How to Format Your ‘Now Provided’ Report – Part 2

AuthorityLab’s Now Provided report is a particularly engaging report that looks at your keyword performance on specific landing pages. I know, sups cool. In Formatting Your Now Provided – Part 1, I went over Keyword, Position, Search Vol, CPC, Competition, Opportunity, Traffic (%), Traffic Cost (%), Num of Results. Formatting these metrics with conditional formatting created a colorful table that was easy to interpret.

Today we will be working with charts and graphs to communicate different wins and action items. We will also use trendlines to communicate how well the keywords have been performing by landing provided report dashboard

If you’re a video type, here is the step by step video.

Click here for step-by-step instructions on formatting your Now Provided report…

My Head is Bruised From All the Headdesking Over Your Keyword Strategies


I have been in the community/social/editing realm for the last couple of years. Recently I put my SEO cap back on and have been reviewing keyword strategies for various clients. It is 2015 and sadly I see that many of the basics are still not known.

I have found that I was wrong in thinking that in the last 3-4 years the basics of SEO were common knowledge and that websites had to have improved. I thought with talk of keywords and SEO on major news networks, schools, business classes, magazines, newspapers, music and even comedy shows that people would know the basics of what to do.

I WAS WRONG! (My husband loves when I say that)

FYI: This is a going back to the basic of basics, ranty article. This is an article for new folks that haven’t read SEO 101. It might not be helpful to you, but send it to your friends that know little about SEO.

Keyword Research – It Is a Thing!

If you are new to the web, websites and online marketing please, please, please pay someone qualified (an SEO) to do keyword research for you.

Anyone that does keyword research for you must ask these basic questions to start:

  • What do you do?
  • What do you offer?
  • Where are the services you offer located?
  • How do you make money?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is common terminology in your field?

The answers to these questions will allow your consultant to discover the keywords you should be focusing on, the keywords you will have difficulty ranking for, and who your direct online competitors are. This research will give you a starting direction that you need.

What are people searching for?

Keyword research helps you understand the types of keywords and phrases people are searching for the most; this is really important! Sometimes business owners get stuck in their own terminology and don’t realize that people are searching for different broader terms or very specific words related to a field.

You only have so many website pages, so which keywords should you focus on within your website? A good consultant will tell you.

Which do you think people would search for, “Tampa personal injury attorney” or “Tampa herniated disc attorney”?

headdeskingI recently saw a legal website that discussed types of back injuries for multiple paragraphs on their “car accident injury” practice area page. Not once did the page say personal injury attorney, car accident attorney, a location or anything else. It focused only on back injuries.


I recommend that people new to optimizing or creating content for a website review these questions again:

  • What do you do?
  • What do you offer?
  • Where are the services you offer located?
  • How do you make money?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is common terminology in your field?
  • What are people searching for?

I would also recommend that you look at competitor websites to see what keywords they are focusing on. Then pick some random large cities and look at other people in the same field, what keywords are they focusing on? With answers to all these questions you have a place to start.

If you see 20 personal injury attorney websites focusing on terms like “personal injury attorney”, “car accident injury attorney”, and/or “wrongful death attorney” then perhaps your number one focus shouldn’t be “back injuries”.

IMPORTANT: You Can’t Rank for Words You Don’t Bother to Use

If the only online marketing you have done is to create a website with content it is important for you to know that you cannot be found for keywords that are not used on your website, period. If you want people to find you while searching for specific keywords you must use those words.

Example: If someone wants to be found for “organic kitten blankets”, but the site only discusses all natural fabric for cats then the odds of being found for “organic kitten blankets” are slim to none. Side note – please watch this video on Interest-Based Searches and see how Google can show your website to those searching for related topics/keywords.

You have to tell search engines what your site is about through your website structure and your content. Your titles, URLs, on-page optimization, content, navigations, categories and resource/blog topics help search engines understand what your site is about.

Recommended Reading: The Beginners Guide to SEO

Blog Posts vs. Pages You Want to Rank

Another thing I have seen lately, that just makes me <headdesk> until the world is blurry, is main pages with no information or keywords and then blog posts that say everything that the pages should be saying!

<headdesk><headdesk><headdesk> WHY?????

