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When seeking a candidate with the ideal SEO attributes, the ultimate fit for an SEO with potential regardless of experience and education was one with the characteristics of a grandmaster chess player.

SEO is no different. You have to be able to see the whole board all the time and keep future strategies in mind while you play the tactical game of anticipation, attack, defense and reevaluation as the other player, or in this case, the customer makes counter moves, or the search engine king changes the tactics.

The SEO expert must be creative, curious, data-driven, detail-oriented, self-starting, strategic, tactical and a team player all at the same time. He or she must be a systems thinker and keep the big picture in focus since every move impacts the outcome.

The SEO expert has to be part data scientist, or at least know their way around data so they can gain the insights necessary to understand the SEO strategy. Technology decisions will drive marketing capabilities, customer experiences, synergistic corporate integration, competitive positioning and even organizational efficiencies. The potential SEO expert has to understand technology to be able to operate in the new SEO environment.

It all starts with hiring the right people that fit into the team already in place with complementary skills and a burning desire to learn every day. The job of SEO is a constantly evolving discipline that requires a sharp mind and a creative attitude – a genius with an indomitable spirit to get the job done.

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#1 Keep WordPress Themes and Plugins Updated

This seems like a no brainer, but I can not tell you how many times I will log into a clients admin of their wordpress website and see many pending updates. We hear about vulnerabilities in certain themes and plugins each month. Many of them are updated by their developers regularly. If you don’t update old plugins or themes, you might get hacked. If you have multiple websites, you may want to rely on solutions such as ManageWP to handle the updates.

#2 Move your wp-config file one level up

Move your wp-config.php file one directory up is a good practice (some argue it is not but I disagree). Make sure you get the permissions right.

#3 Monitor user activities

Know what happens in your community and who may be trying to hack it is very important. You will always have a better chance to figure out what is going wrong when you can refer to activity logs.

#4 Monitor file changes

Certainly not all hack attacks happen overnight. Sometimes, hackers take weeks to implement their plan. By monitor file changes on your website, you will be able to catch them before they can do real damage.

#5 Backup your website

This is a no brainer. Disasters happen all the time. If you do not have your file backups stored offsite, you are going to have a difficult time bouncing back. VaultPress is a great backup solution for WordPress. These online backup tools can also get the job done well.

#6 Follow basic & best practices

Many articles have been written on simple steps you can take to make WordPress secure. Even if you don’t have time to keep up with WordPress security articles, you can use security plugins to help you figure out the weaknesses of your site.

#7 Limit login attempts

Attacks are not always sophisticated. But you should not let hackers mess with your login page. Using a plugin to limit login attempts is the least you can do to keep strangers out.

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Sometimes you wonder if your content is really any good. Sure, you worked hard to write it, but you’re a business owner, not a professional writer. One of the biggest struggles content writers have is producing enough content and simultaneously keeping the quality high. That’s something professional writers must work through on a daily basis.

#1 Start Brainstorming As Soon As You get An Idea

You can wait until it’s time to produce your content to think about what you want to say. But it’s often easier to begin developing your ideas before it’s time to write. To do that, as soon as you get the idea. By stepping into research mode every time you browse the Web, you can often have your entire outline finished before it’s time to sit down and write.

#2 Keep It Easy To Read

Most people read online by scanning the page for individual words or phrases, headings and other visual cues. Studies have shown that reading from a screen is more tiring and therefore about 25% slower than reading from paper – hence scanning becomes a technique that most employ.

Give them 15 to 30 seconds on each post, at the end of which you ask them what the post was about. You’ll quickly get a sense of how they’ve interacted with your blog.

#3 Use Effective Titles – More Verbs, Less Nouns

You have heard: first impressions are important, well that has never been more important than with your headlines. Treat your title as an mini advertisement for your work. Take at least a few minutes before hitting publish to not only make sure your post is in order – but that your title is going to do everything it can to maximize the chances that people will engage with what you have to say.

#4 Mind The Gap – The Curiosity Gap That Is

That is, the headline needs to be tantalizing enough to get a reader to click through, but mustn’t give away the whole story. Curiosity is an innate in humans, and every TV network, movie, blog, book, and other form of media takes advantage of it. As you know, your headline and image grabs attention. Curiosity, on the other hand, helps you keep attention.

#5 Find A Unique Angle of Approach

You may cover a trending topic that other content marketers are also writing about — but only if you add to the conversation, not repeat it. Try to make a new point or find a unique angle for talking about the topic. Otherwise, find something else to talk about.

#6 Kill the Hype – Keep It Real

Your readers don’t want to waste time on content that isn’t accurate and trustworthy. So the rules are: no hype and no stretching the truth. Hype tends to make people feel like they’re being manipulated — and no one likes that. People will only see you as a resource if they can trust you. That’s why it’s so important to research your topics. If you present a surprising fact or figure, you need to back it up. Provide your source. If you quote someone or reference a book or report, link to it.

