You’ve probably never thought about it, but that “HTTP” in your web address plays an important role in your website’s security and visibility.
HTTP stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol.” It transfers data from a website to a web browser. HTTP is why it’s possible to view websites on your computer.
But HTTP is about to go the way of the dodo… and it may be cause for worry.
Here’s the deal…
When someone visits your website, it transfers a certain type of data from that person’s computer. If a website is HTTP, that data that passes through unencrypted, and can therefore be intercepted by nefarious third parties. These parties can then use the information to track a website visitor’s online “movements” and steal their precious private info.
To combat this issue, the internet is gradually switching to a more secure communication protocol known as HTTPS.
HTTPS stands for… drum roll, please… “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.”
Without getting into too much geek-speak, HTTPS encrypts data transferred over the web to keep that data secure. It does this through a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Websites that use HTTPS reap a number of benefits:
Higher search engine rankings
HTTPS websites have the SEO edge over HTTP websites. Search engines like to make sure that the websites they’re sending their users to are safe. If you’re vying with a competitor for the top spot on the results page, HTTPS can be the tiebreaker.
Better website security (duh!)
I already covered this above. HTTPS encrypts data that’s sent between a browser and a website. With HTTPS, no one can “spy” on your website visitors, track their activities, or steal their information.
More user trust
As HTTPS becomes more prevalent, the general public will take notice. When they see HTTPS in front of your website address, they’ll know that they’re information is safe while they’re browsing your website. It’s a subtle yet effective way to immediately build trust with your website visitors. Plus, this nifty lock icon shows up next to your website address in some web browsers:
In a nutshell, here’s how to switch from HTTP to HTTPS:
- Buy an SSL certificate and install it on your server.
- Update hard-coded links in your robots.txt files to HTTPS.
- Set up 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS. This informs search engines that you’ve changed your website’s addresses and also automatically redirects your old HTTP address to the new HTTPS address.
It’s actually a bit more complicated than this, but those are the basic steps.
Naturally, contractors who partner with MYM don’t have to fry their brains fussing over 301 redirects, SSL certificates, and robots.txt files.
Over the course of the last few months, we’ve moved all of our clients over to HTTPS. Would-be hackers all over the country wept.
If you’d like to keep your website safe and benefit from our internet-marketing services the way our clients do, get in touch with us in one of two ways:
- Pick up that thing you use to surf ESPN.com and check emails, and call us at (817) 416-4333.
- Visit https://mymonline.com/ and use the chat box in the lower-right corner to speak to an MYM representative immediately.
P.S. HTTPS is here to stay. It’ll eventually replace HTTP completely. That’s why it’s best to hop on board the HTTPS train right now, before search engines factor even more heavily into rankings. Do it now, and thank me later.
The other day I was reading an article on CBSnews.com called Uh-Oh! 12 Diseases Doctors Overlook.
The article starts by saying, “Some medical conditions are easy to diagnose. Others produce symptoms so vague or “nonspecific” that even skilled doctors have a hard time telling what ails the patient. As a result, some patients spend years or even decades suffering from treatable maladies.”
It then went on to list the diseases, which included sleep apnea, migraines, bipolar disorder, and hip disease.
After reading the list and giving myself a mild case of hypochondria, I thought about a disease the article didn’t list.
It’s more widespread than the common cold. And it’s deadly to those it infects.
But here’s the interesting part…
It doesn’t affect humans.
Or any other living creature, for that matter.
So… you don’t have to worry about yourself, your family, or your pets.
It is, however, likely infecting something VERY near and dear to you RIGHT NOW.
I’m talking about… your website!
There is an insidious hidden internet “disease” known as toxic backlinks.
Toxic backlinks poison your search rankings.
They pop up randomly without you realizing it. And they are a constant threat that can’t be “cured” (you can’t “toxic backlink-proof” a website).
They’re like a hard-to-detect disease. You’ll feel the symptoms (drop in SEO). You’ll think it’s for a million and one reasons (wrong keywords, poor content, etc.). But you won’t know what’s causing it unless you get “tested by a professional.”
So… what, exactly, is a toxic backlink?
You know that when website A links to website B, website A creates a backlink for website B. Websites with many reputable backlinks will rank better in Google searches.
But not all backlinks are reputable. Paid links, link wheels, and spam links are what Google calls “toxic” backlinks.
Google considers toxic backlinks “unnatural,” as these backlinks serve no purpose other than to manipulate search rankings.
If Google finds toxic backlinks associated with your website, they’ll penalize you. BIG TIME.
At MYM, we’re very familiar with toxic backlinks; a few weeks ago, we removed 544 of them from our clients’ websites.
When my SEO team told me about this, I said, “Holy cow, that seems like a lot.” Even I wasn’t aware of how widespread a problem toxic backlinks are.
So I asked our SEO Developer (Nate) about the process to learn more, so I could pass the information on to you.
Here is our conversation:
Rich: Why didn’t we find these toxic backlinks sooner?
