Go to Business Settings in your Facebook Business Manager account.  Select your business and click Data Sources.  Select “Pixels” and click the + Add button.  Name your pixel, provide the URL of the website where your tracking pixel will be used (optional), and click Create. Once you’ve selected your tracking pixel, you’ll see an option for advanced audience matching. By default, advanced audience matching is turned on, and we recommend leaving it that way. When you’re ready, click Continue. Next, Facebook will have you download the Facebook pixel extension which you’ll install on your WordPress site as a plugin called Facebook for WooCommerce. Facebook Business Manager even walks you through the process of installing the plugin. From your WordPress dashboard, click the Plugins tab in the sidebar. Click the Upload Plugin button, then click Choose File and navigate to the plugin you downloaded from Facebook Business Manager. Then click Install Now. When you return to Facebook Business Manager, it will verify that it is able to connect to the extension you installed on WordPress. If it doesn’t show as active, return to the Plugins tab in WordPress and confirm the plugin shows as activated. Once it shows as “Active” in Facebook Business Manager, click Continue. At that point, the process of installing the Facebook pixel on your WooCommerce site is complete. The next step in integrating Facebook with WooCommerce is to begin testing that the pixel is working. Step 2: Test Your Store The next step is to do some testing. This is important because if the tracking pixel isn’t tracking correctly, this integration process won’t work the way it should. After the final step to installing the Facebook pixel, click the Test Events in Events Manager button. You’ll be taken to a page in Facebook Business Manager that asks for the URL to your eCommerce store. Type your URL and click Open Window. This will take you to your eCommerce store. The idea is for you to interact with your store — e.g., navigate between pages, browse your product catalog, submit your contact info in a form, add products to your shopping cart — so Facebook Business Manager can make sure the pixel is tracking these interactions. Once you’ve tested your site, return to Facebook Business Manager to see whether the pixel is having any trouble tracking engagement. Any tracking events the pixel had trouble tracking will be indicated with an orange icon. If you click to expand the error, it’ll actually show you what you can do to fix it. Example: As you can see in the screenshot above, adding one of Secret Aardvark’s products to the shopping cart produces an error. According to the explanation for the error, this is happening because Secret Aardvark’s product catalog hasn’t yet been paired with the Facebook pixel (creating a product catalog was one of the two options available at the start of Step 1). So if you were the owner of Secret Aardvark, you could fix this error by pairing your Facebook pixel with your product catalog. Step 3: Create a Catalog By this point, you’ve installed the Facebook pixel and tested the pixel to make sure it’s working. The next step is to import your product catalog into Facebook by creating a catalog in Facebook Business Manager. In Facebook Business Manager, navigate to Settings > Catalogs, then click Create New Catalog. catalogs > configure, click the product data sources tab to begin adding products to your catalog.” width=”700″ height=”551″> Under the Product Data Sources tab, click the blue Add Products button. Since the Facebook tracking pixel is already installed, select the third option: “Connect Facebook Pixels.” Then click Next. Adding Metadata to Your Products As you add products to your catalog, Facebook Business Manager scans them for metadata. Metadata is hidden information associated with the products on your eCommerce store. Though it’s invisible to users and visitors to your store, Facebook Business Manager can scan the metadata to get descriptions, photos, categories, and other key details about your products. Then this metadata is used to populate your catalog automatically, saving you from having to input all those products manually. There are three main ways to add metadata to products on your eCommerce store. You can either use Open Graph,, or a WordPress plugin.  Using either Open Graph and requires adding your metadata to the header of your site or to every product page. If you’re not comfortable going that route, a WordPress plugin like Yoast can do much of the heavy lifting for you. But ultimately, any of these would work so choose the one that’s most comfortable for you. Organizing Your Catalog When your product metadata is in place, Facebook Business Manager will import products from your eCommerce store for you. From there, we recommend creating product sets to introduce some organization to your catalog. You’ll use product sets to control what products appear in your shop and when they appear, which make for better customer experience. From your product catalog, locate the + Create Product Set button and click it. In the Create Product Set window, give the set a name. Then you can start customizing rules for the product set. In the screenshot above, you can see that this “Sauces” product set collects all the hot sauces in Secret Aardvark’s catalog. To achieve this, Secret Aardvark selected “Product Type” >> “is any of these” >> “sauces” which encompasses 19 different products. Most importantly, Secret Aardvark can now create a Facebook Ads campaign specifically for hot sauces. Once you’re done customizing the rules, click Create to finalize your product set. Step 4: Set up Your Facebook/Instagram Shop Now you’re ready to set up a shop on Facebook and Instagram. In effect, this step is really what brings your eCommerce to your social media accounts. It’s worth noting, though, that only users in the U.S. can buy from your Facebook shop. Before you get started, there are a few things you’ll need: A Stripe account The federal tax ID number for your business The address for your business A bank account Since Facebook also owns Instagram, Facebook Business Manager gives you the ability to set up a shop on Facebook, Instagram, or both. We’ll be covering the process for setting up a Facebook shop although the process is largely the same for Instagram. The first step in creating your Facebook shop is to provide the basic information for your business, including the currency you use, a physical business address (which is necessary even if your retail store is eCommerce only), and a business email. Then click Next. From there, continue to follow the prompts and connect your bank and Stripe accounts to complete the process. Once you’re finished, your followers will be able to access your Facebook shop under the Shop tab of the Facebook page for your eCommerce business. Make Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting Part of Your Social eCommerce Strategy As eCommerce becomes the increasingly dominant part of retail, it’s going to be crucial for online retailers to have great, reliable WooCommerce stores. That’s where Liquid Web can help. Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting provides everything you need today, and tomorrow, to run a highly scalable eCommerce business. From powerful cart abandonment technology to proprietary performance testing to ensure that your eCommerce store is always up to the task, Liquid Web makes building and managing an online storefront a breeze. And with our growing library of useful guides and tutorials, you’ll be able to master dropshipping, customer data analysis techniques, loyalty programs, and much more. To learn more about Liquid Web Managed WooCommerce Hosting, visit our product page today. And if you already use Liquid Web as your hosting provider, make sure you bookmark the Liquid Web blog which publishes handy resources regularly. The post Getting the Most out of Facebook for WooCommerce appeared first on Liquid Web.

How to Schedule Instagram Posts on a Desktop Without Third-Party Tools

Social Media Examiner -

Ever wish you could post to Instagram directly from your desktop instead of your mobile device? Did you know Instagram is rolling out this functionality? In this article, you’ll learn how to schedule and publish posts to Instagram via your desktop without any third-party apps. How to Access Creator Studio for Instagram Instagram still hasn’t […] The post How to Schedule Instagram Posts on a Desktop Without Third-Party Tools appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

Changes Coming From Instagram: What Marketers Need to Know

Social Media Examiner -

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore what marketers need to know about changes coming from Instagram and the expanded rollout of Facebook’s search […] The post Changes Coming From Instagram: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.


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