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So far Laura Comelleri has created 5 entries.

Why You Should NOT Keyword Stuff in Your SEO Content

Back in the day, “keyword stuffing” was a common and valid strategy to help your SEO rankings. Today, that’s not the case anymore, yet some content creators and marketers are still trying to keyword stuff in order to rank better, not realizing that they are […]

JPEG Turns 25!

 

Anniversaries of anyone – or anything – can be an exciting time! It’s a great opportunity to reminisce about the “way things were,” but with the anniversary of the JPEG turning 25, things are a little different. The JPEG has been a core standard for image compression, staying “current” […]

5 Keys to Successful Sales Tax Compliance

Whether you currently sell products online or you are just getting started, sales tax compliance is something that you shouldn’t ignore. It’s vital that you are accurate in your calculations and correct in what different states and cities owe because it ensures that your business complies with the laws. […]

Why It’s Important to Update Your WordPress Website

Whether you manage a personal WordPress website or you run a business website, it’s vital that you take the time to do updates. Because technology continually evolves and WordPress stays at the forefront of the industry, you can trust that the updates are designed to improve your website and […]

Why SSL Certificates on Your Website Are Vital

You may have already heard that Google is forcing websites to have an SSL Certificate or they will flag your site. While this may be frustrating, it makes sense because Google is just doing their job to keep users happy and making sure that they are visiting […]

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lauracomelleriseo@gmail.com

Back in the day, “keyword stuffing” was a common and valid strategy to help your SEO rankings. Today, that’s not the case anymore, yet some content creators and marketers are still trying to keyword stuff in order to rank better, not realizing that they are actually hurting their rankings for the desired keyword. Today we look at a few reasons why you should not be keyword stuffing and what you can do about it, instead.

Keyword Stuffing Hurts Your Ranking

The algorithms that search engines were using at one time weren’t programmed to filter through content that is “readable” vs. “keyword stuffed” like they can today. What this means for you is that search engine algorithms can more effectively tell if you have original, genuine content and content that has been created purely for “keyword stuffing” purposes.

If it detects that you are stuffing keywords in as much as possible, your page ranking will decrease, which is why it’s advised to nix this practice for SEO.

Avoid Sneaky “Invisible” Keyword Tactics

Another strategy similar to keyword stuffing is using “invisible” keywords, such as changing the font color of the keyword to match the background, sneaking the keyword into behind-the-scenes content such as the code of the page that visitors don’t see, but search engine crawlers can. Some algorithms can see right through it, so make sure to avoid this alternative tactic as well.

Focus On Your Users, Not the Search Engines

While you want to be mindful of the keywords you’re using so that you can actually rank for the desired keywords, your focus should first and foremost be the users on your website. Not only are your users going to appreciate you creating content that is useful for them, but search engines are getting better and better at seeing through content that is being created for users versus content created purely for page ranking.

Utilize a Combination of Keyword Variations

Explore keyword alternatives, such as secondary keywords, synonyms of the keyword, and long-tail keyword variations to help you hit different search terms that your users are searching for. This will help you avoid keyword stuffing while still getting a wide range of keyword phrases that you’re targeting.

What Is Considered Keyword Stuffing?

While it’s not possible to know the exact amount of times to insert your keyword into your content since nobody truly knows what the search engine algorithm is, a general rule of thumb is 2%. For every 100 words, 2 of those words can be the keyword you are attempting to rank for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly 2%, but it’s a good target to aim for. Any more than that and you’re getting closer to an amount that search engines might frown upon.

Have questions about keywords, keyword stuffing, or have other SEO related questions? Reach out to us at C2CG with your questions!

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Anniversaries of anyone – or anything – can be an exciting time! It’s a great opportunity to reminisce about the “way things were,” but with the anniversary of the JPEG turning 25, things are a little different. The JPEG has been a core standard for image compression, staying “current” for decades while other pieces of technology and software continue to go through iteration after iteration seemingly every few months.

New Horizon for Image Compression

As the JPEG turns 25, we are now beginning to hear about faster and more efficient image compression formats being developed that could potentially cut photo file sizes by 60 percent or more. The group responsible for the JPEG, the Joint Photographic Experts Group, has been developing the successor of the JPEG called JPEG XL.

With a more effective and more efficient compression format, users of JPEG XL would be able to store more photos on their mobile devices and personal computers, save more on their bandwidth usage by using less data to download what is essentially the same image, and have the ability to store even more files on their cloud storage.

 

The Race for the New Standard

JPEG XL isn’t the only image format that is being developed, which means that it’s a race for a handful of different “groups” to create the new standard for image formats and compression. Below are just a few of the image and video formats being developed in the hopes of creating the “new standard” for images/video.

