Richard Cummings

Director of SEO, Social Media, and Web Content Development at The SEO System
Richard Cummings has been practicing online marketing for many years and has setup and optimized hundreds of WordPress sites.He founded The SEO System to provide SEO, social media, and online marketing services and software to businesses.

Does the End of Google Authorship Leave You…Frustrated?

How do you feel about the end of Google Authorship?

How do you feel about the end of Google Authorship?

Google Authorship promised to be a means for authors to establish credibility, authenticity, and build greater audiences for their online content. Given this promise, legitimate authors (and some presumably illegitimate ones) flocked to establish their Google+ identities and apply Google Authorship markup to all of their web content. And then, Google pulled the rug out from the under the whole thing and declared Google Authorship dead.Read More

Richard CummingsDoes the End of Google Authorship Leave You…Frustrated?

Press Releases and SEO: Still Brothers in Arms?

press-release-seoBefore the many Google algorithmic changes, press releases were a great tool in your SEO arsenal to publicize your web content. 

Now, with duplicate content and unearned inbound links incurring high penalties, it’s time to reevaluate this once-proven strategy and ask:  Are press releases and SEO still brothers in arms?

Read More

Richard CummingsPress Releases and SEO: Still Brothers in Arms?

A Secure (HTTPS) Website in 2018: 10 Facts & Myths (and lots of great resources)

In this article, I have placed all the HTTPS/SSL tidbits into a pot and distilled them into these “10 Facts & Myths” about creating secure websites.

What inspired me to do this?

Recent conversations with both peers and client have taught me two things about creating secure (HTTPS) websites:

  1. Many companies still haven’t moved their websites to HTTPS (Learn how to do an HTTPS/SSL WordPress upgrade quickly).
  2. There are a great many misconceptions about the benefits and drawbacks of moving to a secure website.

Also, for more information about these HTTPS fact and myths, be sure to see the resources section below where I present the best articles that I have found on the process and ramifications of creating a secure website.

#1 – Fact: Google sees a secure website as a different website.

A client called me last month and said: “I got our SSL certificate from Hostgator and decided to switch our site over to HTTPS tomorrow.”

“Wait,” I said. “Have you made plans to redirect your pages, images, and all else so that Google knows about this?”

“Oh,” responded the client, “I didn’t know that I needed to do anything like that.”

Many people are unaware of the ramifications of switching their environment to HTTPS — Google see it as an entirely different site. This is ok…if you do it right. See Myth # 6 below.

#2 – Fact: Makes your website appear more professional and trustworthy.

When you visit a secure website, you will see an icon in your browser bar indicating that a website is secure (often with the company name) and when it is not secure, as you see in the photo below. Many visitors feel that this increases the professional look of a site and they certainly feel that their information is more secure. If you’re considering the move to a secure website, both of these facts may be a consideration.

secure unsecure https website messages

#3 – Fact: A Secure HTTPS website encrypts all traffic.

Most people do not know this but with some basic networking tools you can “sniff” out the information being passed between a non-HTTPS website and a client. Here’s a simple video that explains how to do it:

As you see suggested in the video, HTTPS encrypts all traffic to prevent this sniffing.

#4 – Fact: An HTTPS enabled website allows you to see Bing keyword data.

Bing has officially enabled HTTPS for all logged in users. Thus, if you have an HTTPS website, you will be able to see the Bing keyword data of these logged in users. The problem is…not too many people use Bing as a logged in user so this reason alone does not really make a compelling case for switching to a secure environment.

#5 – Myth: A secure website allows you to see Google keyword data.

google provides not keyword data with HTTPSUnlike with Bing, the ability to see Google keyword data would make a valuable case for switching to HTTPS. When Google switched all searches to HTTPS, many in the SEO community were over the moon thinking that they could now see keyword data from the big “G” if they switched their sites to HTTPS. Sadly, this is not the case. Google does not allow you to see keyword data even if you have an HTTPS site. Why not? Well, Google does a re-direct which eliminates keyword data before they take you to the destination site.

#6 – Myth: Setting up a secure website is a snap.

As explained in fact #1 above, many people mistakenly feel that moving their website to HTTPS is a snap. This is not the case. Moving your website to HTTPS takes time and planning. In the article listed below entitled “Moving your website to https / SSL: tips & tricks”, Joost de Valk lists many things you need to be aware of including: “All of your internal links should start to use https, not just to pages, but for images, JavaScript, CSS, etc. This means going through your theme with a fine comb and cleaning all of those up.”

#7 – Myth: It will destroy all of the SEO work that you have done.

