• ow to take control of Windows 10 updates and upgrades (even if you don’t own a business)

    How to take control of Windows 10 updates and upgrades (even if you don’t own a business)

    Just upgraded to the latest Windows 10? Our to-do list

    This article has been extensively updated to incorporate changes in Windows 10. The most recent update was January 17, 2018.

    Microsoft delivered Windows Update for Business (a layer of configuration options that controls the free Windows Update service) as part of the very first feature update to Windows 10 four months after its initial 2015 release.

    Since then, this much-needed feature has evolved steadily. It allows IT pros to set update policies for an organization. Using settings not available on consumer Windows editions, they can defer and delay updates and upgrades until they’ve been proven safe and reliable.

    With the help of Windows Update for Business, you can delay receiving Patch Tuesday updates for up to 30 days. If you’d rather wait a week or two to ensure that an update won’t cause problems on a mission-critical PC, you can set a deferral period of, say, 14 days, giving yourself two weeks to monitor feedback from other users before the update automatically installs.

    In addition, you can defer so-called feature updates (the twice yearly major version upgrades) by about four months by opting to wait until Microsoft declares that update ready for widespread deployment; you can add up to 365 days of additional deferral time after Microsoft makes a feature update available to your servicing channel in Windows Update.

    Originally, all of these deferral options required the use of Group Policy settings, which are designed for network administrators to manage large groups of machines using Active Directory on a Windows domain.

    You can use those same Group Policy settings on your own unmanaged PC, with no domain required, by using the Local Group Policy Editor (Gpedit.msc).

    As of Windows 10 version 1709 (the Fall Creators Update), the task gets even simpler, with most Windows Update for Business options now available in the Settings app.

    Windows Update for Business requires a PC or device that supports Group Policy, which means you need Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education. The device also needs to be configured for the Current Branch for Business. Neither option is available for PCs running Windows 10 Home, where all updates are automatic.

    If you meet those requirements, follow these steps to get started.

    Using the Windows 10 Settings app

    On Windows 10 version 1709, you’ll find all of the Windows Update for Business options by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options. Under theChoose when updates are installed heading, you should see these three settings.

    Options to defer when updates are installed are only available on Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise editions.

    Here’s what each of these settings does:

    • From the first drop-down list, choose a “branch readiness level.” By default, this is Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted), previously known as Current Branch. This setting gives you feature updates as soon as Microsoft releases them to Windows Update. Choose Semi-Annual Channel (equivalent to the former Current Branch for Business) if you want to wait until Microsoft declares the feature update ready for widespread deployment. Typically, this is approximately four months after the update is initially released.
    • From the second drop-down list, choose an additional deferral time, up to 365 days, for feature updates. This deferral period applies to the servicing channel you chose in the previous setting. The default is 0.
    • From the last drop-down list, choose a deferral period of up to 30 days for quality updates such as those delivered each month on Patch Tuesday. Here, too, the default is 0.

    It’s worth noting that these settings delay the automatic installation of updates. You can override them at any time by installing updates manually.

    Using Group Policy

    If you are running Windows 10 version 1703 or earlier, or if you are managing a large number of devices on a Windows domain, you can apply Windows Update for Business settings using Group Policy.

    In an enterprise deployment, you’ll do all of the following with the Group Policy Editor or with Mobile Device Management software.

    If you’re working with your personal PC or managing a small number of devices on a network that doesn’t have Active Directory, get started by opening the Local Group Policy Editor, Gpedit.msc. (If that instruction is confusing, you should stop right now. Seriously.)

    Navigate through the Local Computer Policy tree in the left pane: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.

    These settings have changed significantly over time. In Windows 10 version 1703, there’s an additional subfolder called Defer Windows Updates. In version 1709 and later, the subfolder is called Windows Update for Business.

    In either version, you have separate options to defer feature updates and quality updates. Although the wording is slightly different depending on the version you’re running, the specific policy settings are the same. Here’s an example of what you’ll see if you choose Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received in version 1709.

    These settings have moved about as Windows 10 has evolved, but most IT pros should find them without too much hassle.

    Double-click a single setting from this list to open a dialog box where you can define policies for the current PC. The Group Policy options let you do everything I described in the previous section using the Settings app in version 1709. (It also includes options to configure devices for different Windows Insider Preview rings.)

    If you’re not experienced with Group Policy, note that for your update and upgrade schedules to be honored, you have to change this policy setting to Enabled. Set it to Disabled (or back to Not Configured) to restore default Windows 10 update settings.

    Regardless of which method you choose, the end result is the same. If you set the delay for quality updates to one or two weeks, you can then watch carefully after each batch of Patch Tuesdayupdates arrives. If there are no problems, your updates install after the general public has tested them for you. Setting the “Delay updates” value to 30 days effectively puts you a month behind the general population.