WTF Headdesk

Did you know that there are many, many people that never bother to read a website’s blog?

Yep, it is true. The truth is there is a whole generation of people that think getting on a site and looking at the service pages is enough work. The last thing they are going to do is go to a blog and read through months of blog posts to figure out what your business does or offers.

When people can’t find what they need to know quickly they just move on to a different site.

Your home page and navigation is what initially tells everyone, humans and algorithms, what is important about your business and what you offer. The most important information about what you do/offer should be discussed in the main pages of your website. Focus on strong main pages before you ever consider blogging.

For a great example of extremely well done service pages look at

Then What Is a Blog For?

Your blog should support your main website pages and expand upon what it is that you do and offer. People have blogs for various reasons, but I like them to be used as additional educational and helpful information for potential clients and current clients.

Let’s go back to the personal injury attorney that discussed back injuries. It would be wise to have a main page for “personal injury attorney” that could break down the main injury practice areas they help with. Those injury practice areas, like dog bites and car accidents, could link to pages with more information about those specific services and common injuries.

A good idea would be to create resource pages or blog posts that expanded on specific practice areas and offer helpful information for common injuries. So, as people are reading about common car accident injuries they could click on a page or post that focused specifically on something like “common back injuries”.

Don’t Assume Search Engines or Humans Know What You Do

You have to spell things out for visitors and search engines. My recommendation is to make everything as idiot proof as possible – basically, can anyone that looks at your website understand who you are, where you are and exactly what you offer? How easy is it for someone to use and search your website? Your site has to be easy to use and easy to understand.

You also want it to be easy to find, which is why hiring a good SEO is important.

Hiring a Professional is Critical

When you are hoping to rank well on search engines you have to understand that humans are not making the call on where you rank, algorithms do this. For someone that has not spent years studying SEO and practicing it, to understand what search engines want is nearly impossible.

You absolutely have to hire a trusted SEO firm or consultant to help you create a good website, create a marketing strategy, create an SEO strategy and to create content that not only works for you, but also sells what you offer.


I have had many non-SEO people say to me “Keywords are so basic and 101″.  Well, I can see their point, but keywords are a huge part of SEO, of PPC and without them you won’t be found. So please, take some time to do the research and create a website that will help people find you and understand what exactly it is that you offer.

Be True To Thyself, O Small Business Website

My wife recently fell in love with a store here in Nashville. It’s called The Fabric Studio and it’s located in an awkward gentrified building in a semi-industrial area of south Nashville near The Sounds Stadium & Gabby’s “legendary” Burgers.

I was impressed by how much care, attention and loving detail went into making it a totally charming, boutique, sewing shop.

See? Isn't the interior of the Fabric Studio charming?

See? Isn’t the interior of the Fabric Studio charming?

But, as well thought out and well presented the studio itself, I was shocked at the state of affairs for the online version of the business when I opened The Fabric Studio website to get directions to meet my wife there.

What a mess!

Mismatch Between The Real World & Digital

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. – Polonius

I’ve always been amazed at the ability of small business owners to take an empty space and turn it into a quirky and charming extension of their personality. I know that hours and hours were poured into decor selection, painting, furiture choice all to give the business space a sense of identity that is molded and shaped to be ideal for their customers shopping experience.

You know you don’t have the space of a large chain store so you maximize your impact in what you have. I want to walk up to you and say “Good job, small business owner!”

Then I visit your website…if I can even find it. I want to walk up to you and say “What the heck, small business owner?!”

So what’s going on here? Where is the disconnect? Let’s take a look at their website in the same way as you seem to have considered your physical shop.

Your Homepage

The entire home page for the Fabric Studio

That’s it for the homepage…

I completely applaud the inclusion of directions, hours and address. Those fundamentals are definitely missing from many small business sites, so that’s great.

Unfortunately, your site like many other small business websites has forgotten to actually say what you do. You don’t communicate why your store is unique and why people should take the time to come to their business and make a purchase. I mean, that’s why your site exists, right? To drive additional customers to your physical location?

Unlike a storefront window display that entices customers to come in by showing off what you offer, visitors see an empty homepage. That’s a big missed opportunity.

