5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Stop Marketing Efforts During COVID-19

Business Advice, E-Commerce No Comment

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing companies to make tough decisions on how to keep their business afloat.

Some might think of cutting down marketing budgets or even stopping marketing efforts. But, we think otherwise. You should not stop interacting with your customers and instead, take advantage of marketing strategies during this time for more people to notice your business.

We have compiled some of the tips why you shouldn’t stop your marketing efforts amidst a pandemic. Check them out below!


1. Search Engine Marketing Can Produce Cash

During economic downtimes, cash is king.

Those that have the cash, or cash flow, to push through the hard times are the businesses that survive.

The only marketing technique that produces a better ROI than search engine marketing is an opt-in email list.

Opt-in email lists don’t grow on trees.

They must be created by generating demand – and search engine marketing is one of the best ways to create a profitable opt-in email list.

when people stay home, my bet is they are going to be searching more rather than less.

By putting your brand in front of searchers, you make the cut when the buying decision is made.

Even if overall sales of your product or service go down because of the economy or the pandemic, you can offset some of your losses by investing in a comprehensive search engine marketing program that puts you in front of those that are still in a buying frame of mind.


2. People will search for products/services that aren’t readily available

With many cities across the globe going on complete lockdown, there’s already a scarcity of products. People have no option other than to buy these products online. And when these goods aren’t available online, buyers will look for alternatives. Being on search results that people are searching for can mean a lot to your business. It’s time to leverage on the scarcity of specific items, work on ranking for those items and their alternatives, and build link building campaigns around them. And if you happen to sell any of the items that are in demand and not readily available, its time to make more profit.


3. People Still Need Products & Services

Despite what some of the folks in my Facebook feed seem to think, the world is not coming to an end.

Humans still need products and services.

And as I’ve already stated, search engine marketing, both paid and organic, is the best way to reach consumers with buying intent.

I’m not saying that search engine marketing is always a quick fix – but you can get a Google Ads campaign up and running in a few hours or less.

When the CEO starts panicking, suggesting a search engine marketing campaign may be the best way to calm them down for a bit.

Especially if you haven’t been doing search engine marketing in the past.


4. To stay ahead of the competition

Many businesses are thinking of either pausing their SEO campaigns or lowering the budget. On the contrary, this is the time to stand out. Stay connected with your audience, and they will love you more than your competitors. This is the right time to go aggressive with your SEO strategies.


5. For better brand positioning

Businesses can ramp up their SEO efforts to position their brand in a better way. Though the global economy is going through a phase of slowdown, people are spending a lot of time on the web. Look at this as an opportunity to build rapport with potential customers and penetrate new markets. Think of different ways to reach out to the target audience. You can run ad campaigns or come up with interesting posts to engage consumers. All these efforts will add to your branding strategy.

If you are thinking that SEO can save your website that is practically not generating any revenue during the Coronavirus crisis, you are wrong. It can, however, make you prepare better for tomorrow. We know that things will eventually normalize, and there would no longer be a threat to human lives by a virus. This is the time when people will come out of their homes, get back to routine, and probably travel. Having a well-optimized website that ranks for high-volume keywords would mean more business coming in.

So I encourage all businesses to either continue or start aggressive search engine marketing efforts.

Search engine marketing is the most effective way to market your business in downtimes.

We saw this to be the case in 2009, and things haven’t changed that much.

So get started today.

You’ll thank me tomorrow.

Google Answers Webmaster SEO Questions

Business Advice, SEO Tips No Comment

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

We think we know SEO, until the real experts, in charge of the algorithm, tell us otherwise.

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller answers important SEO questions during various sessions of Webmaster Central hangout and we’ve compiled some of them for you to read.

Check them out below.

Is it acceptable for authors to link to their guest posts?

Webmaster Question:

At the bottom of the home page of my website I have a section called ‘in the media’ where I link back to these guest posts.

Currently these are follow links. Does this harm my SEO?

What’s the best practice for linking back to guest posts in order to not harm SEO?


To answer this question, Mueller started off by reminding us that guest posting is an unnatural form of link building.