While it is true that your HTTPS website will be seen as a different website by Google, your long-term rankings will be maintained if you do everything right.

Interestingly, articles on making the switch to HTTPS that are dated (say before 2012) list many potential problems and heavily advise against switching to HTTPS. However, articles that have been written more recently do not come with as much caution suggesting that Google is now dealing with these HTTPS conversions more efficiently.

#8 – Fact: You may lose rankings for a short time during the conversion.

Because converting to HTTPS is like moving to a whole new website name in the eyes of Google, you may see a temporary drop in your search rankings while the “Google Dance” is being performed. However, provided that you did your conversion to HTTPS correctly with canonical URLs and/or redirects, your rankings should rebound quickly.

#9 – Myth: Converting to HTTPS will slow down your website.

secure-website-https-slowThis is one of the primary concerns of most web administrators. It is known that HTTPS requires slightly more overhead than HTTP because it has to encrypt all of the information before sending it along. So then, why isn’t this a fact rather than a myth? Because, when setup correctly, some people have actually realized faster speeds with HTTPS. In his article “Moving your website to https / SSL: tips & tricks” (see below), Joost de Valk, after implementing a Google protocol called SPDY, writes: ” It makes your website faster and funnily enough that means that your fully SSLed site could actually be faster for those people who visit your site with modern browsers than your plain http site.”

#10 – Fact: In the future, HTTPS will allow you to rank better.

https SEO futureThis may be a contentious fact but I’m keeping it in the fact column nonetheless. Sometimes, you have to go with intuition…and what Matt Cutts says. In reading an abundance of articles on this topic, one thing is clear: The user experience is better with HTTPS. Users feel more secure and, in fact, are more secure in the way that their data is being transmitted. We all know that Google favors a better user experience. Then, on top of that, we learn that “Matt Cutts said at SMX West that he would personally love to make it (an HTTPS website) part of the ranking algorithm.” We all know that when Matt Cutts says something, we see it factored into the future algorithm. When will it happen? That is anybody’s guess but I would say that within one to two years that an HTTPS website will give you a boost in the SERPs.

Creating a Secure Website: Summary

Well, that’s it for the “10 Facts & Myths” about securing your website. Be sure to view the great articles that I have listed below on this topic. And, as always, you are invited to add your two cents in the comments section below.

Secure (HTTPS) Websites: Great Articles and Resources From Around the Web

Should we move to an all HTTPS web? Great article by Joost de Valk about HTTPS, keyword data, and the future of HTTPS. You will also enjoy Moving your website to https / SSL: tips & tricks which is essentially a post-mortem on the Yoast conversion to HTTPs and offers many valuable tricks that you may not have otherwise considered.

We Analyzed the HTTPS Settings of 10,000 Domains and How It Affects Their SEO – Here’s What We Learned: Christoph Engelhardt writes an informative data-driven post about the current state of HTTPS implementation and found that over 90% of domains had a sub-optimal HTTPS implementation.

SSL Web Sites Don’t Get Ranking Boost In Google : Barry Schwartz at SEO Roundtable shares his thoughts on switching to HTTPS and provides key considerations before converting to a secure site. He offers further commentary in an article entitled Google: Want To Switch To HTTPS? Go Ahead!

SEO Aspects of Moving from http to https: In this article circa 2012, you will notice that the author points out the negatives of converting to a secure website and suggests you may want to consider long and hard before doing so.

Changing complete website from http to https: This is a Google forum which provides a case study in which a user saw his SERP rankings disappear (but then reappear a day later) after converting to HTTPS.

Impact of migrating whole site from HTTP to HTTPS: In this case study, an “SEO expert” informs a client that he must start from scratch after the HTTPS migration. Thankfully, someone informs the poster of the correct steps to take so that their transition can go smoothly.

Understanding Always On SSL and SEO: Jimmy Edge at Symantec talks about the many benefits to visitors by having a full SSL-enabled website. the road to SSL: Nick Craver of Stack Overflow often gets asked by users why they do not yet have an SSL connection. He points out that it is simply not a matter of flipping a switch. Moving to a fully secure website takes time, planning, and effort.

If you have any other great resources that you would like us to reference below, send them along.

Richard CummingsA Secure (HTTPS) Website in 2018: 10 Facts & Myths (and lots of great resources)
Social Media First Impressions

Social Media “Impressions”: What Impression is Your Business Creating?

Social Media First ImpressionsHave you ever considered doing business with a company only to look at their social media profiles and deciding to go with another company?

I certainly have and perhaps you too.