Your Website Platform

Yes, there are premade site builders galore targeted at small business owners. They’re hyped as “turnkey” solutions to solve all your website needs in one easy, overnight solution.

However, you would hesitate if someone was offering a “turnkey” solution for your physical location, wouldn’t you? Certainly, that creative idea that’s in your mind that makes your business unique is not a “turnkey” idea.

Important note about SEO

Always leave a note.

There’s always a catch. With many of these small business site builders, there’s some hitch or problem like sites from Wix needing to bend over backwards to make it’s Flash based websites readable to Google.  The reality is that there is no overnight solution for a website. It takes time and energy to make your storefront match your vision, the same is true of your website.

Blog Not Quite Right

“Why you need a blog” has over 10 million search results, there are so many experts chiming in about the importance of this part of the site.

The content that should be published should be as polished as your floors, or at least as complete as your showroom floor. Your blog should definitely feature have more content on it than your Instagram feed, and be get the same level of attention to detail as your flyers.

How The Fabric Studio Got It Wrong On Images

Be sure to add a caption if you’re using captions.

Your Business Extends Online

The reality is that your presence or lack of presence online is now just as much a part of your business as your physical location.

You have to take the same planning and energy you took to transforming that empty rental space into your perfect business when you approach your website.

Working With Small Businesses

If you’re a freelancer or small marketing firm, you likely have come across many other small businesses who have not quite grabbed hold of digital marketing, what other advice would you give to the Fabric Studio or small businesses like it?

Learn Excel with These Top 4 Resources


Learning Excel can be an intimidating and overwhelming process for marketers. I started learning Excel at the age of 15 in my Mom’s office and didn’t think it was very exciting at the time. Now Excel and I are entangled in a complicated love/hate relationship that would challenge the 50 Shades of Grey plot line. On second thought, that isn’t saying much. 

Enough about my Excel love affair. Let’s journey back to resources that first helped me learn about Excel, and resources that I still use to help me figure out more complex problems.

Laying the Foundation – Lynda Essential Training Course

If you are looking for a complete A to Z course on everything you need to know about Excel, check out This site is an amazing go to for really, any online-technical-skill. This course is about six hours long. So, I would suggest taking a weekend to hash it out, or watch an hour a night for a week. Your Netflix drama series can wait for good data.



  • Working with dates and times
  • Creating simple formulas
  • Formatting fonts, row and column sizes, borders, and more
  • Inserting shapes, arrows, and other graphics
  • Adding and deleting rows and columns
  • Hiding data
  • Moving, copying, and pasting
  • Sorting and filtering data
  • Printing worksheets
  • Securing workbooks
  • Tracking changes

Cost: $25. This is also for unlimited access to all of their courses.

Pro Tip: Set up a reminder for 30 days to avoid a recurring payment after completing the course.

Only the Basics – Excel 101 (Excel for Noobs)

If a six hour course is too much for you right now I made a beginner Excel course for marketers. Now not to toot my own horn, but I did a very extensive blog post with animated gif walk-through on how to start using Excel as a marketer.



  • Formatting document
  • Branding
  • Text formatting
  • Adding Tables
  • Selecting, adding and deleting columns
  • Creating a chart
  • Formatting a chart

Cost: Free

Topics Based TroubleshootingExcelIsFun

If you need topic based help with just about anything in Excel, Mike Girvin does an amazing job of creating focused playlists to learn different areas that are particularly challenging in Excel. Check out these amazing topic based playlists.

I’ve personally learned a lot about formulas from the ExcelIsFun videos. I mean, when he has over 2,000 Excel videos it’s hard not to learn a lot. But the really endearing thing about Mike is that he gets SO excited about Excel. It makes spreadsheets fun!


Cost: Free

Last but not least, Mr. Excel.

Learn ALL THE THINGS – Mr. Excel

Mr. Excel was my first online and unknowing mentor with Excel. (Aside from Annie Cushing)

Mr. Excel has hundreds of videos that are geared toward which ever level of Excel user you are. He releases weekly topic podcasts on everything you need to know how to do in Excel. He doesn’t have the topics playlists like Mike, but he has great descriptions that make it easy to find videos on anything you need.


Adorable sidenote: Mr. Excel and ExcelIsFun made videos together. LOVE.