In general, with guest posts, you’re the one placing the link essentially on another site.
So, in general, that would be considered an unnatural link. So I would recommend using nofollow for that.

However, the webmaster who submitted this question mentioned submitting roughly one guest post every other month. Mueller said this is unlikely to trigger any kind of unnatural linking penalty.

I think at the scale where you’re doing this at the moment where it’s like, I don’t know, once every couple of months, I don’t think anyone from the webspam team would look at that and say “oh this site is maliciously abusing these guest posts links…”

I don’t think that’s something you urgently need to worry about. But, in general, for guest posts you should use nofollow links.


With regards to linking back to that site, to kind of highlight where your content is shown, you can do that however you want.

So you can use nofollow links if you want, but I think a normal followed link is also perfectly fine for that.

Since you’re essentially showing kind of where all of your content is being published, and that’s kind of cool.


Mueller also pointed out that guest posting should be seen as a way to grow your audience and not as an SEO tactic.

With regards to SEO, I think at the scale where you’re doing it you probably wouldn’t see any advantage or disadvantage.

With regards to building a bigger audience for your website, that might be a good thing to kind of talk about related topics on other websites and maybe interest some users into visiting your site as well.

So, from my point of view, that sounds kind of good.

But purely from an SEO point of view I don’t think you’re doing a lot in a positive or negative direction there.

How Manual Reviews are Handled

The first question the publisher asked was about how much time the Googler’s spend analyzing each reconsideration request.

Mueller answered:

“Because these are manual reviews, we can spend a little bit more time but it’s also the web is big and we have a limited time so what usually happens is someone will look at the bigger picture of the website and try to determine if there’s really a strong pattern of unnatural issues here which could be all kinds of things.

With links it’s always a bit tricky. That’s something where the manual reviewer has to double-check a little bit more and see, is this something that probably the website did by themselves, or is this something maybe a competitor did or someone is trying to harm them… by doing these links.

And if we can recognize that it’s not in their control we’ll try to find a way to just ignore those links.

But they do spend a little bit more time to look at the website as well.”

Google’s Manual Review Team

John Mueller’s answer:

We do have multiple people in multiple locations for multiple languages… just because sometimes websites are hard to understand in different languages and just looking at kind of the number of links makes it really hard to determine is this kind of unnatural or is this just… maybe one language that they don’t speak and all of the links look like this because that’s a very common word… I don’t know.

So that’s something where we do have multiple teams in different locations that on the one hand that makes it a little bit fairer with regard to international websites.

But that also means for some languages in some locations we might not have as many people as for other locations. So that sometimes slows things down with the reconsideration requests.

The publisher asked if how fast a publisher responds to a manual action makes a difference, as he was told to not respond too fast.

Mueller responded:

“No. That’s something where if we send the manual action and you fix it within half an hour that’s fine.

I think, especially with links it’s more important that you really clean up the bigger picture and sometimes that does take a bit more time.

But there are different issues which you can just fix if you have a plugin on your website that causes the problem then you can just remove that plugin and suddenly everything is fixed.”

Other Questions Answered

About Priority Queues:


Are there Priority Queues for Reconsideration Requests?

John Mueller’s answer:

“No. I don’t think so.”

Second Looks at Websites

This question is about whether manual reviewers ever return to take a second look at a site after it’s been reviewed.


“Does the team voluntarily wait a longer time before taking another look at the website?”

Mueller’s answer:


The one thing that can happen is, if we see that a website goes back and forth then that’s something where the web spam team will say okay you’re just wasting our time.

Like, if you fix the problem, do the reconsideration request and then a couple weeks later you have the same problem again then like a little back and forth and the web spam team will say okay, we will take a look in a couple of months when you decided what you want to do.”

Are Second Looks Scheduled?

The publisher then asked if Google scheduled websites for follow up reviews after they’ve been cleared of a manual action.

Mueller responded:

No. If it’s fixed it’s fixed. There’s nothing that hangs around.


