WordPress Security Update 4.8.2 – Update Immediately

WordPress Core version 4.8.2 has just been released. This is a minor update and a security release which means that your sites will update automatically within the next 24 hours unless you have disabled auto updates.

The update includes a fix to $wpdb->prepare() to help protect against SQLi injection attacks. WordPress core is not vulnerable to SQLi injection attacks directly, but certain plugins and themes may be vulnerable depending on how they use the $wpdb->prepare() function in their code. This fix alone is reason to update immediately to 4.8.2.

The release fixes five cross site scripting vulnerabilities. These are in:
• oEmbed discovery
• The visual editor
• The plugin editor
• In template names
Two path traversal vulnerabilities were fixed. These are:
• In the file unzipping code
• In the customizer

An open redirect was also fixed on the user and term editing screens. 4.8.2 also includes 6 maintenance fixes.

Now that the existence of these vulnerabilities is public, it becomes much more likely that they will be exploited. It is very important that you update as soon as possible to 4.8.2.

To update manually now you can sign into your WordPress site, mouse over the Dashboard on the top left and click ‘Updates’ and complete the update process.

Please share this information with the rest of the community to ensure everyone updates in a timely fashion. Thanks.

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Google to Advertisers: Get Your Mobile Landing Pages Ready

Google is giving notice to AdWords advertisers that AMP landing pages are on the way in two weeks.

AMP landing pages for AdWords were first introduced this past year, at which time Google also gave users the option to test the ads in a beta program.

In two weeks, all AdWords advertisers around the world will be able to use AMP pages as their landing pages.

This gives advertisers the opportunity to create a seamless browsing experience for their potential customers.

For the most part, Google’s search ads are powered by AMP by default. Now these fast-loading ads can lead to equally fast-loading pages.

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New Google link study shows links are as important as ever for ranking well in search

A link study done three years in a row shows how links continue to be a powerful ranking signal and will likely remain that way.

A new ranking study done by Stone Temple Consulting on the importance of links has just been released. The study shows clearly how links are as powerful as ever for ranking in the Google search results.

The study used several models to illustrate why links remain a powerful ranking factor and compared them to the two previous studies the company ran. The tests were done on the same 6,000 queries used in all three studies, so the researchers were able to show how there were no marked changes in the impact of links in the past few years.

In short, the detailed study explains why links are just as important as they were a few years ago and the authors detail why they think links will continue to be important in the foreseeable future.

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Is your Website prepared for Voice Search

Voice search is picking up steam. You can now use your voice to search the web, play music, navigate home, order sushi or get the latest football results. Not a day goes by without news stories about search assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Google’s – uh – nameless service. You might think that voice assistants are taking over the world, but that’s not the case – not yet, anyway. In this article, I’ll elaborate on the rise of natural language and voice searches, plus give you tips to prepare your content for these new types of visitors.

What is voice search?

With voice search, you use your voice to perform actions on the web. In the past, people often laughed at voice assistants because they were slow and had difficulty understanding and answering questions. However, the current generation of assistants is on its way to becoming incredibly sophisticated. Almost every type of query is possible just by uttering it. We’re not there yet, though, to become a real asset to people’s lives, these devices and services have to take it up another notch. Accuracy is often still an issue.

But why voice? For one thing, it’s fast; people can speak much more rapidly than they can type. It’s convenient, because you can work hands-free and, most of the time, get instant, relevant results, be it in answer to a question or performing an action. In addition to that, the developments on using your voice as an interface, have resulted in a context-based system that uses many components to give you relevant results.
While the significant strides were made on mobile devices, it is now at home where voice operated devices find their place. Amazon has sold millions of Alexa enabled devices, and there’s no end in sight. Recently, Google went on the offensive with Google Home; its own smart home assistant.

The 5 Ws

Conversational searches tend to answer the classic 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, why and how. Here are a couple of examples:

• Who designed the London Gate Bridge?
• What do I need for a BBQ?
• When did Blue Peter air on TV for the first time?
• Where can I get the cheapest pizza in the Harrow?
• Why do birds suddenly appear?
• How did Google start?

You see that these natural language, conversational searches encompass more words than our typed searches. These are no keywords, but rather key phrases. If you want to rank for these kinds of phrases, you have to have an answer for these questions. Long-tail keywords play an important part in this. More on that in a minute.