    If you discover that a pending update is potentially troublesome and you want to prevent it from installing after your deferred installation date, you can use the Pause button. In Windows 10 version 1709, this setting is below the Windows Update for Business settings, under the Pause Updates heading. Slide that switch to On and the updates will be blocked for another 35 days.

    Using the Local Group Policy Editor, click the Pause Quality Updates starting check box and enter today’s date. This action effectively blocks all updates or upgrades; the machine will remain paused until you specifically clear the Pause check box (or reverse the associated policy). You can’t delay forever, though; after 35 days, updates resume automatically installing.

    Note that definition updates for Microsoft’s security programs cannot be deferred. (If you install a non-Microsoft security program, its update controls take over and Microsoft’s definitions are not downloaded.)

    Ironically, one Group Policy option available only in Enterprise and Education editions causes these settings to be completely ignored. If Allow Telemetry is set to 0 (that is, set to the lowest possible level), then Windows Update for Business settings have no effect.

  • What’s the Difference Between a “Trojan Horse”, a “Worm”, and a “Virus”?

    There’s no shortage of confusing terminology in the computer biz. With the advent of malicious software, more terminology has been created that only make things less clear.

    The good news is that it’s not really that difficult; in fact, you needn’t understand most of the details (besides, not everyone agrees on the exact meaning of each definition).

    Let’s run down a few terms.

    Continue reading  Post ID 4754

  • Fix Windows Update errors with new Windows 10 repair tool

    Fix Windows Update errors with new Windows 10 repair tool

    By on December 19, 2016 in Windows

    Last Update:July 5, 2017

    Fix Windows Update errors is a troubleshooting page on Microsoft’s Support website that aims to help Windows users resolve update related errors.

    This guided walk-through provides steps to fix problems when installing updates. Here are some commonly seen error codes: 0x80073712, 0x800705B4, 0x80004005, 0x8024402F, 0x80070002, 0x80070643, 0x80070003, 0x8024200B, 0x80070422, 0x80070020. These steps should help with all errors and not just the ones listed.

    The support page covers Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 only. First thing you do is select one of the listed operating systems on the page.

    What happens afterwards depends on that selection.



    Fix Windows Update errors

    fix windows update errors

    Windows 10 users are asked to download the Windows Update Troubleshooter to their device and run it for instance, while Windows 7 users to run the built-in troubleshooter of the operating system instead before they are offered an updated — but different — update troubleshooter for the operating system.

    This is not the only difference though. While you get fairly basic suggestions for Windows 7 — try the troubleshooter, if that does not work, run a system recovery — suggestions for Windows 10 include two additional steps.

    The first asks you to find the most recent update for Windows 10 that is installed on the machine, run a search for it on Microsoft’s Update site, and download and run the update again.

    The second option, if that did not work either, is to run commands on the command line (with administrative privileges):

    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

    sfc /scannow

    DISM.exe is the Deployment Imaging and Servicing Management tool which you may use to correct Component Store corruption.

    The second command checks core Windows files for corruption, and replaces them if possible with the correct version.


    windows update troubleshoot

    The Windows Update troubleshooter for Windows 10 is an improved version of the troubleshooter for previous versions of Windows.

    It checks Windows Update and the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (Bits), and also runs Windows Network diagnostics.

    repair windows update

    I suggest you click on advanced on the first screen that opens and disable the automatic repair option. This gives you full control over the troubleshooting process.

    The troubleshooter displays all repair options after a quick scan:

    1. Repair Windows Update Database corruption.
    2. Repair Windows update components.
    3. Fix Windows Firefox blocking connections to Windows Update on the PC.
    4. Contact a network or system administrator, or ISP, to fix Internet connectivity issues.
    5. Check whether default Windows Update data locations have changed.
    6. Fix improperly configured security settings, or missing settings.
    7. Check for missing or corrupt files.
    8. Fix service registration is missing or corrupt.
    9. Fix system date and time aren’t correct.

    As you can see, the tool checks for a couple of things and may fix most of them when you give the ok (or automatically if you have not changed the option under advanced). (via Deskmodder)

    Closing Words

    Windows Update troubleshooters may help repair update related issues but these tools have their limits as well. While the new Windows 10 Windows Update troubleshooter checks for additional issues, it is far from complete and may still lead to you having to perform manual repairs or even a system restore.

    Continue reading  Post ID 4754

  • Update to Windows for FREE

    Windows 10 Free AssistivechnologiesT


    Upgrade Ending Soon



    M icrosoft offered W indow s 10 as a free upgrade for som e tim e after it’s introduction, and in fact there is still a no-cost upgrade path if you have a legitim ate W indow s 7 or above key, or you can also visit the “assistive technologies” page and get an upgrade if you claim to have a need for such technologies.

    The “assistive technologies” m ethod w as som ething M icrosoft w inked at, not requiring any sort of evidence that the person upgrading actually required any kind of special accom m odation.