Source: Search Engine Journal

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on SEO [Infographic]

Business Advice, SEO Tips, What's New No Comment

Image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely made a huge impact on businesses and livelihoods to all countries all around the world. Panic buying, massive employee layoffs and change of work environment are just some of the things that have been happening.

Search marketing isn’t spared to these changes. This infographic shows us how the current pandemic has been affecting search marketing.

■ There has been an increase in popularity for e-commerce stores that sell essentials such as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, face masks, etc.

■ There is a significant surge in traffic to news sites reporting about coronavirus (more specifically about the number of cases and mortality).

■ People have been searching more about health and wellness information and probably looking for ways on how to combat coronavirus and how to strengthen the immune system. People are also looking more into ways of staying fit while in lockdown.

■ There is also an increase in search for food-related terms as well as recipes.

■ Travel and leisure are the most affected as it has seen a decline of -46% in searches.

The infographic also highlighted some SEO and SEM tips that you can do during this pandemic. Check them out below.

Infographic Source: Your Escape from 9 to 5



Coronavirus Impact on SEO and Businesses

Business Advice No Comment

With the current situation in the world – the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns on countries and businesses closing, we cannot help but think where does Search Engine Marketing stand on these trying times. Are we headed for a downfall? Or is this pandemic we can take advantage of?

Shop From Home Trend

Shopping from home is the trend nowadays. People are reluctant to leave their homes to shop and so they resort to buying things online. This is something businesses can take advantage of. Businesses with online stores are thriving in this situation and they might not see the same impact as physical stores unless the situation becomes too severe.

However, the strict locked down across the nations poses a challenge in online shopping since the supply chain has been already disturbed. On-time product delivery is one of the biggest concerns for the e-commerce industry during this pandemic.

Conference and Events Cancellations

Due to COVID-19, all the major marketing events including Rakuten Advertising’s DealMaker London event that had been scheduled for April 1, 2020, has been canceled. Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit and Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, and more have been called off. 

Google’s CloudNext conference in San Francisco scheduled for April 6, 2020, has also been canceled. Google decided to stream it instead.

Product Shortages

Coronavirus shortages are affecting everything lately and customers are having to go extra lengths to get basics, like milk. 

Oakland, CA is a port of entry for Chinese goods. News reports state that almost 20% of ships scheduled to unload in Oakland have canceled.

“We predict that the peak of the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains will occur in mid-March, forcing thousands of companies to throttle down or temporarily shut assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe.

The most vulnerable companies are those which rely heavily or solely on factories in China for parts and materials. The activity of Chinese manufacturing plants has fallen in the past month and is expected to remain depressed for months.” – Harvard Business Review

The situation is similar in Los Angeles, CA ports where there are over 25% cancellations according to the Wall Street Journal.

At some point, this may affect merchants who sell Chinese products (and their affiliates) as well as affiliates and drop shippers who depend on sales of Chinese made goods on Amazon.

Coronavirus Impact on SEO & SEO Consulting

Companies turn to SEO to rank number one in search engines because this means more sales. 

But what is the use of being number one if you have no sales? 

This hugely affects search engine marketing because clients dropped off because they could no longer afford to pay for SEO consulting.

Although some industries managed to keep earning, some may have to discount fees to hang onto long term clients whose earnings fell due to the recession.

“Amid the chaos, one in twenty marketers claim to be profiting from the disruption by taking advantage of new avenues of investment opened up by alternate marketing channels. This is reflected in the fact that while 41% of marketers have adjusted plans as a result of disruption and delays, 59% are carrying on regardless.

Inevitably the virus is being felt most keenly on physical events and print, with 75% and 45% reducing spend respectively, with 44% also reducing content spend. On the flip side video (31%), paid ads (31%) and broadcast (28%) are all expected to ride the crest of a new digital boom.” – Coronavirus & Marketing Statistics 2020, WYZOWL


When this Pandemic will end is still unknown. We occupy an uncertain moment in time and it is best to think of ways to prepare.


Google Coronavirus Info Site Launched

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google coronavirus info siteLast Saturday, Google launched a website dedicated to providing information to people about coronavirus, in addition to other measures.

