Late Night Listener Feedback
I got a question from Gil Horton at the listener feedback hotline. Gil noticed in search that all of a sudden for no reason whatsoever that he could figure out some of his search results were showing up in Google as HTTPS instead of HTTP, and he had done nothing to cause that to happen, at least nothing that he knew about, and the weird thing was those links were working.
The reason he noticed this was because all of sudden one day his website dropped out of the search rankings, traffic to a particular page on his site and died. This particular page that he was watching, the traffic died and now it’s back. But when he looked in the index as he was investigating to see what happened, he sees that Google has listed his site as HTTPS.
We talked about the importance of HTTPS and the emphasis that Google is putting on that back in Episode 114. We talked about the fact that in order to get your site to HTTPS you need to get a certificate and basically redirect the URLs on your site so that will all work perfectly. The strange thing is, in Gil’s case, he doesn’t believe that he has done anything.
I checked out his site and took a look at it, it’s a very cool site, and HTTPS is working just fine throughout his site. I checked several pages on the site and they all come up on HTTPS and all appear to be working fine with the possible exception of his homepage. He has one of those post sliders on his homepage where the images fly by, that was looking a little wonky on the HTTPS side.
The question is how did this happen if Gil didn’t do anything? I suspect maybe his website host just decided to go ahead and enable HTTPS across their whole platform.
There’s a big move afoot with Let’s Encrypt and based on comments that Google has made to make this happen. Most webmasters don’t care, don’t know, and don’t have the technical expertise to do this, so I suspect that what you’re going to be seeing in a lot of cases is that web hosts are going to proactively enable HTTPS for websites, in the same way you find that they often proactively update software, proactively update WordPress, and so forth. I imagine we’ll get to that where you can’t really even have an HTTP site unless you’re smart enough technically to force that to occur.
That’s what I suspect happened and it looks to me like based on the way that this is implemented maybe everything is not quite exactly right on Gil’s site. That’s the first thing.
The next question is how did they even find the HTTPS pages, because Gil is not linking to the site that way and no one else is? I checked the backlinks to the page in question and there are no HTTPS backlinks to this page, all of the backlinks coming into that page are actually HTTP.
After doing a little research what I found is that Google is preferring HTTPS so strongly that in some cases where they’re crawling sites they’re actually testing to see if both versions of the webpage are available, and if they are they’re preferring the HTTPS version of the page. What I will say is that somehow Google found this version of the page and decided to prefer it over the HTTP version. I’m guessing that may be why Gil saw a temporary change in the rankings, that as Google was making the switch perhaps the page went down for awhile and then back up again while they were sorting all of that out. That’s just a theory, but that’s what I kind of suspect. That’s all very interesting.
The question is what do you do about it, what can you do to fix it? The answer is first in the form of a question, what does fixed mean in this case? For me, if I were running Gil’s site I might consider just going ahead and understanding why HTTPS is working, perhaps by sending a ticket into the help desk for my web host.
Then I would make sure that it’s working correctly, particularly checking out the slider on the homepage and making sure that the images that are being served for that slider are okay for HTTPS and being redirected properly. Maybe what’s needed is that Simple SSL redirect plugin that I mentioned in Episode 114.
Once I was sure that everything was working okay, I would do the work that was needed to let Google know that HTTPS is actually the preferred location for the website. We talked about how to do that in Episode 114. Particularly, if you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin you can go into the settings and force HTTP or HTTPS in the overall settings for your website. You’re setting the so-called canonical URL structure to HTTP or HTTPS.
As of this podcast, you can find that in Yoast SEO under SEO Extensions, Canonical Settings. Your three choices are default, force HTTP, and force HTTPS.
Since Google is preferring HTTPS and you’re already almost there, as far as that site working with HTTPS, I would clean all of that up and go ahead and make the move to HTTPS. That’s my recommendation. Some interesting stuff there.
Gil, good luck to you and I hope your rankings hold up for you and everything is cool. I hope that helps you
Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie
This is one of my favorites, the internet marketing fortune cookie. I haven’t had as many fortune cookies lately. One reason is I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting.
This is something that has been fascinating me for awhile here. There is a whole other podcast episode about intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets and a lot of stuff that I’ve been interested in. I love science and a lot of these guys are really starting to unpack the science around nutrition. I’ve been eating less Chinese food lately, certainly less carbohydrates like rice and stuff, so I don’t have as many fortune cookies. But I got one and I love it.
“Tomorrow will be a productive day. Don’t oversleep.”
Of course we do the internet marketing fortune cookie because we know in our heart of hearts and we deeply believe that everything that you need to know about internet marketing can be learned from fortune cookies. You could probably just shut off this podcast and go buy a bag of fortune cookies, crack them open, and you would have everything you need to know.
Now, I don’t want you to do that. What I want you to do though is think about this fortune cookie…“Tomorrow will be a productive day. Don’t oversleep.”
I get so many things from this. One is I told you in the last episode, when we were talking about the fact that I didn’t do well at 4:00 AM, that I carry around my own weather. I think this idea that making the statement that tomorrow will be a productive day is one of these carry around your own weather things.