  • AVIF (AV1 Image Format), developed by Mozilla, Google, Netflix, and more.
  • MIAF (Multi-Image Application Format), which is a simpler version of HEIF.
  • HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format), which is currently supported by Apple and Microsoft.

As a user, all of these new “standards” will mean more effective image compression when downloading and uploading images. These image formats, from JPEG to the JPEG XL and all of its “competitors,” drastically reduce the data storage size of the image without losing a lot of the quality of the image. These compression formats pull out less-necessary data from the file while retaining the heart of the image.

The challenge with having so many different image formats being developed and supported by different, large entities is that if there is no one true “standard” for the “new image format,” then the market (including both the users of the formats as well as the supporters/developers of the formats) will be severely divided. When a market is divided like that, it becomes challenging for creators of hardware (such as phones and computers) and software (such as the apps and websites that you use) to focus on which formats to fully support.

If the image format isn’t chosen as “the” image format for the majority of the market, then it’s harder for it to get adopted and used by everyone, and that could mean that the general user base of the public and developers of hardware/software will continue to use older formats like the 25-year-old JPEG.

Regardless of what happens, it will be interesting watching to see what happens and which image format will come out on top – or if the JPEG will continue to hold its position close to the top until a new successor is chosen by the entire market.

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Whether you currently sell products online or you are just getting started, sales tax compliance is something that you shouldn’t ignore. It’s vital that you are accurate in your calculations and correct in what different states and cities owe because it ensures that your business complies with the laws. Forty-five states as well as Washington D.C. all require sales tax (and these come at different rates based on the state). Also, some cities have their own sales tax laws you’ll need to abide by. To help you achieve sales tax compliance, here are a few keys to success.

#1: Find Out the Locations You Need to Collect Sales Tax From

When you have a connection to a state (also called a “sales tax nexus”), then you’ll need to have buyers pay the appropriate sales tax. There are a few different ways that you can create this connection, such as selling the product to the person that lives in the state, having an affiliate or business personnel in the area, keeping inventory stored in the area, and selling items at a special event that was located in the state.

#2: Make Sure That the Product You Sell Requires Tax to Be Paid

Some businesses may not have a taxable item that they are selling in the state like digital products, groceries, and textbooks. However, not all states are going to be the same when it comes to taxable items. For example, groceries are taxable in Alabama, but they are tax exempt one state over in Tennessee.

#3: Before Collecting Taxes, Register for a Sales Tax Permit

You can register for a sales tax permit online once you find that the products you sell are taxable and you have a connection with the state. Make sure you do this before you begin selling products and collecting taxes. After you’ve received your permit, you’ll also get a filing frequency and due date for the sales tax. Once again, pay attention because the different states can have different frequencies.

#4: Incorporate a Sales Tax Collection Feature on Your Website

When customers buy products from your website, there should be a way to apply taxes to the transaction. You can collect these at the shopping cart and the most common way to do this is to base it on the state in their shipping address. However, there are some special circumstances that may change this. If you have an out of the normal transaction, then you’ll want to do a little extra research to make sure you’re paying the appropriate amount of taxes.

#5: Report and File Your Tax Returns on Time

Now that you’ve incorporated a system for sales tax compliance on your website and have identified the states and products that require attention, it’s time to report what you’ve collected and file your tax returns. These need to be in on time, so make sure you pay close attention to each state’s frequency and mark it on the calendar. And remember, if you don’t want to DIY this on your own, bring in the experts!

 

 

 

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Whether you manage a personal WordPress website or you run a business website, it’s vital that you take the time to do updates. Because technology continually evolves and WordPress stays at the forefront of the industry, you can trust that the updates are designed to improve your website and it’s recommended that you do them as soon as they’re available. If you aren’t sure how to update your WordPress website or even back it up, then it’s best to consult an expert to ensure you don’t compromise your website’s customizations.

The Benefits of Updating Your WordPress Site

There are quite a few benefits of updating your WordPress site, and here we’ll look at the three most important.

Compatibility

Plugins are an essential part of your web design, and when you have an updated website, these plugins will seamlessly become compatible. If you have an older version of WordPress, you may be limited. Beyond being limited to what you’re compatible with, you’ll find that current plugins won’t have all of the bells and whistles that the updated versions have.

Enhanced Levels of Security

Security is important to everyone that gets online these days, and that’s A LOT of people. WordPress makes their upgrades public because they are an open source software. If they have changed anything having to do with security or corrected a security issue in the update, hackers will know, and those guys always target WordPress sites that haven’t upgraded.

Access to the Latest Features

Who doesn’t want access to the latest features WordPress has to offer? Remember, their job is to make your experience better, and they’re pretty good at it. When you get an update, you should be excited to see what’s new and what will save you time.

