Site migrations are probably not on most people’s fun list. Alas, sometimes they’re necessary to ensure the continued health of a website. Once you’ve decided you need to do a migration, it’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing and make a plan for how to approach things beforehand. Whether you’re moving from HTTP to HTTPS, switching your TLD, or moving to another domain: think about what you need to change, and make sure you can easily pinpoint the cause if something goes wrong.

In any case, take into account that you may experience lower traffic, the first few weeks after your migration, simply because your new URLs need to be properly indexed again. If everything goes well and you don’t break things, your rankings will improve over time. Let’s discuss a case where this might happen in some more detail in today’s Ask Yoast!

Anthony Spitery emailed us about his situation:

Our website ranks well in Google but it’s a subdomain of another URL that is no longer registered. We want to move to another host and we’re wondering what the SEO impact would be if we turned the subdomain into the primary domain. Do we lose our ranking?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

The impact of a site migration

“Well, yes, you’ll lose rankings, because you have to migrate it, so you’ll have to take a bit of a hit. It’s probably a better idea in the long run, though, so I would still do it. But you have to realize that for somewhere between three and six months you will take a loss in traffic. That loss in traffic can vary: I’ve seen less than 10%, but I’ve also seen more than 40%. So, it can be quite a painful experience.

But it’s worth it in the long run, especially if that other domain is not used anymore, because otherwise, that reflects poorly on your business as well. So I would take the hit, and do it. Good luck.”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read more: Domain names and their influence on SEO »

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Writing content for another site as guest author or blogger can have many benefits. It could help you get more exposure, especially if you’re writing for a site that’s a lot bigger than yours. Working with other sites also gives you the opportunity to build potentially worthwhile (business) relationships and broaden your network. You might even get paid for your guest articles. Another obvious advantage, of course, is gaining valuable backlinks to your site.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should start sending out loads of mediocre articles to every blog that’s even remotely relevant to your own. A better strategy: guest-write great content for the right website, perhaps a few guest posts, and engage with the audience: you’ll surely get noticed.

But, once you’ve invested a lot of time in writing a great article that you’re very proud of, odds are you also want to put that content on your own site. Preferably without creating duplicate content issues. What are your options, in that case?

Yossi sent us a question that shows this dilemma:

I sometimes write articles for a third party website. I’d also like to put them on my own site. But I noticed the other site set a rel=”canonical” attribute pointing to their page. So, how can I put the articles I wrote on my site and benefit from them, without getting a penalty from Google?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Reposting guest-authored content

“The problem is, Yossi, if you publish them on that other site first, and that other site is bigger than yours, then the chance of you ranking with that content is close to zero.

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So, if you want to rank with content, you need to decide where to put it first, and otherwise, you have to put a canonical on that third-party website to yours. But if they’re paying you to write that, or if there’s another sort of deal, they’ll probably not be willing to do that. So, decide where you want to rank with content, publish it there first, otherwise put a canonical from the page that you want not to rank to the page that you want to rank.

But if you can’t do any of that, then I would not go through the trouble of publishing it again on your own site. Because it really doesn’t make all that much sense. And you’d be better off just publishing a short snippet on your own site, saying, “Hey, I wrote this on that other site.” Good luck.”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read more: The ultimate guide to content SEO »

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As much as we advocate holistic SEO here at Yoast, there will always be people turning to the dark side, employing less than savory techniques for their own gain. When someone targets a website with actions intended to lower its ranking in the SERPs, it’s called ‘negative SEO’.

One way people can try to damage a site’s rankings, is by getting loads of unnatural, shady links to point to a website. Now, you shouldn’t worry about being the target of a negative SEO attack like that the moment you notice a drop in your rankings! In most cases, the cause is something else. But, if you ascertained that there’s suddenly a great many shady backlinks to your site, it may be time to take action. Google’s disavow links tool allows you to ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site. But is it OK to use this tool, and is it always necessary? Let’s discuss in today’s Ask Yoast!

Shant emailed us about this predicament:

I noticed about 18,000 links to my domain in Google Search Console from a few unethical websites. I suspect someone is targeting me with negative SEO, but my rankings are currently not affected. Should I still disavow these 18,000 links to my domain or could this harm my ranking? Or will Google’s algorithm realize this is a negative SEO effort and ignore them?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Dealing with bad backlinks

“Well, if you don’t want those links, then disavowing them doesn’t really hurt you. If you know how to disavow them, by all means do it. And you can disavow at a domain level, so if they only come from a few domains then just disavow those entire domains. If they’re not links you’re proud of, then they’re probably not helping you rank either.