Today may have been really crummy. You may not have gotten done what you wanted to get done. You may have had a setback today. It may have been the worst day of the month. But tomorrow is a new day.
The sun is going to come up tomorrow (and if you’re Pat Flynn you’re going to be up before the sun, we can debate whether or not that’s a good idea) and tomorrow is another day. If you go ahead and decide tomorrow is going to be a productive day, there’s probably a good chance that you’re going to be able to make that happen.
What I tell my 10-year-old when he’s talking to me about baseball and how good a hitter he is or whether or not he’s going to be able to make a certain pitch is if you say you can or you say you can’t, you’re right. If you tell me that you can’t throw the changeup and make it go over the plate, that’s what is going to happen. If you decide that you can do it, that’s probably what’s going to happen for you.
A lot of mental attitude stuff going on here. If you decide that tomorrow is going to be a productive day, your chances of actually achieving that are much greater. This is one of those Zig Ziglar kind of things where you just decide what it is that you want to happen and you’ve already got a leg up on making something happen. That’s highly recommended.
Don’t oversleep. Don’t throw away your shot. Don’t toss away your opportunities as they come to you. Be ready to seize those opportunities each and every day.
Something that goes along with this, especially for those of us that are working in the margins and on the side doing this side hustle thing, every little bit that you can do counts because it adds up over time.
I’ll tell you I’ve been doing this a long time and there are things that I did seven years ago that are still generating cash for me today, that help fund this operation and help get me excited about turning on the recorder. Those little incremental things that you do over time, if they’re done right, if you have a good plan, and you have focus, and all of these other good things, that’s going to add up to something fantastic, even if it takes awhile for it to happen. It’s the integration of those efforts over time that are really exciting.
Remember, everything you need to know about being successful in internet marketing can be learned from a fortune cookie. Tomorrow will be a productive day. Do not oversleep.
Internet Marketing News This Week
You guys know that I try to keep an eye on what’s going on in the news for you. Sometimes in these news articles that I try to keep review of I see tips that I think are really good. Some of these authors really get it. There was a guest post contributed article on Search Engine Land from a guy named David Freeman. David works at a company that does SEO solutions and stuff like that, so he is an SEO professional and does this stuff for a living.
He talks about SEO priorities for the new year and I thought this article was spot on. He breaks this up into two things; big projects and quick wins. I think these things are awesome for you to be considering for your site, so I want to go over them with you real quick. Props to David, this is a great article. You can check it out in detail over on Search Engine Land.
The first thing he says is login to Google Search Console and read what’s there. I think that’s great. There is all kinds of stuff over there that Google will tell you about how they view your site that you can fix and make them love you more. I definitely recommend this from an SEO perspective. If you have not submitted your site to Google Search Console (which used to be called Google Webmaster Tools) you need to pause this recording and go ahead and do that right now. I’ll wait while you do that.
You really need to do that. If you’re not in Google Search Console, you need to be, because if something happens they will notify you and that will really help you. It will tell you about crawl errors, resources that can’t be accessed, whether or not your pages are okay for mobile, and all kinds of stuff. It will even give you some HTML improvement recommendations. You definitely need to do that.
David also recommends a content gap analysis. I think that’s a great idea. Now, I’m going to depart from David a little bit. This content gap analysis, which if you have a marketing staff is something human beings can do. This kind of idea has moved into software and there are some amazing tools for this now.
In fact, Ahrefs, one of my favorite tools that I absolutely love (which you can get a two week free trial of), has a content gap analysis tool, it’s in their left hand sidebar. It’s really cool and it will show you some places where from a search perspective you maybe need to grow some content.
If you do this kind of analysis you can use that to create an editorial calendar for the entire year. The question you’re really asking is at the end of this year what would you like to be able to say about the content of your website, what are the big hitters that are missing, what do you need to really flesh out. I have such a plan for Late Night Internet Marketing that I’m working on in 2017, and you should have that for your website too.
You should have an idea of what you wish for at the end of the year and you should be chugging away creating this kind of content throughout the year. That will really make a big difference because these things integrate over time, like we were talking about before, and if you keep chunking away at it you’ll be surprised at what you can build.
He also talks about some larger projects. Some of these are things that we’ve talked about before. For example, David mentions you should go ahead and switch your site over to HTTPS this year, like we were just talking about. Again, you can get some details on that in Episode 114.
He also talks about the fact that you should consider enabling accelerated mobile pages (AMP). I’ve been playing with this a little bit on LateNightIM.com. I have a couple of pages indexed by Google where AMP is enabled and that number should go up. When I get some results on that, I will let you know how that goes. It’s pretty easy to do, but I don’t have results yet. When I get some results I promise you that we will talk about accelerated mobile pages for search.
The other thing that David recommends is to make sure that your site is mobile friendly. We’ve talked about that many times before. I recommend that you go with a theme that is fully mobile responsive. I use Divi and I love it.
In a future episode we are going to talk about how Divi is so good that it has started to change my view of LeadPages. For now, suffice it to say that it is super important that you make sure your site is mobile friendly. In fact, Google’s long range plan – and I don’t think it’s very long range – is to switch the Google index from a desktop-first to a mobile-first index. The whole thing right now is sort of built on the assumption that the desktop user is most important. I see them flipping that in 2018, perhaps, so you might as well go ahead and get ready for that now.