The Best Practices for Updating Your Website

When updating your website, there are a few best practices that you should follow. Here we list three of those, but trust that there are more based on the size of your website and other factors. One thing that is vital that you understand is that updating a WordPress site isn’t always as easy as it seems. While the platform is excellent and efficient, there are many details that you need to pay attention to. Simply hitting the update button may work sometimes, but it can also lead to troubles that can fracture your website and interrupt the normal activity.

Learn the Right Skills

There are a range of skills that you’ll want to have an in-depth understanding of from CSS to MSQL to navigating around the cPanel. If you aren’t confident in with areas like HTML, it’s a good rule of thumb to either have a web designer prepared for disaster relief in case something goes wrong when you update or to just bring in the pros for the entire process. That way, if there is a problem, your site can be restored accordingly.

Put a Reliable Backup System in Place

Backup your database to ensure you don’t lose anything. Don’t skip this step because you think its only purpose is to give you peace of mind (which it will) or because you think it won’t happen to you (it can). Make sure you have a reliable backup system in place.

There are some excellent premium plugins that are created just for the job. You can also backup files manually in the cPanel or through hosting. There are a few other methods you can apply. Just be sure that you are confident in using the backup system that you have in place because this is the primary way to resolve issues when the update doesn’t go as planned.

Follow the Process with Attention to Detail

The process of upgrading is going to require that you pay attention to each step. The changelogs need to be looked at (so you can see the summary of changes), and you should note any modifications made to source files (if any). If you use WordPress versions for themes, plugins, software, and everything in between, begin by updating these and then update third-party themes and plugins.

A few other techniques you can apply to the process of updating your website is to activate a plugin that lets people know your site is being worked on or is maintenance mode. This prevents an error message from appearing if something doesn’t update correctly. Also, research the plugins that you use and see if other customers have had issues with it when updating their WordPress site. You may be able to troubleshoot a few problems ahead of the curve.

Once you’ve updated the themes, plugins, and other necessary parts of your website, run through and make sure everything looks good. If there are errors, you can correct those and then get your website back up and running!

Use the Staging Area for Updates

If you can, use the staging area for the updates before updating the live site. By testing the site this way, you get a chance to see any changes that are made and if there’s an issue that needs to be corrected before going live. You can create staging areas through your host, a plugin, manually, and by creating a dedicated stage site.

Learn the Pros and Cons of Updating

There are pros and cons to updating your website, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. By knowing what to expect, whether it is a positive impact or a negative one, you can easily combat the issues or enhance your website when you keep WordPress updated.

Don’t forget, if you’re not comfortable with the updating process for WordPress, let the pros take care of the job for. Even when your tech-savvy, the learning curve for an area as specific as website updates is time-consuming, and you want to make sure you get it right. After all, an update should be viewed as a good thing because it’s keeping your website protected and functioning properly.

 

 

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You may have already heard that Google is forcing websites to have an SSL Certificate or they will flag your site. While this may be frustrating, it makes sense because Google is just doing their job to keep users happy and making sure that they are visiting secure websites. Online security is essential these days and people are paying closer attention to ensure they don’t become a victim of spam, identity theft, hackers, and more. Without an SSL certificate, your site will pop up as “not secure,” and this could cause you to lose valuable customers. To help you get more information about SSL certificates and keep your website secure (and your visitors coming back), we’ve provided some details below.

How SSL Certificates Work

Think of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) as a liaison between the web servers and browsers. The standard security technology is created using an encrypted link, and this link makes sure the data that is exchanged between the two are integral as well as private. With the SSL certificate, you can establish a secure connection and you’re digitally connected to a cryptographic key. Without it, though, you’ll send a message to your visitors that your website is not secure.

The Benefits of SSL Certificates

The primary benefit of having an SSL certificate is to ensure information is secure. Many cybercriminals utilize the fact that the data you send is passed around from different computers until reaching its destination, and this information, when not encrypted, can be compromised while on its journey. The SSL certificate prevents the data being sent from being readable until it reaches the destination of the server that you’re actually sending it to.

Those that are committing cyber crimes are always looking for gaps and weak spots to penetrate within the network so they can extract sensitive information while it’s moving from place to place on the internet. An SSL certification is a frontline of defense against these criminals.

On top of that, you simply give visitors the confidence to move forward on your website. When you have “not secure” warnings that pop up when people visit your website, then they are going to leave. After all, wouldn’t you leave a non-secure website or be hesitant to provide sensitive information on it, like your name and address or credit card number?

Your Next Steps

If you have a website that collects information in areas such as contact forms or if you have a search bar on your site or other spaces that require text input, make sure you have your SSL certification installed. Also, if you have an http:// at the front of your URL, you’ll need to get this task done sooner rather than later to ensure your visitors have a good experience and feel safe on your website. It will only take one visit showing that your site isn’t secure, and the potential customer will likely leave and never return. Get a pro web designer involved to help you secure your website so that both Google and your visitors are satisfied with your security levels.

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