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But, if it’s not really hurting your rankings at the moment, then you can also just do nothing because, yes, Google will usually figure out a lot of this by itself and say, “Hey, these domains are really, really shady and we should not allow these links to do anything. Good luck.”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read more: Clean up your bad backlinks »

 

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Pinterest is a pretty popular platform these days. It’s basically a search engine, with a social aspect. So, making your images appealing for sharing on Pinterest can be a great idea. And not just if you have a mom-blog or DIY site! If you use Pinterest right, it can help you drive more traffic to your site, put your products in the spotlight, or gain more visibility for your business.

Pinterest images often have a specific ‘look’. Tall images are most compatible with the way the Pinterest feed is designed. Some text in the image can also work well, to get people’s attention and give them an idea of where the image will lead them. While an image like this is well-suited for Pinterest, you probably don’t want to put it on your website like that. But you still want to provide people who pin your image straight from your post with a good Pinterest image. So, what to do? There are ways to use HTML code to hide a Pinterest image ‘underneath’ the regular images in your post. That way, people get the tall Pinterest image when they pin from your post. But, what does Google think about such practices?

Blake Score emailed us her question on the subject:

What is your opinion about hiding Pinterest sized images in your post with HTML code? Doing this makes for a strong pin when people pin to Pinterest straight from your post. It seems to work from a Pinterest SEO perspective, but what does Google think?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Hiding Pinterest images in your post

I honestly don’t think Google minds as much, but I hate all the hacks I’m seeing around how people get their proper pages on Pinterest. So, we are currently talking to Pinterest about improving that entire workflow. About maybe allowing for specific meta tags for Pinterest, so that we can just put an image like that in a meta-tag and not have to put it hidden in a page, which is a dirty hack and can always lead to problems in the long run.

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So, for now it works. Keep doing it because it’s worth the traffic. In the long run, I hope we’ll come up with a better solution. Good luck.”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read on: Pinterest Marketing for your business »

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Using testimonials on your site (the right way) is always beneficial, whether your goal is more sales, or more subscribers, etc. Providing social proof that your product or blog is awesome will help convince people that giving your their money or time is worth their while. While you can certainly use written testimonials, video testimonials are a great way to show that other people, real people, are happy with what you have to offer.

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A good testimonial on video should be authentic and to-the-point. You don’t want it to look scripted, so it’s believable. And if it’s too long and too many aspects of a product are covered, viewers will get bored and won’t remember the most important takeaways. So, in short, have a nice and relaxed conversation with the person giving the testimonial, but think about what you want highlight in this testimonial beforehand, so the conversation can focus on that. After you invest your time and effort into creating the perfect video testimonial, you’ll obviously want to put it to good use. But, how do you do that?

Jessica Martinieri was wondering the same thing:

I’m going to employ video testimonials from my company. Besides adding these videos to my website what more can I do to fully benefit from them and spread the word? Is simply adding them to Facebook and other social media okay?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Using video testimonials

“Well, simply adding them is not enough. You have to share them, you have to be proud of them and show why you’re proud of them.

You can also ask the people that you’ve taken the testimonial from to share them as well. Use them in any way that you can. You can also optimize them a bit. If you’ve done specific things for people that you’d like them to talk about, make sure that they talk about that. Also, add a transcript to those videos. And put them on YouTube, and people will find you on YouTube for the terms mentioned in that video. Sometimes it’s that simple. Good luck!”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read on: Testimonials: Increase your visitor’s trust »

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It’s a phenomenon that’s probably a bit surprising when you first hear about it: when paying for Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords), you may just notice your organic rankings going up as well. This may not immediately make sense to you. After all, why would Google give you a ‘free boost’ or something like that?

Truth is, investing in Google Ads won’t directly affect your organic rankings. But that doesn’t mean it’s just a coincidence if you notice your organic rankings and/or traffic improve afterwards. So, what’s going on then? What’s the correlation here?

Mathias was wondering the same thing, and sent us this question:

Since we started paying Google Ads [AdWords] for main keywords, we’ve also doubled organic traffic, mostly with related other keywords (and sites). Does advertising with Google Ads [AdWords] affect organic SERPs? Or do you see any indication for a correlation between paid and organic traffic?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Google Ads and organic rankings

“This is a much-debated topic in the SEO world. The thing is, that as your overall site engagement increases, your site usually does better in search as well. It doesn’t matter whether that increase in site engagement comes from Ads [AdWords] traffic, Facebook traffic, or anywhere else. If you get more traffic to your site, more people search for your brand, and are talking about you online, you will do better in the search. It’s that simple.

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So, it doesn’t relate directly to you paying for Ads [AdWords], it relates to you having more website traffic overall, and to people talking more about your brand. It works like that. And yes, that makes it worth even more, I guess. Good luck.”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma to which you can’t find the answer? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read more: SEO basics: What does Google do? »

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It can be quite a search to find the perfect WordPress theme. One that has a design you like, is nice and fast, and has all the functionalities you need. So, imagine you’ve finally found a theme you like, that answers all your needs, only to realise you’re not happy with the way it generates the category pages. Terribly frustrating, right?