#7 Make it scarce

The team from Takipi analyzed a bunch of tech blogs to see which posts were shared more on social media than others, and what they had in common. One of the things they found was that using negative, dark and aggressive words in titles lead to more shares.

For instance, including the words no,without and stop lead to more shares that more positively-framed titles using words like do or start. Another part of this finding was that aggressive or violent-sounding words encouraged more social shares, as well. For instance, words like kill, dead and fearseem to be more shareable.

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What To Look For On A Resume

End hiring polices based a candidate’s GPA in school, as well as policies giving useless interview brainteaser questions, in favor of structured behavioral questions that have a clearly defined rubric for how people on all sides of the equation should be assessed. When seeking a candidate with the ideal SEO attributes, the ultimate fit for an SEO with potential regardless of experience and education was one with the characteristics of a grandmaster chess player.

Look For Passion

You have to be able to see the whole board all the time and keep future strategies in mind while you play the tactical game of anticipation, attack, defense and reevaluation as the other player, or in this case, the customer makes counter moves, or the search engine king changes the tactics.

The SEO expert must be creative, curious, data-driven, detail-oriented, self-starting, strategic, tactical and a team player all at the same time. He or she must be a systems thinker and keep the big picture in focus since every move impacts the outcome.

What To Ask

How do you deal with ambiguity? Can you provide an example of a time when you made a decision on ambiguous data?

How comfortable are you explaining quarterly results? Can you provide an example of a time when you did? How did it go?

How would your co-workers describe your interpersonal skills? What words would they use to describe you? Why?

Can you talk about a time when you were able to negotiate a strategic change when others were against your proposal? How did you go about it?

These types of questions get at the heart of important traits in a search marketer. While interviewing, look to find someone who is passionate about technology and who has the ability to influence others, deal with ambiguity and communicate effectively. Given that SEO needs to integrate with other cross-functional areas, interpersonal skills are also very important in learning how to staff your organization for success.

The SEO expert has to be part data scientist, or at least know their way around data so they can gain the insights necessary to understand the SEO strategy. Technology decisions will drive marketing capabilities, customer experiences, synergistic corporate integration, competitive positioning and even organizational efficiencies. The potential SEO expert has to understand technology to be able to operate in the new SEO environment.

It all starts with hiring the right people that fit into the team already in place with complementary skills and a burning desire to learn every day. The job of SEO is a constantly evolving discipline that requires a sharp mind and a creative attitude – a genius with an indomitable spirit to get the job done.

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1. Know your surroundings

If you don’t know anything about Linux, Unix, Apache, and other solutions you are using to power your website, you are going to have a very difficult time keeping your server secure. For instance, those of you who know your Linux can rely on tools such as rkhunter to look for backdoors. The same approach applies to WordPress too. You should spend a considerable amount of time to get yourself familiar with how themes and plugins affect your site’s performance and security.

2. Stay Updated!

Keeping your wordpress install, themes, and plugins updated should go without saying, but this can not be stressed enough. A majority of vulnerabilities comes from themes and plugins that are not up to date. If you don’t update old plugins or themes, you might get hacked. If you have multiple websites, you may want to rely on solutions such as ManageWP to handle the updates.

3. Be Choosy About Your Plugins

Be sure to do a little due diligence when you select a plugin to use. You should be sure that the plugin developer is active. You can view these details in the wordpress plugin depository. Check to see when the last update was, check to see how many times its been downloaded, check the user ratings. Not all plugin developers write secure code. Unless you rigorously test every plugin that you install on your website for security issues, you should try to limit your choices to those you feel confident about using.

4. Remove Admin User

A very basic practice that many WordPress users follow these days. There are multiple ways to do it too

5. Restrict Admin Access by IP

There are a number a different techniques to accomplish this task. You can use plugins, these plugins limit the number of times someone can get username/password pair wrong. It alerts you when your site is under attack and bans abusive IPs. You can manage the .htaccess file, if you are using Apache as your main web server, you could use your .htaccess file to harden WordPress.

6. Move your wp-config file

Moving your wp-config.php file one directory up is a good practice. Make sure you get the permissions right.

7. .htaccess optimization

.htaccess files are very important. You can use them to protect certain parts of your site and make your site run more smoothly.

8. Use Secure FTP

You should not download/upload files to your server without enabling SFTP on your server first. Ask your web host to help you out if you don’t know how to do this.

9. Backup your website

This shoud be a no brainer. Disasters happen all the time. If you do not have your file backups stored offsite, you are going to have a difficult time bouncing back. VaultPress is a great backup solution for WordPress.

10. Monitor file changes

Not all hack attacks happen overnight. Sometimes, hackers take weeks to implement their plan. By monitor file changes on your website, you will be able to catch them before they can do real damage.