All posts by Kathy Alice

Help! I hate to blog, what do I do about SEO?

Writer Creating Content on Laptop

SEO goes hand in hand with great content

This week’s post is an answer to a reader’s question.

SuZen Marie asks: My brother has no interest in blogging on the website I built for him and I know this is not helping the site’s SEO. Is guest blogging or a featured column the way to go? Does “borrowed” content count to boost SEO ranking as well as original content?

You’re right to worry about having content on your brother’s website. In today’s competitive landscape, excellent content is the way to win at SEO.

That being said, since you have a site that provides a local service, local SEO tactics, can get you pretty far. Ideally, though, you want to rank in both the “map” results as well as with a pure organic listing so that you have multiple opportunities to get the click.

It all comes down to how competitive your niche is. With some niches, some basic on page optimization and enough citations (local SEO listings) might be enough. But those niches are getting rarer and rarer, especially if you are in a bigger city.

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Moving WordPress to a New Domain in 7 Steps

Moving boxes .. and WordPress sites

Moving boxes .. and WordPress sites

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. For one thing I’ve moved my residence. There’s no way around it, moving sucks, especially when you lived in one place for seven years. So I guess it was only appropriate to have the challenge of moving a WordPress blog to a new domain for a client soon after my move.

The scenario

These moves can be really dependent on the scenario you are dealing with, for example: who has the domain registered etc., so I’m just going to detail what I did and hopefully it will help others.

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Do You Need to Worry about SEO with WishList Member?

At first glance SEO and membership sites seem to be two entirely unrelated things. When Googlebot encounters a login page, that page is a brick wall that stops it cold, since search engine bots don’t have a way to log into your site. So any content behind an authentication wall is essentially invisible to Google and the other search engines. So when you are setting up a membership site do you need to worry about SEO at all?

WishList Member Login Page

Example of WishList Member Login Page

Up to this point I had just assumed no. But I was wrong; when I started looking at a WordPress site using the WordPress plugin WishList Member, I ran into a number of issues. Some issues are specific to WishList Member – and I cover those below. But there is also some general SEO friendly practices around managing your content that applies to any membership site that I want to cover as well. Let’s start there.

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Checklist for Choosing a SEO Friendly Content Management System

site map

Dynamically generated XML sitemaps are one CMS feature you will want.

Although I often recommend WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System), I’ve worked with a variety of other CMS – including some in house developed ones.

If you are considering selecting a Content Management System for your website, make sure you select one that provides a rich set of SEO friendly features.

Here’s my checklist to make sure you get a CMS that won’t set you up for failure.

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Can your site get a Bing Penalty?

Bing Logo

Do Bing Penalties Really Exist?

By stripping away most of your organic traffic, a Google penalty can make or break your website. A Bing penalty is not as dire – but it could still have an impact on your bottom line. I recently was successful in restoring Bing and Yahoo #1 rankings to a site that had dropped off the first page for their head term. Here’s what I did and what you might try if you are in the same situation.

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Is Affiliate Disclosure Required in an Email?

Confused on Affiliate Disclosure in Email?

Confused about Affiliate Disclosure in Email Marketing? So am I.

After the beta launch of my SEO for Business Owners course, I’ve been planning to do a more expanded version next year (with a better title). One component of that planning is looking for partners that can help promote the course to reach a broader audience.

If you are not familiar with this business model, here’s how it works.

  1. You find someone that has a business complementary to yours and has (preferably) a big list
  2. They email their list promoting a freebie that you offer such as a free report or free webinar
  3. You then sell your product to your newly acquired prospects
  4. You pay your partner a commission for each person that he/she sent you that bought your product

Of course this is just a high level overview, but that should be enough information for you to get the gist of it. So the question is, do you have to disclosure the fact that you are a partner (or a affiliate) in the email you send to your list?

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Local SEO 101

When I created citations for a business six months ago, I wrote this 101 style blog post while it was still fresh in my mind. Since I now offer a local SEO video module as part of my SEO for Business Owners Course, I’ve returned to it and added even more details. You’ll learn how the local seo ecosystem works and all the basics you’ll need in getting started in local SEO.

local SEO

Get Started with local SEO for Web Visibility

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Google Analytics Setup

In order to know whether you are improving the performance of your website, you need a way to measure your progress. This is where Google Analytics comes in.

Step 1: Create a Google Account

You will need a Google account. It’s easiest to create a or use an existing gmail account, although it is still possible to create a non gmail account as a Google account.