Nate: This is actually an ongoing process, so it’s not that we didn’t find them sooner, or that we found them too late. We crawl all client backlink profiles weekly with fresh backlink indexes from Google and other various backlink profiling services, so we are constantly keeping an eye on things that will bring client search rankings down.
Rich: How long does it take to remove toxic backlinks?
Nate: It depends on how many different backlinks there are, and also how many domains the backlinks are originating from. We have to manually look through the flagged backlinks and see if they’re actually toxic, and also check on other ranking metrics for the domain that the backlink is coming from, to see if it’s truly toxic or if it’s an actual good backlink. All in all, it’s a few hours each week that go into keeping all of our clients clean and free of toxic backlinks.
Rich: What do we expect the results to be?
Nate: We expect the results will be us continuing to drive our clients’ search rankings higher by negating any ill effects that the toxic backlinks would have on said search rankings. As this isn’t a one-time process and is instead an ongoing thing, there’s no “wow” factor, so to speak, as we keep things copacetic all the time versus running a backlink audit once a year and seeing improved results afterward.
Bottom Line: Removing toxic backlinks is the opposite of sexy. But it’s REQUIRED to maintain your search rankings.
At MYM, we do the flashy, powerful, persuasive marketing. (That’s obvious.)
But we also do the boring, technical behind-the-scenes stuff that keeps everything running smoothly.
The Mona Lisa hasn’t remained in pristine condition by itself for 500 years. It’s undergone a ton of low-profile maintenance.
It’s the same with your website. To keep it sparkling and shining at the top of the search engines, you have to perform regular upkeep in the background.
Want to know what search results-debilitating “diseases” your website carries?
Sign up for our free Lead Generation Audit.
Part of the audit involves analyzing your SEO efficacy, keyword rankings, and Google Analytics. And yes, that includes toxic backlinks.
Get to it!
P.S. If you’re considering removing toxic backlinks from your website by yourself, here’s my advice: Don’t.
As you can glean from Nate’s responses above, removing toxic backlinks is a technical process. If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you’ll likely screw up your search rankings.
The best course of action? As with other specialized trades (remodeling, vehicle repair, etc.): If you want it done right, hire a professional.
Note: Last post, I showed you Part One of the amazing internet marketing transformation we performed for Soberg Windows & Doors.
That email focused on creating a compelling Identity and beautiful website for the company. Today, I’m going to tell you about phase two: SEO.
Here’s the story…
Crushing The SEO Competition
To create a dominating internet presence, a powerful website is only part of the equation. If you’re not performing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), your awesome site is useless.
Prior to joining Monopolize Your Marketplace, Troy had someone else handling his SEO… his ex-wife. And believe it or not, she did a solid job! “She did have us up in the rankings pretty well. Still, it was up and down. Inconsistent.”
That’s no surprise, considering search engines like Google constantly tinker with their search algorithms, making it practically impossible for SEO non-professionals to keep up. When we built Soberg’s new website and took over the contractor’s SEO, it took the normal four or five months to ‘kick in.’ But after that initial start-up period, Troy couldn’t be more thrilled with his SEO.
“With MYM, I’ve seen very, very positive SEO results. I’m pretty much on the first page for all keywords relating to windows and doors in my area. Now we are consistently where we want to be. Monopolize Your Marketplace’s SEO services have definitely helped produce a lot of leads.”
As of 10/28/16, 2016, 95% of Soberg’s keywords are in the top 10 on Google,
with many ranking in the coveted first two spots.
Unlike a lot of SEO companies—which tend to provide their clients with poor reporting and slow response—we insist on timely, clear, consistent communication.
“Regarding my SEO, I deal a lot with [MYM Digital Services Director] Katie Colihan. I can’t say enough about her. She is very personable, caring, and interested in what I do. Anything I need with my SEO, boom, she is right on it.”
Maintaining Internet-Marketing Dominance
Whether you’re a contractor in a small rural county or a huge sprawling metropolis, one thing remains constant: In today’s always-online world, you MUST have both a strong Identity and internet presence to succeed.
By powerfully branding Soberg Windows & Doors and getting them to #1 on Google for many of their keywords, we’ve helped the company become the big fish in a relatively small pond.
When people search online for windows and doors in Walworth County, the first link they see on the results page is for Soberg’s website. And when those prospects click through to the company’s site, they’re greeted with a strong Identity that conveys how Soberg is much different—and much BETTER—than the average small-town contractor. Prospects can’t help but fall in love.
In all, the synergy between Soberg’s Identity and SEO has produced great results for Troy and his company. “It took about four months for the SEO to ‘kick in,’ but we are now getting a lot of leads from internet searches and our website.”
On what it’s like being an MYM client, Troy says, “Marketing is tough for small businesses. It can be expensive and there’s so much involved. Monopolize Your Marketplace makes everything easy and has produced very positive results for my company. Becoming one of their clients has definitely paid off.”
Ready To Monopolize YOUR Marketplace?
If you’re interested in knowing more about becoming an MYM client, give us a call at 817-416-4333 or visit our website and use the Live Chat box.