Many executives don’t understand the value of social media marketing.  They want hard data to determine the exact ROI that social media can provide their company.  But, in this scenario, where is the hard data?  A person considered doing business with your company until they socially investigated you.  And guess what?  Your company left the wrong impression.Read More

Richard CummingsSocial Media “Impressions”: What Impression is Your Business Creating?

On-Page SEO Optimization In 2019: How to Get the #1 Spot in Google with Great On-Page SEO!

On Page SEO Analysis in 2019With some quick on-page SEO optimization, you can get to the top of Google using these 7 techniques.

Don’t believe me?

Well, take a look at the picture on the top right of this post. That’s where my page about online buying behavior in 2018 ranks for its key term “Who Buys Online”.

Following the on-page SEO checklist below, you too can achieve similar rankings for terms that are not too competitive.

Why? The answer is simple. The majority of web pages still do not have well-crafted or even basic on-page SEO to rank well within the search engines.

Read More

Richard CummingsOn-Page SEO Optimization In 2019: How to Get the #1 Spot in Google with Great On-Page SEO!
Google Plus Promoted Ad Posts

Google+ Promoted Posts: Do They Exist Yet?

Question: Does Google+ offer a way to promote posts? I have had success in this arena with Facebook and LinkedIn and I would like to do the same for Google+. Possible? -Cecelia, Portland, OrRead More

Richard CummingsGoogle+ Promoted Posts: Do They Exist Yet?

Minimalist Website Design & SEO: Creating Sites for People and Search Bots

Minimalist Web Design: Where's the Text?

In 2014, the endless enmity between the web design people and the SEO specialists should have subsided but it hasn’t. I constantly come across web designers and SEO specialists in conflict. Of late, I have seen both sides arguing over minimalist web design. In this post, I’ll review the challenge of minimalist web design as it relates to SEO and point out a shining, if not “forceful”, example of how minimalist web design and SEO do not have to be mutually exclusive. Read More

Richard CummingsMinimalist Website Design & SEO: Creating Sites for People and Search Bots

Where Can I Download Older Versions of WordPress?


Find and Download Old WordPress Versions

Question: I have a client who uses an older version of WordPress and I need to duplicate their environment. Do you know if there is a place where I can download older versions of WordPress. Thanks! -Steven, Miami, FlRead More

Richard CummingsWhere Can I Download Older Versions of WordPress?

Facebook “Ask a Question” Polling Feature Gone

One of the great social engagement features for Facebook business pages was “Ask a Question”. It’s now gone. I would do a Facebook poll on what you think of this, but I can’t! However, we can do our own Ask a Question Poll right here, right now.Read More

Richard CummingsFacebook “Ask a Question” Polling Feature Gone

Social Media Posting Times, Local SEO, and your “Google Image”…

In this week’s newsletter, we’ll tell you the best times to post on social media, provide valuable local SEO tips, and tell you why your “Google Image” may look downright bad unless your resize it!

This is a copy of our newsletter dated September 13th, 2013.Read More

Richard CummingsSocial Media Posting Times, Local SEO, and your “Google Image”…

What is the best time to post on social media?

Social-Media-best-time-to-postQuestion: I am wondering what are the best times to post for the various social media sites. I use The SEO System as my primary SEO and social media software and so, as I do my daily social media updates, I am wondering when they will be most effective? Thanks in advance for your help. -Bethany, Phoenix, AZRead More

Richard CummingsWhat is the best time to post on social media?

How To Facebook For Business

How To Facebook For BusinessIn this article, we are going to look at “How To Facebook For Business”–the social engine optimization of Facebook. We will review why you need a Facebook business page, how to create your Facebook company page, attract Facebook likes, and update content so that your Facebook presence brings more visitors, both to your website and your Facebook company page.

Facebook, as we all know, is the gorilla of social media. What once was a website just for friends is now a critical business tool. Your business must have a Facebook page. Read More

Richard CummingsHow To Facebook For Business

LinkedIn Business Tips: How To Social Media Marketing Plan for LinkedIn!

If you are not leveraging the power of LinkedIn in for your business, you are missing critical social media opportunities. In this article, we will provide you with critical LinkedIn business tips, demonstrating how to optimize LinkedIn to increase search and social media traffic and achieve your social media marketing goals.

LinkedIn Business TipsRead More

Richard CummingsLinkedIn Business Tips: How To Social Media Marketing Plan for LinkedIn!

Google+ Image Size: How Can I Shrink It?

google-plus-cover-photoQuestion: Google+ recently changed their default image size for cover photos and it’s way too big for my liking. Is there any way to adjust the size of the new Google Plus cover image for my company page? -Mike, McLean, VARead More

Richard CummingsGoogle+ Image Size: How Can I Shrink It?