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Google RankBrain and SEO in 2016

Google RankBrain and SEO in 2016

Optimize your website in 2016 by having quality content and building links from high authority websites – these are 2 of the 200+ factors Google looks at!

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and has the aim of putting a website in the first position with Google.  It’s like a strange race, as everyone wants to be first for their own keywords and people approach it in many different ways.

google-rankbrain-seo-in-2016-1

Google’s Andrey Lipattsev announced in March 2016 that on-page content and link building are joint first in importance in Google’s algorithm, with RankBrain (their artificial intelligence algorithm) third.  This means that for a website to reach Google’s first page of results, it needs to:

  • Have great on-page content with good quality text.
  • Have high-quality links coming into the site from high authority websites.
  • Include the judicious use of keywords and fulfill other criteria that the RankBrain algorithm looks at.

There are at least 200 major Google ranking factors, see www.indigoextra.com/200-website-ranking-factors-google-seo, with some saying that there are actually over 10,000 factors in total, so how can you optimize a website for all these multitudes of different factors?

As Google evolves and particularly with the introduction of the RankBrain algorithm, optimizing a website for search engines has become closer and closer to optimizing it for human beings, with a few important differences.

Some factors Google look at are quality and length of content, the amount of time visitors spend on a page, whether visitors quickly click back, then click a different result in their search engine, does the number of visitors increase over time, does the page include at least one image, etc.

To optimize for these on-page aspects, it’s essential to write content that is well researched, a decent length and offers something unique to the people reading it.  Don’t just think of reaching a certain word count, but be sure that you, or your SEO company, write content that actually engages the reader, that you yourself would enjoy reading and that includes something original.  The unique text is a given, but unique content, with unique ideas presented in an original way, is what’s needed to grab your readers’ attention.

Similarly, with link building, the links that will give you the most benefit are the links that will also drive the most traffic to your website.  A link from an original article in the form of a guest blog on a high authority site will drive a lot more traffic to your site than a link from an obscure social media portal no-one uses, whereas links from Facebook and Twitter are social media platforms that everyone has heard of and which will carry more weight.

It helps if some of the links include the anchor text that you want to rank high for, however, it’s important that the links are natural enough, therefore don’t be tempted to use keywords in every single anchor text – a healthy mixture of keywords, the URL, and phrases like ‘click here’ works best.

Finally, those other 200 or 10,000 factors we mentioned!  Google RankBrain’s job is to sort through all the different factors and decide which ones are truly important, test them out and constantly refine them (over 500 times a year).  They include things like having a responsive web design, so your site looks good on any device, ensuring that your page speed loads reasonably fast, making good use of meta tags and ALT tags and including illustrations or photos on your site.

If you focus on quality content and quality links, then you’re 2/3 of the way there and a well-designed website and guidance from an SEO expert will help you win the SEO race.

Installing SUPEE-7405 Security Patch to Magento

Installing SUPEE-7405 Security Patch to Magento

With the continuously growing number of hacking attempts on eCommerce sites, finding vulnerabilities in your website to make it secure has become more important than ever. Given the fact hackers launch attacks on sites running on popular e-commerce platforms such as Magento (and others), you must take precautionary measures to avoid becoming a victim of such attacks.

Installing SUPEE-7405 Security Patch to Magento

Thankfully, Magento releases security patches to make a store protected against vulnerabilities detected in the system. So, if you’re running a Magento store, it is a good practice to update the store as soon as possible. Or else, you might suffer massive data loss. Besides, it is needless to say the damage a hacked site can cause to your reputation among visitors (and customers).

Magento rolled out two new security patches named SUPEE-7405 and SUPEE 7616 this year. But, sadly 80 percent of Magento stores still haven’t applied the patches. So, if you’ve discovered any security breach in your e-store make sure to install the latest available patches that could help improve the security of your Magento store. But in case you’re having difficulty in implementing the security patches, it would be better to take assistance of a reputed Magento e-commerce development company.

In this post, we’ve covered the installation procedure for the latest SUPEE-7405 security patch on your Magento store version 1.x. But, let’s have a brief overview of the patch first.

Introduction to SUPEE 7405

SUPEE 7405 security patch was released on January 20, 2016, and provide fixes for vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-site Scripting, Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF), etc. These vulnerabilities can steal your critical customer information or gain access to administrator sessions. This security patch has been made available for Magento versions 1.4.0.0 till 1.9.2.2, and 2.0.0.0 till 2.0.1.0.