Cost: Free


Now get out there and learn everything you can get your hands on! :)

Don’t Get Hacked: Steps To Secure WordPress

A couple weeks ago, I was in California and met someone whose site was hacked, and he was completely unaware. I took on the clean-up of his site and set out to make sure that in the future his site was safe from falling prey again.

That process has really sobered me up, and made me realize just how vulnerable some of my sites have been.

The reality is that the best defense is actually having a defense, if you put your head in the sand, you’re gonna get swift kick in the ass.

The Downside Of Popularity

20% of sites are on WordPress,

Just like driving a really common car, like a Honda Civic, there are a lot of vulnerabilities that come from using the most popular website platform. As more people utilize it, the more lucrative it can be for people to learn how to steal or exploit their availability. Since about 20% of sites now use WordPress, it makes it a bigger target for hacking.

Steps To Secure Your WordPress Site

On average, 20,000 hacked sites are identified every day.

According to Sophos Labs, they identify 30,000 new sites a day that are hacked! That’s a shocking number, but even that is incomplete as it only counts those identified as passing malware and not more subtle hacks that involve redirects or injecting link spam.

Here’s what I learned during the experience I mentioned above and from the helpful comments and contributions from several SEO experts on what you can do proactively to prevent it from happening.

Protect Your Login Page

One of the most common methods for hackers to gain access to your site is through brute force username & password guesses. There are a few options that can be used or combined to reduce the risk of having your password stolen.

Block Access to wp-login.php

The best way to protect your WordPress login page from brute force attacks is to block unauthorized users from even getting to the page in the first place. This will require some editing of your .htaccess file if you’re using Apache and your config file if using Nginx. Most hosts will allow this and if yours doesn’t, it may be worth considering a change.

The first and most secure method we will address is to limit access to your wp-admin directory by IP address. This method should only be used if you know what IP addresses you will be accessing the site from and those addresses won’t change on a regular basis. Typically this isn’t a problem, but it is one to keep in mind since you will block yourself from access if you’re not careful. Use the code below as an example for blocking access based on IP. The code also includes a section that unblocks certain files that may be needed by some of your plugins. If you’re using an Apache server, put this code in a .htaccess file within your wp-admin directory.

# Block access to wp-admin - replace x.x.x.x and y.y.y.y with your IP addresses.
order deny,allow
allow from x.x.x.x 
allow from y.y.y.y
deny from all

# Allow access to wp-admin/admin-ajax.php
<Files admin-ajax.php>
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
Satisfy any

If you’re on Nginx, use the following code and replace x.x.x.x and y.y.y.y with your own IP addresses:

error_page  403;
location /wp-admin {
  allow   x.x.x.x;
  allow   y.y.y.y;
  deny    all;
location /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php {
    allow all;

Another method that will block access without the concern of being blocked if your IP changes would be to password protect your login page at the server level. This results in one more level of logging in, but is only a very minor inconvenience. You will want to start with generating a .htpasswd file and uploading it to your server; preferably not in a publicly accessible directory. Once you’ve generated that file and uploaded it to your server, and you’re using Apache, go ahead and add the following code to the .htaccess file in your wp-admin directory (or create the file if it doesn’t already exist). Make sure to update the path in the AuthUserFile line to match the location of the .htpasswd file you created.

# Protect wp-login
<Files wp-login.php>
AuthUserFile /path/to/your/.htpasswd
AuthName "Login Required"
AuthType Basic
require valid-user

If you’re using Nginx, you can use the following code in your configuration:

location /wp-login.php {
    auth_basic "Administrator Login";
    auth_basic_user_file .htpasswd;

If your host allows, you can pair this basic authentication method with fail2ban for Apache or Nginx and create rules where an abusive IP address gets added to your server’s firewall rules and is blocked for a specified period of time.

Plugin Options

Wordfence – This plugin serves as an additional firewall layer on your WordPress installation. There is an array of login security options available such as enforcing strong passwords and locking users out based on failed logins or the username they are attempting to use. For example, since you should never have “admin” as a username, you can add this to a list of usernames that will result in immediately blocking an IP address. This is frequently one of the first guesses hackers make in a brute force attempt and quickly shutting them out based on that simple rule is a good deterrent. Another handy feature is that you can suppress login errors to avoid tipping a hacker off as to whether or not a username is valid.