Google’s website — google.com/covid19 according to an announcement on Twitter, is designed to provide a wider range of information such as prevention tips, a map of areas affected by COVID-19, links to local health agencies and other resources.

The Google Coronavirus Info Site will be available in more languages in the “coming days” as Google said.

“We are fully aligned and continue to work with the US Government to contain the spread of COVID-19, inform citizens, and protect the health of our communities… Google is partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information.“

“As coronavirus becomes a challenge in more communities and as authorities around the world develop new guidance and tools to address the pandemic, we’ll continue to find more opportunities to connect people with key information to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe,” Google’s Emily Moxley said in a blog post.

A Definitive Guide To SEO Friendly URL

SEO Tips No Comment
seo friendly url

Image by skylarvision from Pixabay

First impressions count.

And when it comes to your website, your URLs are often the first thing Google and customers will see.

URLs are also the building blocks of an effective site hierarchy, passing equity through your domain and directing users to their desired destinations.

They can be tricky to correct if you don’t plan ahead, as you can end up with endless redirect loops. Neither Google nor your site visitors will appreciate those.

So they are worth getting right. But getting an SEO Friendly URL structure right involves a complex blend of usability and accessibility factors, along with some good old-fashioned SEO.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some rules we can all follow to get the most out of our URLs and set our sites up for future SEO success.


Use Your Keywords

Every time you launch a page on your domain, it should have a purpose. Whether transactional, informational, or administrative, its reason for existence should be clear at the outset.

You’ll want this page to be discovered by the right people (and crawlers), so you will incorporate some keyword research and include the relevant terms. The most descriptive of these — the term that gets to the nub of what this page is about — should be included in the URL, close to the root domain.


Examples of good and bad URLs

Here’s an example of a good URL:



and here’s an example of a bad URL:



Don’t stuff URLs full of keywords

Stuffing URLs full of keywords hurts readability and is a clear sign of over-optimization, so avoid doing this. It doesn’t add any value, and it may even hurt your SEO performance.


Keep URLs short

Visitors and search engines both prefer short URLs, so keep URLs short. Use as few directories as possible, and if you can use just one, do so.

But short URLs are a technique, not the goal. Your goal is readable and logical URLs.


Keep URLs consistent

You need to choose one preferred way to build up the URLs on your website and stick to it. This preferred way of structuring your URLs is called your URL structure. But what preferences can you choose from? In order to answer that question, let’s look at the anatomy of a URL.


Protocol: HTTP or HTTPs

Choose whether or not to serve your URLs over a secure connection, using the HTTPs protocol.

It’s recommended to serve your URLs over HTTPs. If you’re still making the switch from HTTP to HTTPs, make sure to 301-redirect requests for the HTTP variant of URLs to the HTTPs variant of URLs. And vice versa.


Subdomain or no subdomain

Choose whether or not you’ll use the www subdomain.

If you choose to use www, make sure to 301-redirect requests for URLs without the www subdomain to the URL variant with www. And vice versa.


Domain name

The domain name consists of a name and an extension: a Top Level Domain (TLD).

If you’re in the position to choose a new domain, choose one that’s short and easy to remember.


Directories in URLs

While it’s important to keep URLs as short as possible, it’s also recommended to group related URLs together on your website using directories. Directories can become useful for websites with even as few as 50 pages.

Are you having trouble organizing your URLs using only one level of directories because of the size of your website? You can use sub-directories if that helps bring back order but keep the amount of directories per URL as low as possible.

Choose short directory names, to keep your URLs as short as possible.


Here’s an example of good directory usage:



and here’s an example of bad usage:



Parameters in URLs

Parameters in URLs are often used to pass on data. As mentioned earlier, avoid using parameters in URLs as much as you can. These parameters don’t provide context to visitors or to Google.


Fragments in URLs to jump to a section

Fragments are used in URLs to be able to jump to a specific section within a page.

An example of a URL with a fragment: https://www.example.com/about/team/#king-kevin

# is the fragment and king-kevin is the fragment identifier in this example.


Relative URL? Absolute URL? What’s that?