    N ow , how ever, that option appears to be com ing to an end in a couple of m onths, according to the site itself:

    If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to W indow s 10  at no cost as Microsoft continues to improve the Win 10

    experience for people who use technologies.

    Take advantage of this offer before it expires on December 31 2017.

    Here is the Link.




  • Reset Microsoft Account password from Login Screen in Windows 10

    Reset Microsoft Account password from Login Screen in Windows 10

    Did you change your Microsoft Account password just before going to bed and you are not able to remember that in morning? A possibility is that you might not be able to login to your Windows PC. Many times it happens that we are not able to remember our password and hence not able to sign into our computer. But with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update v1709, you can directly recover your password from the lock screen.

    We have seen how to recover lost or forgotten Windows passwords using Windows built-in tools like Password Hint and the Reset Disk or with other free password recovery tools. We have also seen how to reset your Windows password, if your computer is on a domain or if it is a workgroup. This tutorial shows how you can recover and reset your forgotten or lost Microsoft Account password from the Login Screen in Windows 10.

    Recover password from Login Screen in Windows 10

    This feature has been added in the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and can be conveniently used from the Lock Screen. Now on your lock screen, just below the password field, you will see a new option that reads ‘I forgot my password’.

    Clicking on that option will take you to another screen which will help you recover your password. The flow is like what you might have already experienced on Microsoft website or on any other website in general. You need to enter your email id and a captcha to proceed.

    Recover password from Lock Screen in Windows 10

    In the next step, you need to select one of your Recovery Options that you might have specified while creating your account. It can be your alternate email address, your phone number or maybe a security question. Other than that, you can even use the Authenticator app to recover your account. The Authenticator lets you use your phone instead of your password for personal Microsoft accounts. If you do not have access to any of these, you might need access to another working computer to help you recover your account.

    Once you’ve chosen your recovery option, wait till you receive your one-time password. Enter the password and once you are verified, you can create a new password.

    The entire process is very simple and familiar. Very obviously, the computer must be connected to the internet to follow these steps. The recovery process does not take long and comes pretty handy if you’ve forgotten your password.

    Recovering the PIN in Windows 10

    If you’ve been using a PIN to sign in to Windows and you’ve forgotten the PIN somehow. Then a similar process is also available to recover the PIN. All you need to do is enter the password for your Microsoft Account and wait for the OTP. Once verified, you can directly change the PIN and use the new PIN to sign in.

    For Local Accounts, the recovery option is not available. Only users with Microsoft Account can recover passwords and PIN from the Lock Screen.

    This was how you can recover your Microsoft Account from the Windows 10 Lock Screen. This feature might prove helpful to a lot of users and is one of the most required features in Windows 10.

  • Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10

    Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10


    Forced updates is Windows 10’s boldest feature. It takes the responsibility of updates off your shoulders. At the same time, mandatory updates make life more difficult for those who like to tweak their system. And you won’t ever be safe from broken or incompatible updates. Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Pros & Cons of Forced Updates in Windows 10 Updates will change in Windows 10. Right now you can pick and choose. Windows 10, however, will force updates onto you. It has advantages, like improved security, but it can also go wrong. What’s more… Read More

    The new Windows Update also covers hardware drivers:

    “In Windows 10, your device is always kept up to date with the latest features and fixes. Updates and drivers are installed automatically, with no need to select which updates are needed or not needed.” –Microsoft Support

    When you’re using non standard hardware, this process can introduce issues. Moreover, drivers provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) are not always the best solution.

    If you’d like to keep your custom drivers or if you’re not keen on updating a running system, let us show you how to lock in your drivers.

    Undo & Temporarily Prevent Driver Updates

    Microsoft admits that “in rare cases, a specific driver or update might temporarily cause issues with your device.” To prevent the troublesome driver (or update) to reinstall automatically, Microsoft offers this solution.



    Roll Back Driver

    First, you need to remove the irksome driver. The best option is to roll back to the previous version. Right-click the Start button, select Device Manager, right-click the respective device, select Properties, switch to the Driver tab, and click the Roll Back Driver button.

    Roll Back Driver

    When you’re done, move on to blocking the automatic driver update, which will inevitably be initiated during the next Windows Update cycle.

    Remove & Replace Driver

    Should the roll back option not be available, a workaround is to uninstall the driver and replace it with your preferred version. Before you proceed, obtain the desired driver version from the OEM or a third party supplier.

    Note that some manufacturers offer utilities to uninstall old drivers, ensuring a clean removal of all driver-related files from your computer.

    If you need to manually remove the driver, right-click the Startbutton, select Device Manager, right-click the affected device, and select Uninstall.

    Device Manager

    In the following dialog, check the box Delete the driver software for this device and confirm with OK. This removes the driver file from Windows Update.