Login Lockdown – This is a plugin that can be added into WordPress which will block access to the site after a given number of failed login attempts.

So what’s wrong with your password?

Your password is lame

When we make passwords, we either make something that’s really easy to type, a common pattern, or things that remind us of the word password or the account that we’ve created the password for, or whatever. Or we think about things that make us happy, and we create our password based on things that make us happy. And while this makes typing and remembering your password more fun, it also makes it a lot easier to guess your password. Lorrie Faith Cranor

One solution is to use a longer pass phrase:

To anyone who understands information theory and security and is in an infuriating argument with someone who does not (possibly involving mixed case), I sincerely apologize.

Here are some more common sense steps to further secure your password.

  1. Remove employee access to an application when an employee leaves.
  2. DO NOT write passwords down on paper.
  3. Don’t keep passwords in an unsecure spreadsheet or file folder.
  4. Use a pronouncable password, combining vowels and consonents to make something that flows off your tongue like “vadasabi”.
  5. Don’t use monkey, justin or love because they are among the most common words in the hacked password lists floating around the internet.

More Plugins = Less Security

It’s really tempting to say “is there a plugin for this?” unfortunately, that mentality can quickly lead to trouble. Take for example the huge fiasco that happened because of “Rev Slider”. This plugin was included in a slew of very popular themes but had a security vulnerability that ended up causing over 100,000 sites to be hacked!

Over 100,000 sites were hacked due to a single plugin.

What was this plugin actually supposed to do? Build a freakin’ slideshow.

That’s not the only plugin to cause problems. WP Super Cache and W3TC both had major security issues that made them vulnerable to being hacked. Fortunately, those were updated quickly but not every plugin gets the attention and maintenance needed.

Here’s what you should do to limit your plugin vulnerability:

  • Eliminate un-used plugins and themes. There is no reason to open up your site to problems when you’re not even using them.
  • Don’t use a plugin when you can do it yourself. According to Brian LaFranceA good way to approach choosing a plugin vs. writing code for functionality is that a plugin should be used if functionality needs to remain identical even if a theme/design changes. If functionality is set up to fit in with a specific theme, that should be something built into the theme and not through using a plugin.
  • Update RELIGIOUSLY. Monthly is not enough. The more stale your plugins, the more vulnerable you are to exploits targeted at older versions.

Extra Steps To Improve WordPress Security

Setup Google Alerts for spammy keywords related to gambling and medicine - Conrad O'Connell

Conrad O’Connell reminds us that we’re you’re not always going to prevent forest fires, but seeing the smoke early can realy make a difference.


Research the potential vulnerabilities of plugins BEFORE you install them

Doc Sheldon reminds us that a search in time saves nine. Know what you’re adding to your site before you download that nifty sounding plugin.


Use Cloudflare for a CDN and consider using SSL

Brian Alaway thinks you should consider SSL as well as a secure CDN.


Have a backup plan and store that backup somewhere else.

Brian Lafrance reminds you to hedge your bets. He recommends using and having them dumped into Dropbox and Amazon S3.

What Say You? Have Some WordPress Security Tips?

If you have some worthwhile security advice please add it in the comments. I’ll go ahead and add it to the post in an image too.


Track Organic Landing Page Traffic on Your AuthorityLabs Dashboard

Starting today, if you have Now Provided reports set up for domains in your account, you will see a quick view of the number of organic landing pages from Google when visiting your dashboard. We all know that the goal of improved rankings is to drive organic traffic, so monitoring that traffic as easily as possible is key to your success. This data is available through Google Analytics but not in the easy to visualize format we’ve included on the dashboard. This data is pulled in daily to give you an up-to-date view of your organic search progress.


As you can see above, the example site has seen a dramatic increase in traffic to organic pages lately. The rank averages are reasonably flat, so there are likely some keyword opportunities being missed but are available through our Now Provided report.

All accounts will now include an “Organic Pages” column on the dashboard. If you would prefer to not see this data, you can turn the column off in your account settings. Enjoy this awesome new feature!