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You know that category pages are important for your SEO efforts, so you want them to be to your liking. But what can you do? Is creating a clever workaround a good solution? And how is your SEO affected when you do that? In this Ask Yoast, I’ll discuss what you should consider before you go for a fix like that.

Saurabh emailed us a possible workaround for creating a category page:

I can’t style my category pages the way I want because they are dynamically generated. I thought of the following workaround: creating a regular page for each category, styling it and adding a blog module to show the right items and redirecting the default category to these pages. Is that a good solution, SEO wise?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Building your category pages

“Well, from an SEO perspective, it might work, but it might make changing themes later on, really a bit of a hassle.

So, I would not do that. I would just go with the theme that already allows you to do what you want to do on the category pages themselves. That probably means you have to go with a bit more of a builder, something like DV, or Elementor or Beaver Builder which allows you to do a lot more on those pages. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read more: Using category and tag pages for SEO »

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If you have two very similar sites in two different languages, you may wonder whether you need to implement hreflang. Will Google recognize both sites as ‘stand-alone’ websites, and is that what you want? While translated content isn’t considered duplicate content, it may still be worth your while to actively point users to the right domain with hreflang.

For those that aren’t well versed in technical SEO, implementing hreflang will probably take a lot of time and something might even break. If that’s the case for you, should you still go to great lengths to implement hreflang? I’ll dive into that in this Ask Yoast!

Moria Gur sent us her question on using hreflang:

I have two sites with two different domains for coloring pages, one in Hebrew and one in English. The images and text are similar (but in a different language). Should I use hreflang in this case? Or will Google recognize both as ‘stand-alone’ websites?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

When to use hreflang

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“Well, yes, Google will recognize both as stand-alone websites and there’s nothing wrong with them. Adding hreflang might give you a bit of an edge on both sites, but it’s also a lot of work. So, if you’re doing well with both sites right now, I would not do that, just because all the work involved is probably more work than it will return in terms of investment.

If you are not doing too well, or one is doing much better than the other, then maybe it’s worthwhile trying that. And you could just try that on a subset of the pages, and hreflang those properly to the other one. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: hreflang: The ultimate guide »

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A page that is commonly found on all kinds of websites, is the FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. Commonly asked questions or remarks from customers/visitors are addressed on this page. When you visit a site looking for an answer to a specific question, the FAQ page is probably one of the first pages you’ll check.

There are several ways an FAQ page can benefit your site. For starters, it can save you time, if you regularly have to answer emails asking similar questions. In addition, a good FAQ page shows professionalism and expertise, and therefore could help improve your visitor’s trust. A great answer to a potential buyer’s question might tip the balance toward a sale. So, you’ll understand that it’s certainly worthwhile to consider adding an FAQ page to your site, and give some thought to how you do that. Let’s dive in a bit further in this Ask Yoast!

Francesco Fredduzzi emailed us his question on FAQ pages and SEO:

From an SEO-perspective, what’s the best way to create an FAQ page for my website? Should I create a subdomain? Is it better to have a collapsible list (question + answer) on the same page, or a list of links to specific posts that answer each question?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Creating an FAQ page from an SEO perspective

“It really depends. First of all, do not create a subdomain. Make these pages on your own website. Second, if they’re long answers, then there’s nothing wrong with creating individual pages that answer those questions. But if they’re short answers, then the best user experience and thus, usually the best thing to do for Google is to put them on one page and create a larger FAQ page.

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Now there’s all these efforts going on in Schema to make things like FAQs more easily marked up so that we can detect what is a question and what is an answer. I suspect we’ll have better solutions for this within the next six months. So stay tuned, subscribe to Yoast.com and make sure that you get all our news. Good luck.”

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In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO conundrum you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: What is UX (and why bother)? »

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Updating ‘big’ things on your site can have quite an impact. You may well be facing (slightly) lower rankings or traffic for a while after changing things like your URL structure, or switching to a different TLD, for example. Sometimes, there’s little you can do to avoid that, other than properly implementing the changes and redirecting when necessary.

So, how about when you update and improve images on your site? Especially if some of your images are ranking well, you want to avoid losing those positions when updating images. How do you do that? You’ll find the answer in today’s Ask Yoast!

Bryan Fly sent us his question about updating images:

We want to make some improvements to the images on our site. The last time we did that we lost a lot of image rankings. My question is how do we update our images without losing organic positions on them?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Updating images without losing rankings

“Well, Bryan, if you change them on the spot so you keep the same URL and you don’t change anything around them, you really shouldn’t be losing image rankings.

If you change anything around them, then Google has to index all of that and that will take a lot of time. So keep the same URLs, it’s basically the suggestion. Good luck!”

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Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO conundrum you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: Image SEO: Optimizing images for  search engines »

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