Relative URLs are URLs that don’t reference the protocol, subdomain, and domain. For example: /about/team/

Absolute URLs are URLs that reference the full URL, including protocol, subdomain, and domain. For example: https://www.example.com/about/team/

When linking to pages within your own website, it’s recommended to use relative URLs, for two reasons:

When you change domain names, you don’t have to change all your links. They’ll keep working.

If you’re using a test environment with the same content as your production environment, relative URLs ensure the test environment is fully functioning.

Please note, however, that it’s not recommended to use relative URLs in canonical URLs.



URLs play an important role in your SEO performance. Choose URLs that are descriptive, readable, and short. Be consistent with the URLs on your website, and you’ll reap benefits.

Tips to Get More Reviews for Your Local Business

Business Advice, Uncategorized No Comment

Image by mcmurryjulie from Pixabay

Do you know that 88% of online shoppers trust online reviews that same way they rely on personal recommendations? Moreover, 90% of consumers would read online reviews before making a buying decision. That is why Google Reviews is essential to the success of your business; it helps convert business prospects to customers. And most importantly, reviews are now an integral factor in the Google Search Algorithm.

Search engines use online reviews to rank websites for local searches. Although reviews are not the only factor that enhances ranking, it does pull a lot of weight. So, if you want your business to gain visibility in the search engines, you should take Google Reviews seriously.

How do you rack up enough reviews to impress the search engine giants? Well, there are no magic buttons here. It requires a systematic approach; you need to be proactive and focus on inspiring your customers to post great reviews for your business.

Follow these tips below to help build impressive Google Reviews.

Focus on Excellent Customer Experience. Your customers must be delighted with your service to be inspired to leave positive reviews for your business.  So, make sure you deliver a service that would earn you the great reviews that you want. In summary, the delivery of outstanding customer service would bring five-star reviews to your business naturally.

Solicit for Google Reviews Directly. One of the best methods to get a review is to ask the customers directly. However, make sure the customer is absolutely satisfied with your service. When you are having a conversation with a contented customer, simply ask such a customer to write a review, and you’ll likely get a great one.

Use Innovative Ways to Solicit Reviews. A recent Local Customer Review Survey shows that seven out of ten customers will write a review when you solicit directly. Only a few will take the initiative to leave a business review without you asking, while the rest would not. That is why it is essential to make it a habit to request reviews. However, you have to be innovative with your approach.

For instance, you can request a Google Review during a business transaction. In your email, thank the customer for his/her patronage. Let the customer know the importance of feedback to your business. After that, tell the customer you’ll appreciate a review and leave a link to your business on Google Reviews.

Follow Up on Your Request for Reviews. Not all customers will leave a review the first time you asked. The fellow might be busy or may have forgotten. So, it will be smart to send a reminder to such customers using a follow-up email template.

It is crucial not to sound too pushy. So, limit the follow-up request to a maximum of three. You can send messages to the customer every week or fortnightly. Once you hit your max with a customer, stop sending such messages. Let’s be practical, some people will never leave a review no matter how many times you ask.  However, maintaining consistent contact with your customers will keep your business fresh in the customer’s mind and increase loyalty.

Give Out “Leave Us a Review” Cards. You can make a special card that has a shortened link to your Google Review page. This approach is common with local contractors and service companies, but you can adapt it to your business as well.  If you do not fancy printing cards, you can choose to use a digital version of the card. You can outsource the design on any freelance site or take a DIY route by using tools such as Canva. Make sure the card is branded for your business to make it look professional.

Respond to Reviews. It is good practice to respond to reviews, whether it’s a positive one or negative. This article on strategies for responding to negative reviews teaches you genuine and sustainable ways of building your online reputation.

Here is a brief outline for responding to negative reviews.

  • Address the issue raised.
  • Tender an unreserved apology, even if it’s not your company’s fault.
  • Do your best to resolve the issue privately.

This Google Publication proves that Google acknowledges companies that respond to reviews.

