Why You Should Move from HTTP to HTTPS


I rarely disagree with advice given by authors of articles that appear on Search Engine Land, but in this case, I wholeheartedly, and undeniably, disagree with some recent advice about HTTP and HTTPs sites. In a recent article, Daniel Cristo recommended that “if you’re running a blog, brochure site, news site, or any sort of information site where users don’t provide you with any personal information, I would recommend not using HTTPS.” He provides several reasons, which are completely false and unjustified, and generally gives advice that I disagree with. [Read more…]

Google Search Query Impressions Going Down Drastically?

In Google Webmaster Tools, there is a useful report called the Search Queries report. This report shows your website’s impressions in Google organic search, the clicks to your website, and the average position (of your ranking). Typically, I review this repor from time to time, but I don’t necessarily look at it as often as I look at Google Analytics. What should you do if your impressions and clicks go down drastically? Perhaps like this:

google impressions going down [Read more…]

Google Analytics: Is Google Plus a Referral or a Social Media Site?

While reviewing Google Analytics for a few websites today, it appears that Google Analytics has a problem with deciding whether or not Google Plus is a website–or if it is a social media website. In Google Analytics, some of the traffic to your site will be reported as a referral, while other traffic, seemingly a random number, will be reported as social traffic.

Let’s take a look at a random site that I have Google Analytics access to, and look at referrals from Google Plus. In this case, I filtered the “All Traffic” down to only plus.google.com: [Read more…]

Move from HTTP to HTTPS: Google Traffic 1 Week After Moving

move http to https

Exactly one week ago, I moved my site from HTTP to HTTPS, making my whole entire site serve up content securely. As you may recall, Google officially came out and said that HTTPS is a search engine ranking signal now. One week after I moved the site, here is an update. Overall, traffic from Google organic search is up 9.58 percent. And the overall quality of the traffic is much better, as well. [Read more…]

Google Says Jump: We Say, How High?

high jump over google

Having been in the Search Engine Optimization business for well over 10 years, it’s a shame that we are at a point when Google’s organic search team makes a change to their algorithm, decides on a whim that a legitimate marketing technique is unethical, or makes an official announcement that SSL is now a ranking factor. It’s sad that we’re at a point that when Google says, “Jump!” we say “How High?” [Read more…]

Moving to HTTPS for a Better Search Engine Ranking

Due to Google’s recent official announcement that an https site is a search engine ranking factor, I’ve decided to move my site, BillHartzer.com, to https from http. Just to see if I can get a better search engine ranking for the pages on my website. Currently, I do not accept any sort of payment for the content that I write here on my site, so that’s not the reason I’m moving the site from http to https.


Trust is the biggest factor in my decision to change from http to https, and that’s one major way you can get a better search engine ranking. My web host, Hostdime, offers secure certificates at a very reasonable rate, which is $30 per year for a basic certificate. It’s good for www and non-www. [Read more…]

SEO Firm Impersonates Google, Claims Local Listing to be Deleted

Update: I got a call from a someone who claimed they were a representative of Katapult SEO, based in San Diego. Apparently one of their employees had alerted them to this post, and they wanted to talk to me about it. During the call, I indicated to them that they needed to contact the original poster or recorder of the conversation, and that I was only reporting on this situation, as a blogger. What’s interesting is that they obviously had never read this post (based on the types of questions they were asking). Seriously–if you’re going to call someone about a blog post then don’t ya think you should actually read it before calling them? Maybe that’s besides the point here. Anyhow, it turns out that the caller claimed that this call, recorded below, was a “former employee” acting only on their own. And that “former employee” doesn’t work for the company anymore.

I specifically told this representative of Katapult SEO that they could email me a statement and I would be happy to update this post with the information that they provided. That rep from Katapult SEO never ever emailed me–and the offer still stands. I’d like to hear their side of the story here, and if it was a former employee and they’ve changed their company operating ways, that would be good to hear. I have given them my email address, and it’s on this site. And the offer still stands. I will update this post with the information that Katapult SEO provides, if, in fact, this call is from a company called Katapult SEO.

Here’s the original post:


During an recent unsolicited telemarketing call, a representative from an SEO firm, located in California, claimed that a company’s local business listing on Google Places (now called Google My Business) would be taken down and deleted if they are not paid $299 to re-verify and re-boost the local listing. [Read more…]

Throwback Thursday: Search Engine Watch Circa 1999

Today is Thursday, and every Thursday I try to feature one search engine or search engine website. Today, because of the official announcement that Danny Goodwin is leaving Search Engine Watch, I thought I would feature Search Engine Watch.

Let’s take a look at what Search Engine Watch looked like back when Danny Sullivan owned and operated it, back in 1999:

search engine watch 1999

SEW was a part of Internet.com, and Danny Sullivan was the editor. [Read more…]

How to Remove Semalt.com in Google Analytics

There’s a rogue website that is showing up as a referral in your Google Analytics. Semalt.com bills itself as “Semalt is a professional webmaster analytics tool that opens the door to new opportunities for the market monitoring, yours and your competitors’ positions tracking and comprehensible analytics business information.” Okay, fine. But to be honest with you, most likely you do NOT want any traffic from Semalt.com. In fact, it’s not real visitors, it’s just a “bot” that is wasting your website bandwidth and costing you money. Real visitors are generally not coming from a website called Semalt.com. So, to accurately see your referral and website visitor traffic in Google Analytics, I recommend removing this or “excluding” semalt.com in your Google Analytics tracking. Here’s how to do that.

First, you need to log into Google Analytics. Then, click on the “Admin” tab at the top, as shown below.

google analytics admin tab [Read more…]