Installation of SUPEE-7405 Security Patch

When it comes to installing the SUPEE-7405 security patch, you can accomplish the task with or without SSH. In this part, we’ll be discussing both these ways to install the patch in question.

Installing SUPEE-7405 With SSH

In case you have SSH access to your server, then begin installing SUPEE-7405 with SSH. Below are the steps you need to follow to perform the installation:

Step 1 – You can download the SUPEE-7405 patch from Downloads page:

https://www.magentocommerce.com/products/downloads/magento/

Or else, simply install the patch just like any regular Magento upgrade by making use of Downloader (which comes added with Magento 1.9.2.3 version).

NOTE: Before installing SUPEE-7405 patch make sure to install all other previous patches to keep your site secure from previous patches identified in Magento version.

Step 2 – Prior to the installation process, you must disable Magento Compiler from your system. To do so, go to System → Configuration → Tools → Magento Compiler. Once you’ve opened up the compiler makes sure to clear the compiled cache.

Step 3 – Next, you must verify the Magento version on which your store is running. You can easily check your store version by looking at the following code saved in Magento Mage.php file:

$ grep -A6 ‘static function getVersionInfo’ app/Mage.php

public static function getVersionInfo()

{

return array(

‘major’ => ‘1’,

‘minor’ => ‘9’,

‘revision’ => ‘2’,

‘patch’ => ‘2’,

}

The code determines that the version of your Magento store is 1.9.2.2

Step 4 – Upload the patch file into the root directory of your Magento install, and then execute it using the below given command:

sh patch_file_name.sh

In the above command, the filename could be something like:

PATCH_SUPEE-7405_CE_1.9.2.2_v1-2016-01-20-04-35-33.sh

Once, you run the above command a message will be displayed as following confirming whether the patch was installed successfully:

Patch was applied/reverted successfully

Step 5 – Lastly, you just need to verify whether your Magento store is functioning correctly or not. Also, you’ll have to flush the PHP opcode caches (like APC/XCache/eAccelerator). Keep in mind to flush the cache after applying the patch (or when you restart your web server).

Installing SUPEE-7405 Without SSH

Of course, applying a patch will become easy in case you have SSH access. But what if you don’t have such access? In that case, follow the below listed steps to install the SUPEE-7405 patch without SSH:

NOTE: Before you begin the installation process ascertain to upgrade your Magento store version to 1.9.2.3.

Step 1 – First off, make sure to install all the previous patches prior to installing the new one. Simply put, ensure to install the security patches SUPEE-1533, SUPEE-5344, and SUPEE-5994, to name a few.

Step 2 – Next, you’ll need to disable the Magento Compiler from your system. This requires you to navigate to System → Configuration → Tools → Magento Compiler from your admin panel.

Step 3 – Now, you must download all of the already patched files available in Github repo (or the ones mentioned in the below table). And then, upload those files in your Magento root directory.

Magento version

SUPEE-7405

Magento 1.9.2.2

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.9.2.2

Magento 1.9.2.0-1.9.2.1

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.9.2.1

Magento 1.9.1.0-1.9.1.1

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.9.1.1

Magento 1.9.0.1

SUPEE-7405-1.9.0.1

Magento 1.8.1.0

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.8.1.0

Magento 1.7.0.0-1.7.0.2

SUPEE_7405_Magento_1.7.0.2

NOTE: Make sure to keep a backup of all the files that you are replacing.

Step 4 – Empty your cache. Also, flush the PHP opcode caches like APC/XCache/eAccelerator after patching. And at last, test the functionality of your Magento store.

Conclusion

Are you a Magento store owner and concerned about hardening your website security? Well, then you must update your version according to latest security patches as they come with fixes to deal with vulnerabilities detected in Magento versions. This post will guide you the process of installing the latest SUPEE-7405 security patch for Magento version 1.x.

5 Best Plugins to Build Community Forums on WordPress

5 Best Plugins to Build Community Forums on WordPress

Community building is its own sweet reward. Who doesn’t like the idea of a virtual space where your targeted audience comes together to share ideas/Q and A/ wrangle/ et al?

The next question, of course, is whether it can be done on WordPress. The answer: Come on. It’s WordPress. It can handle anything. Checkout

So for those looking to build a virtual Common Room/ Frat-house/ What-Have-You, here’s a list of top 5 plugins to make it real:

1. BuddyPress

BuddyPress

Price: Free (licensed GPLv2.0 like WordPress.org). Paid ‘extensions’ can be found as regular WordPress plugins (“BuddyPress compatible”)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

You can’t put ‘WordPress’ and ‘community’ in a sentence together and not end up talking about BuddyPress at some point. Figured we’d just get it over with now.