Step 2: Create an Account for your Website in Google Analytics

Once you have created your Google account, navigate to Google Analytics and click on “Admin”. Enter the name of the account, website and website URL (see below). NOTE: As of April 2014, all new GA accounts use Universal Analytics.
Google Analytics Setup
Click on the “Get Tracking Id” button. Note: Depending on which approach you take, you may need both the UA code and the tracking code shown on the next screen.

Step 3: Install the Google Analytics tag onto your website

The way that Google Analytics works is that when a visitor comes to one of your web pages, a piece of code that has been installed into your website fires and sends the tracking information to your Google Analytics account. So you need to install the GA tracking code into your website in this step. Fortunately if you are using WordPress there are plugins that make this easy for you.

We’ll use a popular one called “Google Analyticator”. Google Analyticator makes the installation fairly easy and even adds a dashboard into your WordPress admin. This plugin is available in the WordPress repository, so to install just click on “Add New” and type in “Google Analyticator” to find it. Once installed, navigate to the plugin page and click on “Settings” for the plugin.

There are two ways you can use Google Analyticator:

  • Authenticate the plugin with Google: You give the plugin permission to access your Google account. If you want the dashboard you must authenticate.
  • Just use the plugin for tracking: Skip the authentication and go directly to the Settings screen. You will need the UA Tracking id if you skip the authentication.

Most of the settings I leave as is – except the ones I note in the screenshot below:
Google Analyticator Settings


If you have many plugins and are concerned about performance, you may want to skip using a plugin and install the code directly into your theme. This is an advanced approach that requires you be able to edit your functions.php file on your server.

In the functions.php file you want to add both an action and the function “add_googleanalytics” as in the below:

function add_googleanalytics() { ?<
Insert the code you copied from GA here.
It should begin and end with <script> tags

<?php }
add_action('wp_head', 'add_googleanalytics');

Google Webmasters Tools Setup

Google Analytics helps you track your website’s traffic. Google Webmasters Tools (now known as Google Search Console) is the channel Google uses to communicate to you any problem its crawlers might find on your site. You should set both up.

Fortunately once you have Analytics setup, it’s easy to also setup Google Webmasters Tools as it will just verify based on the Analytics code you just installed in your website.

  1. While logged into your Google Account (the same one you are using for Google Analytics), go to Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Click on the red “Add a Site” button (located at the upper right)
  3. In the popup, type in the URL of your website and click on Continue.
    1. NOTE: it’s important to enter your preferred URL, ie. this blog’s preferred URL is But if you are using https and www then your preferred URL is
  4. For verification method select “Analytics” (it’s usually the recommended method).
  5. Then click on the Verify prompt to complete the setup

What you need to know about Canada’s new anti spam law

Canada Anti Spam Law Canada rolled out a new anti spam law (the CASL) in late June of 2014. The majority of the provisions of the new law are already in effect (as of July 1st), however there is a transitional period to seek “explicit consent” from people you already have a business relationship with, more on that in a moment.

You might be thinking, I don’t live in Canada, so who cares? Well if you run a business that might have Canadian customers, you have to care. If you have gathered email addresses for a list, it’s quite likely that some of your subscribers are Canadian. And while some of them might have a .ca email address, plenty more will have used a free email service such as gmail or hotmail, so you really can’t tell who are the Canadians on your list.

So you might as well assume that you need to comply with CASL, which is more restrictive than the US CAN-SPAM Federal Act.

I’ve spent some time reading through the law text and various articles, and here’s what I’ve learned. Now I’m not an expert, on any law, Canadian or otherwise, but this post should serve as a starting point. If you want to learn more, I would suggest reading Michael Geist’s articles that can be found on the Toronto Star, since he IS an expert on Canadian Internet Law.

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When your Child Theme CSS changes don’t work

WordPress coding can be frustrating

Why don’t my child theme CSS changes work?

You’ve got your new WordPress theme and love it but you want to tweak it to make it yours. Unless it is a premium theme that supports customizations in the WordPress admin, you need to create a child theme to make the modifications. Why use a child theme? Yes, it can be easier to just hack the theme’s files directly, but if you ever update your theme, all your changes will be overwritten and lost. Which sucks, so use a child theme.

I’ve created many child themes. It’s usually a quick and easy process that takes just a few minutes, especially if you are comfortable with the task of creating a directory on your server.

However recently I ran into issues modifying the CSS of a child theme using the Responsive theme as the parent that took me a long time to resolve. I spent hours looking through posts and the WordPress forums and found no answer, so if you are having the same problem with your child theme read on..

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