Focus on long-tail keywords

To answer natural language questions correctly, you also need to work on your long-tail keywords. Since these spoken questions contain a lot more words than a typed search command [What is the best restaurant near De Dam in Amsterdam] vs. [Restaurant De Dam Amsterdam], you can use these extra words to rank for. It might make it a bit easier to rank higher for the phrases you want to be found for. You’ll also see that searchers will increasingly use terms like [best] or [nearest] to search for relevant results, so that’s something you need to keep in mind.

Another good way to answer questions people may have is by adding a FAQ to your site or optimizing the one you already have. Collect the questions people ask and write a short, but relevant answer. Search engines can directly use these answers to give searchers a valid reply to their voice search commands.

Make sure your pages are Optimised for mobile use!!!

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Google: you should remove non-working links from your website

On Twitter, Google’s John Mueller said that it was normal website maintenance to remove non-working links from your website.

What is link rot?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_rot

Link rot is the process by which links on individual websites or the Internet in general point to web pages, servers or other resources that have become permanently unavailable. You link to a page and that page becomes unavailable over time. This is a normal process because people close their websites, websites get new owners, a website gets an update, etc.
Outdated links on your website is something that you should deal with. Google wants to show high quality websites on the search result pages. Websites that contain many non-working links aren’t high quality websites.

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Buying a pre-owned domain? Check these 10 things first

Purchasing a previously owned domain can be risky, but we have some tips to help you vet the domain and ensure a smooth site migration.

With over 1 billion websites on the World Wide Web today, it comes as no surprise that the domain name you may want to use is already owned by someone else. Luckily, in some cases, the current owner might be willing to part with it — for the right price.

Acquiring a pre-owned domain can have a drastic impact on your SEO efforts, so it is important to approach such a purchase with caution. It is recommended that you do your due diligence — it’s not uncommon for a domain name to have changed hands many times, and just like buying a used car, it’s often difficult to get the full history.

While examining the SERPs and scanning for any spammy links may be a good first step, it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment to ensure that the domain does not have a manual action penalty or warning from Google. There are many small issues that may not initially be cause for concern; however, in aggregate, these problems can seriously hamper your domain’s ability to rank.

If you’ve bought, or are looking to buy, a pre-owned domain, read below for 10 things you should check before proceeding with a site migration:

1. Google Search Console

Obtaining access to the Google Search Console account is critical for analysing the health of the domain you’re looking to acquire.

2. Google Analytics & Bing Webmaster Tools

If you have access to Google Analytics (GA), poke around the account and make note of any abnormal traffic patterns or unusual URLs receiving organic traffic. You can also look at referral traffic to determine if spammy websites are mainly responsible for driving traffic to the site. If the site does not have GA set up, you won’t be able to backfill the data, therefore making this check null and void.

3. Site indexation (SERP analysis)

Use the site search operator [site:yourwebsite.com] to conduct a Google search, and check for any spammy or malicious landing pages in the SERPs. You can also add on the search operator [inurl:keyword], replacing “keyword” with red flag terms like “online games,” “gambling,” “porn” and so on.

4. Blacklist status

Your domain may be blacklisted if there is a history of sending spammy emails, which may in turn lead to your email server’s IP address getting blocked.

5. Internal & external linking

One telltale sign of domain misuse is link manipulation. A compromised domain may use overly specific anchor text phrases to link out to other spammy content.

6. Anchor text usage

Another important but often overlooked off-page factor is anchor text usage. Anchor text is simply a word or phrase that is hyperlinked and takes a user to your website.

7. Local citations

Local citations that reference your business’s NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) are a critical local ranking signal. A citation is whenever your NAP information shows up on another website or directory. Before migrating to a pre-owned website, you should identify all instances of NAP that appear on the web and update them.

8. Hosting location

While hosting location is not a direct SEO ranking factor, it’s important to at least make sure your website is hosted in the same country where you do business in. In fact, IP location has been shown to impact page speed, which in turn can impact your site’s SEO performance.

9. Domain Authority

Domain Authority (DA), a proprietary metric coined by Moz, aims to predict the “ranking potential” of your website. In an ideal world, the site you are looking to migrate to would have a higher Domain Authority than your current site. The higher the Domain Authority, the more likely you are to appear in the SERPs.

10. Page speed

Last but not least, one of the most important factors to benchmark prior to any migration is page speed.

Final thoughts
Once you’ve completed these 10 checks and resolved any issues, you should feel confident to proceed with your domain migration. Before you begin, there are a few important properties you should make sure are set up correctly so you can start collecting data.

Or if you would like LK Web Media to do all the checks and migration, contact us today >>

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