Celebrating Six Months of Weekly Podcasts
The last thing I wanted to talk to you about today was to unpack the success story around six straight months of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast.
I know there are those of you out there that are listening to this that have been with me literally since Episode 1 of what we used to call the Mason World Internet Marketing Podcast at MasonWorld.com. That was back in 2009. You can still find that episode online. I do not recommend that you do that, it’s very frightening to listen to that.
I’ve been on and off, sometimes off for six months at a time. I’ve never really been able to string a whole bunch of episodes together, due to all kinds of excuses. I’ve got an excuse for every day of the week. So many times I restarted and said, “This is the time that I’m serious.” It resembled a weight loss program where I’d lose 10 pounds but then I’d fall off the wagon and gain them back.
I wanted to understand what it is about this time, what’s different about this time. I came to realize that there are probably three things, in increasing order of importance.
Number one is at this time in 2017 I am more serious about Late Night Internet Marketing as a business than I ever have been before. I’m very excited about it. I’ve loved working on it. I’m just in that space more than I ever have been before. I’m excited about talking to you guys. I’m feeling it. That’s one thing.
Now, I’ve been there before, so this is not the newest thing in the world. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m at an 11 on excitement about everything that is possible online, about this show, about the Late Night Internet Marketing brand and about the coming affiliate marketing course that I’m working on in addition to this podcast. The knob is turned up to 11. That’s one thing and I think that’s the least important of the three things.
The second thing is with the podcast as a priority I’ve developed a process for preparing it. That process is sort of a checklist of things that have to be done. What I’ve done is scheduled those out over time. I might be working on the episode title and the main components of what the show is going to be about two weeks ahead of time, two shows ahead of time, while for the next show I’m actually working on the outline, for the show that’s going to air before that I’m working on the actual recording or editing of the show. So I might be working on multiple shows at once.
I have this flow that allows me to work on whatever I’m thinking about at the time. If I have an episode idea but I can’t get to it for a month, I can put that out in time in Ulysses. If I need to work on the show notes for this episode, I can work on that, and I can switch back and forth.
Since I have that flexibility then I schedule days out through the week. Tuesday nights are always the night that I finish editing the podcast for the next week. If that’s already done, then I do the next one and so forth. Bottom line is I have a process. It’s not ad hoc generation of podcast episodes, it’s a production process for creating content.
This can apply to you, just like it applies to me, whether you’re a blogger or a podcaster, or you’re creating video content, or whatever. If you’re struggling with that content, I suggest two things. Have an editorial calendar that goes out very far in time and to systematize the creation of your content.
A lot of people talk about batching. To be honest with you, I don’t batch my podcasts. I know some of my friends will sit down and record four podcast episodes at a time. I don’t do that, it doesn’t work for me and I don’t generally have big blocks of time.
What I’ve done is I’ve adapted a workflow process that works for me. I think that same idea should apply to you, you have to adapt some process, whatever you’re going to do needs to work for you. So that’s second thing, a great workflow.
Here’s the third thing, the big thing. My mastermind gives me a lot of grief when I don’t do what I say I’m going to do. I just dread the idea of having to go to those guys and explain why I haven’t published a podcast episode.
I will never forget standing in front of Ray Edwards, who I hadn’t known for very long, at the Speaker Party at Social Media Marketing World. By the way, I’m going to be at Social Media Marketing World in March if you want to come see me, I’d love to see you there.
Standing there in front of Ray at the Speaker Party and having him come up to me and say, “Is your feed broken? I haven’t seen an episode from you in awhile.” I just wanted to crawl in a hole. Ray wasn’t being mean; he was providing the accountability that I so desperately needed to get my stuff together. That’s what good friends do.
You can have that kind of accountability, too. You just need likeminded people that are enthusiastic about what you’re doing to have that kind of accountability relationship. I strongly recommend that. Item number three, and the biggest one for me, is I’ve committed to do this, to be consistent with the podcast publishing, and I don’t want to let my friends down. They’re expecting integrity from me regarding that.
I think that can work for you, too. If you’re struggling to get things done, to meet your commitment, look for an accountability partner, someone who understands what it is that you’re trying to accomplish and will hold you accountable in a loving way. I hope that helps.
Wrapping Things Up…
That wraps it up for today. What did we learn today? We learned a couple of things. One is there is an opportunity for you to audit your site and get some SEO lift by doing some good house cleaning here at the beginning of the year. That is well outlined in an article on Search Engine Land.
We talked about this thing that’s going on with Gil and that reminded that HTTPS probably should be on our list. We also talked a little bit about canonical URLs, and that’s a topic that we might get to in the future again, because it’s really important for SEO that you not have multiple URLs going to the same content. Canonical URLs are something that you can control with the Yoast SEO plugin and they are something that you certainly need to pay attention to.
We talked about the importance of seizing the day, having the right mental attitude, and going and crushing some stuff. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to get up tomorrow and I want you to recognize that it’s going to be a productive day for you tomorrow, and I want you to not oversleep.