I sound resigned, because really, there’s no better plugin for community/network-building than BuddyPress. Attempts have been made and failed spectacularly. BuddyPress continues to reign supreme.

It’s feature-packed and free, ‘nuff said.

This plugin packs practically everything you would need, and more, for creation and management of communities: Member profiles, Activity feeds, User groups, Messages, etc. And that’s just the beginning.

With BuddyPress core features as the foundation, you can begin layering more features with BuddyPress-compatible plugins to add even more configuration options and variety on top of your user-network.

Recommended: Start with W3 Total Cache (Check it out here) and work your way up as needed.

2. bbPress

bbPress

Price: Free (licensed GPLv2.0 like WordPress.org). Paid ‘extensions’ can be found as regular WordPress plugins (“bbPress compatible”)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

bbPress is like a skinny, lanky Loki to BuddyPress’ Thor.

This plugin is another one that started or ended up being adopted by Mullenweg and co. (like WooCommerce in 2015). Regardless, the core plugin on its own is light, easy to setup and integrate, and highly extensible with other WordPress plugins and bbPress add-ons.

The plugin only adds basic forum functionality to your website. But with creative customization and crafty themes, it will work for all sorts of visual ambiance. Case in Point: Support forums for WPMU-DEV, Woothemes, and dev4press.

3. Sabai Discuss Plugin for WordPress

Sabai Discuss plugin for WordPress

Price: $23

Available at: Code Canyon

This is one of the best-selling WordPress forum plugins on Code Canyon.

Sabai adds extremely filterable and easy to navigate ‘discussions’ and ‘Question and Answers’ streams to your website. It lets you create custom fields (for the search filters), and has a visual form editor to create the search forms. It comes with 9 widgets, 10 email notification templates, and more.

Design tinkering-capabilities aside, the plugin itself is pretty smart. It has code snippet highlighting, ‘featured’, ‘flagging’ (for spam moderation) and ‘favorite’ Q&A, Role/Reputation-based access system, and more. Think Stack Overflow, focused on you.

The fact that it is also translatable and supports RTL is no surprise (good plugins and themes do that), but it sure cements the faith in the plugin. It uses JavaScript responsibly (for improved interactivity) and needs no FTP connection to update.

Plugins like these make me happy. They pose fewer problems for users to fret over later. The only damper comes from the fact that it is probably late for an update, but if you are a web development company that knows what it’s doing, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

4. WP Pro Forum System

WP Pro Forum System

Price: $21

Available at: Code Canyon

Another easy-forum plugin and it’s so shiny you can almost hear it.

Pro Forum highlights code snippets, lets registered (to your website) users create topics, replies, and comments using the TinyMCE editor WordPress packs as default (improved with some shortcodes). The topics can be made sticky (for when certain topics come up all the time).

Users can add/upload images, set access permissions on their content (Privacy). It works well with your theme and can be further customized easily.

It’s a lovely, no-nonsense plugin that sticks to the necessary and drowns the rest.

5. DW Question & Answer

DW Question & Answer

Price: Free core plugin. Free and paid add-ons (optional)

Available at: WordPress Plugin Repository

The best things in life are free. This plugin is (mostly) one of them.

DW’s Q&A plugin covers all the basics and goes the extra mile too. Users create, edit, and delete questions, moderators order/delete them. Everyone can search using the thorough filters. There is a voting feature (best answer), content privacy (depends on user submitting the question), sticky discussions, ‘follow’ discussions, et al.

It supports CAPTCHA and at least 11 languages. It has email notification system. There is a free add-on that enables Embed question and Social Sharing, which is perfect.

The entire plugin is like a beautifully decorated suite with furniture choices available. You can work those in as desired.

Endnote

There are more, and there will be more community and forum plugins since the trend is taking hold. The plugins mentioned here are in no way latest, but they are coded for efficiency and they are reliable.
That’s all you need from a good plugin really.

What is the Difference between a Responsive Website and an App?

What is the Difference between a Responsive Website and an App?

The ceaseless evolution of smartphones, the launch of new mobile operating systems on a daily basis, a variety of options for mobile applications and high-speed internet connection have certainly changed the way people use their smartphones. According to Cisco’s recent report, the usage of smartphones has grown up to 7.4 billion. Today, people prefer to use their smartphones to access the internet and thus, insisting companies to move their focus to “Mobile first, Desktop second” tactic to increase their traffic and conversions. (more…)