Google’s BERT Update Summarised (25 Oct 2019)

Google announced the biggest change and improvement their to search results in five-years, they said. It is called BERT and impacts 10% of all queries.

It’s a long known fact now that Google is rolling out small, continuous algorithm updates everyday.

Yet there are some updates that seem to have a huge impact on the SEO community and others seem to go barely noticed. Some of the more prominent recent updates were the Medic update and the June 2019 Core Update.


Why are rankings effected by some Google updates but not others?

Some Google updates are directly targeted at blackhat/greyhat SEO practices. This means specifically that they try to penalise SEO practices that are against their guidelines.

An example of a penalizing algo update was Penguin, which resulted in many sites loosing rankings if they had purchased links in the past (big No-No!).

How is the BERT algo update different?

BERT began rolling out earlier this week and should be done rolling out by the end of this week.

It’s different as it does not target SEO practitioners directly, it’s aimed at improving search results, by allowing Google’s natural language processing and machine learning to understand websites better, much like a human would.

Previously certain things such as keyword frequency, keyword clusters and word count were major determinants of rank. With BERT we may seem this shift towards more soft factors such as authority, prominence and expertise on a certain topic. These things were previously hard to assess for a computer algorithm but it’s increasingly becoming clear that this is the way Google is heading, as it’s also backed up by Googles quality raters guidelines (EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).

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WordPress Website Security & Hosting

Website Security in the early days … 2015

When I started my web hosting and design service, I could have never anticipated this but it has become clear over the last few years that business WordPress websites are at a huge risk.

In this article you will learn about the alarming state of business WordPress website security.

Websites at Risk

I’d like to share a story with you of how a new customer came to me because he needed a new website.

I ran a routine check on his old website and discovered that half of his website had been occupied by an online store selling Viagra.

Given that the client was in the fencing business it was clear that hackers had infested his website and used it to sell Viagra.

The story sounds a little like science fiction but similar stories happen to business websites in Australia on a daily basis.

I recommend to use the free Sucuri site checker to uncover any security holes in your website.

Unfortunately it is not enough to install a WordPress security plugin and call it a day. More on this later.


Who’s Fault Is It When A Website Gets Hacked?

In another instance a clients website was redirected to a casino gambling website in Europe.
Who is at fault in these instances? The web host or the business owner?

Reality is, both of them. WordPress websites run on a database. Any database has a way to login and hackers use this as a way in. Often times preventing a hacking attack can be as simple as keeping the number of plugins to a minimum, updating themes and WordPress version as well as plugins on the regular.

It’s understandable that business owners don’t have time to keep their website up to date every month.

That only leaves the web hosting company, but they don’t get paid to provide real security.

It takes intimate knowledge of a website to really secure a site. This is nothing a hosting company such as GoDaddy, Netregistry, or CrazyDomains can offer on scale.

Any security packages offered by large web hosting companies are at best well meant but ineffective. At worst a money grab (shareholders do like up-sells) that lulls business owners into false security that their site is safe.

What Are The Security Holes in a WordPress site?

There are thousands of plugins available that can extend and upgrade your WordPress website.
Is plugin is a security risk as it needs to be updated and could be a way in for hackers.
In 2019 it requires a monthly effort to keep WordPress websites safe.

The Effects of hacking on Small to Medium Businesses

It can be absolutely devastating when your business website gets hacked: Google warns your customers that they are visiting a virus infected website or completely removes your business from the search results. Not great for business.
In 2018 there was an instance where a web hosting company local to Perth lost 300 client websites over night, without backups. I won’t name the company but we should learn from this.

300 Perth businesses lost their websites overnight

300 Perth businesses lost their website overnight. One of them became my client as I was tasked with re-building three of his business websites within 24-hours – needless to say – lot’s of coffee ☕ was on the menu.
The business owner is running a business with 15+ staff and he was due to fly out to Bali on the same day he found out all of his websites were hacked. Not a great start to a holiday.

What we decided to do about WordPress security

Given these experiences it became clear that web hosting itself is not sufficient for any business website.

That’s why I developed the new site care packages:
A security shield, daily backups to a completely separate computer, SSL security,
24h monitoring – every minute your website is checked for life signals.
As well as updates of plugins and website software.
In short piece of mind for your business’s online presence.

Steep Digital Philosophy

We want to provide tailor made solutions that are more effective than anything else that is out there. That means we can’t work with everyone and our solutions are not a fit for every business.

The same goes for our sitecare maintenance packages. This is only a good fit if you are after peace of mind for your website and if you would like to invest in growing your website visitors, turning them into customers.

You are invited to learn more about our specific sitecare maintenance packages for WordPress websites.

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E-Commerce SEO

Using ROBOT.TXT in site – NO INDEX – WordPress settings

Creating a web site isn’t sufficient. Getting listed in the major search engines is the critical aim of website owners to ensure a site gets visible in SERP for several keywords. This listing of a website and visibility of freshest content is large as a result of search engine spiders which crawl and index sites. Webmasters could control the way in which these robots parse websites by inserting instructions in a special file called robots.txt. Several pages of a WordPress website need not be indexed by the search engines.

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Local SEO

Do Follow VS. No Follow

Just a little background story of just how a link works in the world of SEO, when your website page reaches an inbound link, and that’s a hyperlink pointing into a website, your website gets a small search engine optimization boost.  

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