Add Google Review Link to your Customer Surveys. The feedback from customers is an essential tool for improving your services. That is why it is essential to send out a survey poll to your customers occasionally. Adding a link to your business on Google Review is an excellent addition to your customer survey routine. You’ll likely have a high positive response.

Do You Need A Little Help with Reviews?

The procedure of creating a steady flow of great reviews for your business is easier said than done. An easier approach is to allow professionals to handle all the hassles of review generation while you focus on providing excellent services.

Get in touch to learn about our digital services that create a steady pipeline of leads and sales for your business.


or call us (888) 766-3315


70% of Websites Has Been Moved to Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

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Google Mobile-First Indexing

Image from: Searchenginejournal.com

Back in 2016, Google has first announced about experimenting with mobile-first indexing. Since then, a lot of information about this has been published. Throughout the years, more and more information has been given to us by Google especially on how the mobile-first indexing works and what people can do to prepare for it.

Just recently, Google confirmed that 70% of sites have already made the shift to mobile-first indexing. The remaining 30% will be moved by September at the latest, as Google says that’s when all sites will be officially switched over.

How do I know if my website has been moved to mobile-first indexing?

A sign that your site has been moved is an increase in Googlebot’s crawling, particularly from mobile smartphones user end.

You can also check in Google Search Console also show on the settings page as well as in the URL inspection tool a website’s mobile-first indexing status.

Some things to watch out for when optimizing:

  1. On-page content is the same on mobile and desktop versions
  2. Meta data is the same on both versions
  3. Structured data is the same on both version

Google’s URL testing tool allows site owners to easily check both the desktop and mobile versions of a page. So you can ensure Google (and visitors) can see identical content on desktop and mobile.

Google specifically recommends not using separate mobile URLs (also known as “m-dot”) because they can cause “issues and confusion” for search engines and users. The standard for mobile-first indexing is responsive web design.

Source: Google, Search Engine Journal

These 8 WordPress Plugins are Exploited by Hackers

Developers, Wordpress No Comment

According to reports, 35% of the websites in the world run in the WordPress CMS. Due to its popularity, it is also subject to many attacks. A new report has seen a growing number of attacks on WordPress sites that are all taking advantage of security flaws in some of the popular plugins.

Many of these attacks against WordPress sites involve hackers trying to hijack websites by targeting recently-patched plugins.

In other instances, attackers have been able to uncover zero-day exploits in various plugins. This applies to bugs that are unknown to the plugin creator, suggesting that no patch may be available.

Below is a list of plugins identified as being part of this recent string of attacks.

If you are using any of these plugins on your WordPress website, it is recommended that you update them immediately and keep an eye on updating them year-round.

Duplicator (1 million+ installs)

Duplicator is a plugin that lets site owners export the content of their sites. A bug was patched in version 1.3.28 that allowed attackers to export site contents, including database credentials.

ThemeGrill Demo Importer (200,000 installs)

A bug in this plugin, which comes with themes sold by ThemeGrill, allowed attackers to wipe sites and take over the admin account. This bug was patched in version 1.6.3.

Profile Builder Plugin (65,000 installs)

A bug in the free and paid versions of this plugin allowed hackers to register unauthorized admin accounts. This bug was patched on February 10th.

Flexible Checkout Fields for WooCommerce (20,000 installs)

A zero-day exploit in this plugin allowed attackers to inject XSS payloads, which could then be triggered in the dashboard of a logged-in administrator. Attackers used the XSS payloads to create rogue admin accounts.

Attacks began on February 26. A patch has since been issued.

ThemeREX Addons

A zero-day exploit in this plugin, that comes with all ThemeREX commercial themes, allowed attackers to create rogue admin accounts.

Attacks began on February 18. No patch has been issued for this bug, so site owners are advised to remove the plugin as soon as possible.

Async JavaScript (100K installs)

10Web Map Builder for Google Maps (20k installs)

Modern Events Calendar Lite (40k installs)

Three similar zero-day exploits were discovered in these plugins. Patches are available for each of them.

Source: ZDNetSearch Engine Journal