Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

Suzanne McBride

The Cowbell Agency

Is your website under attack (or can it be?)

The average website is Cyber Attacked 44 times per day!

With the recent cyber-attacks fresh on everyone’s minds, now is a good time to think about the security of your website. Hackers are far more sophisticated, automated and organized these days. They root out vulnerabilities in web servers and share them with the expanding hacker universe. What’s worse is that hacked websites can be blacklisted by Google as dangerous and go dark with online searches. To battle this, we offer a couple of services that can help ease your mind.

First, you have an SSL on your site. Perfect! But that’s the minimum that should be done. But what else can be done?

Monthly Website Maintenance:

Cowbell Agency will perform monthly maintenance on your site, such as keeping plugins updated, scan for malware, performance tests, site backups, among other services. Outdated plugins can not only bring your site down, but worse–make it vulnerable for cyber-attacks.  Almost 2/3’s of WordPress website vulnerabilities are caused by out of date or sketchy plugins/themes. Remember, just like you take your car in for maintenance, websites require the same love and attention as your car. 

Security/Firewall Protection

We work with GoDaddy with their Website Security Program. The firewall blocks attacks on the site while the malware scanner searches your site for malicious content and alerts you if any are found.

Contact us if you are interested in a quote or have any questions.

info@cowbellagency.com

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Google’s Core Web Vitals Update

Owen Yorio

The Cowbell Agency

This month, Google will be releasing a new update to how they rank pages in SERPs (search engine results pages). Among many other ranking factors, Core Web Vitals will now be included in determining page rank. But what are core web vitals, and how will this change how pages are ranking now? To better understand this update, we should break down what Core Web Vitals are, and the metrics on which we focus.

Core Web Vitals (as determined by Google) are three page speed metrics that can measure user experience on a given website. Those three page speed metrics are: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These three metrics can be attributed to a page’s load speed, user interactivity, and visual stability respectively. Let’s look at each one:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – How long it takes to load a full viewport of a page. This should be below 2.5 seconds.

First Input Delay (FID) – How long before a user on a page can interact with elements on it. This should stay below 100 ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – A value attributed to how much elements on a page move while others are loading. This should stay below a factor of 0.1.

What Does This All Mean?

Google has done their research, and has seen that users prefer sites that load faster and are easier to use. Pretty simple, but accommodating these changes can become laborsome. Luckily there are tools to measure these factors like LightHouse and PageSpeed Insights. There is also a new section in Google Search Console dedicated to Core Web Vitals, so site owners can hear back from Google exactly what they think needs to be improved on individual sites.

Overall this change is designed to force site owners to design with the user’s experience in mind, which is a great thing. It is not difficult to find sites that are slow, unresponsive, or just not user friendly. If you’re worried about how your page ranking will be affected with this coming update, email us, or give us a call here at the Cowbell Agency.

Understanding and Measuring the ROI of SEO

Understanding and Measuring the ROI of SEO

Understanding and Measuring the ROI of SEO

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

Communicating the true ROI of programs like SEO can sometimes be difficult. I recently completed a White Paper that looked at several different key metrics that can easily be measured in real-world dollars, which then allow an easy calculation based on the investment in SEO activity.

The program used for this study was a client that recently completed the first four months of an ongoing SEO program.  The strategy and tactics were developed by myself and colleague Owen Yorio (fast becoming a young SEO Jedi).  The resulting benefits could be measured both in monthly organic search traffic, annual organic search traffic, non-branded organic search traffic, and closing those gaps with their competitors.

If that sounded at all confusing (because you have a life), it probably won’t be after you’ve read.

The ROI of this program ranged from 3X to nearly 10X

Download White Paper: Understanding the ROI of SEO

Read on LinkedIn

 

93% of all online interactions start with a search engine

93% of all online interactions start with a search engine

93% of all online interactions start with a search engine

Olivia McDonald

The Cowbell Agency

Did you know? 

93% of all online interactions start with a search engine.

We’ll wait while you pick your jaw off the floor because that’s a pretty staggering statistic. Now you’re probably wondering what this means for you and your business. Well, it means your SEO game needs to be on point to ensure you are ranking for relevant searches so the right people are finding your business online. Before we get into how Cowbell can help, let’s answer the number one question you probably have right now.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. To put it as simply as possible, SEO is the process of increasing the number of visitors to your website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. Optimizations can be as simple as applying a focus keyword to each webpage on your website along with SEO titles and meta descriptions, or it can be as complex as fixing technical issues that could be slowing down your website and affecting the user experience.

It’s complicated, y’all.

And you are busy actually running your business so you don’t have the time to fix all the issues on your own. But it’s extremely important that all issues are resolved so we recommend procuring the SEO services of a highly skilled digital marketing agency, such as Cowbell Agency.

Why choose Cowbell Agency?

We offer world-class global and local SEO programs. We would determine which program your company would be best suited for by assessing your needs and the scope of your clientele. From there, we would run a website audit to identify and fix all the issues that negatively impact your site’s search performance, like missing heading tags, duplicate content, broken links, and the list goes on and on. It’s all the things that, believe us, are killing your search performance. 

There are many other aspects that are included in both the local and global SEO programs, but we won’t bore you with all the nerdy details. Just know that you can count on us to provide you with results you can see and believe. Our SEO reports are honest and insightful. You’ll see exactly where you stand every step of the way.

So are you ready?

Contact us today for a free web consultation and let us take your business to new heights. Be seen. Be heard. Be more. With Cowbell.

Statistic source: Forbes, “How To Optimize Your SEO Results Through Content Creation”

A cool content marketing overview to help you get things started

A cool content marketing overview to help you get things started

A cool content marketing overview to help you get things started

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

Although it is a couple of years dated now, this presentation posted in 2016 is a good starting point for understanding the type of content that should be part of your content marketing program. 

https://www.slideshare.net/CMI/content-marketing-playbook-and-ideas

 

How to write great SCHEMA markup to optimize your site for local search

How to write great SCHEMA markup to optimize your site for local search

How to write great SCHEMA markup to optimize your site for local search

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

Use schema.0rg to improve your SEO and capitalize on the mistakes of others

According to all the trial and error testing being conducted by SEO marketers and consulting companies, Schema Structured Markup is vital for any company. However, recent data shows that over 50% of Fortune 500 companies do not use it. Their loss should be your SEO gain.

In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the best practices for adding structured Schema.org markup. We’ll discuss:

  1. which format to use,
  2. what information to provide
  3. why you provide that information, and finally,
  4. some tips and tricks to put you ahead of your competitors

All companies should add schema.org “organization” markup to their web sites

It is vital to add schema structured markup to your company “About” or Home page. With this markup, you are confirming to a machine what it has almost certainly correctly understood concerning who you are and what you do. Here is Google’s official stance.

Do we really need schema markup?

I hear your question. You believe that the search engine crawlers have gotten so sophisticated, and my site’s content makes it SO abundantly clear who and what I am. But never forget that all those bots and crawlers are still just machines. And, if there is one thing the search engines love is information in a structured language. They don’t actually look at your page, they just read code.

While it may not be the most important thing you do for your SEO, it isn’t trivial or something you should forget to take care of.

In search engine’s structured language Google wants to:

  1. Confirm your type of business, name, your address, your social media accounts, your official website
  2. Identify what image, logo, description you want them to show when they mention you (and more often than not, they will use what you provide).
  3. Provide proof of who you are, and create credibility through third party confirmation in the “sameAs” field (Crunchbase, Wikipedia, etc.).

There is no reason not to help them, especially as they specifically ask you to.

What format should I use?

Use JavaScript notation (JSON-LD) rather than embedding the markup into your HTML. The most important reason is because Google recommends it (why should not listen to them when they are trying to help) and it will be much easier to maintain.

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Google’s recommendation is JSON-LD

You can place the JSON-LD markup anywhere in the page. In fact, it doesn’t even have to physically reside on your site’s pages. Google and Bing can also read your markup if it is in an external file that loads after  your page has loaded. This solution might make managing schema data easier for really large websites.

Most websites put it in the <head> section. If your CMS isn’t able to do that, you can put the markup in the body of the content or the footer.

Here’s the nitty-gritty: the correct markup for a company

Come on. Don’t be afraid. Let’s look at some code in Google’s handy Structured Data Testing Tool…

The above is a bare minimum of content that should be in your Schema markup.

  • The type of company
  • The company name
  • Official website
  • Address
  • The official logo
  • The preferred description
  • The social accounts
  • The unique identifying URL

Are there other values for : “@type”: “Corporation”?

Yes. Quite a few. While the most general is “Organization”, the subtype to choose from under Organization include:

  • Airline
  • Corporation
  • Education Organization
  • Professional Service
  • Medical Organization
  • NGO
  • Sports Organization
  • Performing Group

The rule of thumb is that you should use the most specific value possible to best define the essence of who you are. Companies should use Corporation and not the more general Organization. Most Local Businesses will find a category that suits. Ideally, you should choose the same category you have in Google My Business. Choose the closest match. There are well over 100, so you can get pretty close. Here are a few examples:

If you want to see examples of good Schema markup, I recommend you go straight to the authority on what search engines want: Google. If you go to https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool you will see a dialog box to enter the URL of a website.

You simply enter a URL and click “RUN TEST.” We’ll use a site that we know will have a well written Schema markup: schemamap.com.

The tool looks at the code of their site and returns what schema data they find. You’ll notice that their “Organization” actually has two errors in code.

But, if you click on the button labeled “Organization” you’ll see the schema data the google crawler actually sees.

Just look at all the data about this organization the search crawler actually sees. And this data is attached to every page of their website, without having to find ways to fit into the content of each page. Is it as valuable as the content on the page? No. But that’s not the beauty. A lot of this data would be awkward in content. It allows you to narrow the focus on individual pages. If this data were actually in the content, it would be seen as “stuffing” or “duplicate content.”

Shhhhh. Here’s a super secret trick

Here’s a little tidbit that not everyone knows. Let’s say you want to define what type of business you have even more granular than current schema tags allow. You can actually create your own. That’s right, at least for awhile, you could be the only one identified in a such way online. As an example, the identifier for “physician” currently exists under “MedicalBusiness” and “MedicalOrganization.” But that’s where it stops. Let’s say you want to make it very clear to the search engines that you are a podiatrist. Let’s do a quick wikipedia search if see if a page exists for “podiatrist.”

Ta Daaa.

Since you know the URL of the wikipedia page that defines what a podiatrist is you can create your own schema identification. Here’s how it works.

First, let’s look at the wiki address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podiatrist

Next, you need to combine the part after /wiki/ with this address: http://www.productontology.org/id/

That creates this:  http://www.productontology.org/doc/Podiatrist

You simply add a line with the tag “additionalType”. Your code should look like this:

“additionalType”: “http://www.productontology.org/doc/Podiatrist”,

Schema markup on steroids

Below is an example of just how much valuable information you can add through schema markup.

This simple code delivers this level of detail:

Here we have added nine different “sameAs” references.

Going the Extra Mile

We could also have added information such as the founders, the management team, sub-organisations, area served, client rating, etc. The list is pretty extensive.

The more ACCURATE and pertinent information you can provide, the better.

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