    Confirm Device Uninstall

    Next, you need to block future updates for this driver.

    Block Driver Update

    To prevent this driver from being reinstalled the next time Windows Update runs, you can use the Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter (direct download), which we have introduced previously.

    Briefly, download and run the troubleshooter from Microsoft, on the first screen click Next, then select Hide updates, check the driver/s you would like to hide, click Next again, and you’re done.

    Windows 10 Hide Updates List

    You can reverse this setting. Select Show hidden updates from the troubleshooter, check the update/s you want to unhide, and click Next.

    How to Stop Automatic Driver Updates

    To stop Windows 10 from automatically updating your drivers, you have several options. Note that the Local Group Policy Editor is not available to Windows 10 Home users.

    Control Panel

    For this solution, you need to head into the System portion of the Control Panel. Right-click the Start button and select System. In the Control Panel sidebar, select Advanced system settings.Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified If you want to be the master of your Windows experience, the Control Panel is where it’s at. We untangle the complexity of this power tool. Read More

    Control Panel System Settings

    In the System Properties window, switch to the Hardware tab and click Device Installation Settings.

    System Properties

    You will be asked whether “you want to automatically download manufacturers’ apps and custom icons available for your devices.” Select No and Save Changes.

    Device Installation Settings

    Note that if it works, this setting disables all your driver updates.

    Local Group Policy Editor

    On Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions only, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to disable updates entirely. Some users report that this is the only setting that worked for them. The advantage of this method is that you can also disable updates for selected devices only.

    First, you need to collect the device IDs for hardware you don’t want Windows to manage for you. This could be your graphics or sound card ID.

    Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager. Double-click the respective device, switch to the Details tab, and select Hardware Ids from the drop-down menu under Property. Using one of the values in the next step should be sufficient.

    Driver Hardware ID

    Now we’ll head into the Local Group Policy Editor to exclude these devices from Windows Update.

    Press Windows key + R, enter gpedit.msc, and hit Enter. In your Local Group Policy Editor, head to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation > Device Installation Restrictions. Here, double-click on the setting Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs.

    Local Group Policy Editor

    Enable the Setting, click the Show… button, then for each device, enter its Value, and finally OK all your changes.

    Prevent Driver Installation

    Attention: Once you have restricted a driver using the Group Policy Editor, you won’t be able to manually update that driver. To change a restricted driver, you need to disable the setting in the Group Policy Editor, make your changes, then enable the restriction again. Thank you for the hint, Guillermo!

    Alternatively, if you would like to disable all driver updates, you can also Enable the setting to Prevent installation of devices not described by other policy settings. However, we recommend only blocking updates for selected drivers, as described above.


    The Windows registry is your last resort. Press Windows key + Rto launch the Run dialog, enter regedit, and hit Enter. Now navigate to this registry string: How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother How to Fix Windows Registry Errors & When Not to Bother In most cases, fixing our registry will do nothing. Sometimes registry errors cause havoc after all. Here we’ll explore how to identify, isolate and fix registry problems – and when to not bother at all. Read More


    Open the SearchOrderConfig value and set Value data to 0. Confirm with OK and reboot your computer.

    Registry Value

    Like other methods described above, this setting disables all driver updates and should only be used if Microsoft’s troubleshooter does not allow you to hide specific updates from Windows Update.

    Keep Your Drivers Under Control

    A bad or corrupted Windows driver update can ruin your PC experience. We’ve shown you how to prevent or reverse such a tragedy caused by automatic updates in Windows 10. This is not to say that all updates are bad, though.

    Updating your drivers is essential for maintaining performance, security, and accessing new features. When you do block automatic updates, remember to manually check for critical driver updates every once in a while. How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? First, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke! If drivers do need updating, though, here are your options.


  • Every Advanced Google Search Operator & Command You Need to Know

    Every Advanced Google Search Operator & Command You Need to Know

    When it comes to SEO, there are many tools that can help you research opportunities. Tools of the trade can run the gamut from link research to on-page optimization to tools for performing SEO audits.

    Advanced Google search operators have their place in this ecosystem of tools, however. These operators can help you gain insight into SEO opportunities and audit points you otherwise would not have identified as a result; the possibilities are endless.

    After we talk about the advanced operators and search commands, I will also provide several examples of how these operators can be used in the real world. From content research to technical SEO audits, these examples will help you become more familiar with how Google’s advanced search commands and operators work in real-world situations.

    Advanced Search Operators

    Advanced Google Search Operators

    Here are the advanced Google search commands and operators you need to know.


    Using the cache operator, you can find out what the most recent cache of a specified webpage is. This is useful for identifying when a page was last crawled.

    Example use: cache:websitename.com


    This operator will help you find whether all the terms that you are looking for shows up in the text of that page. This operator, however, isn’t pin-accurate because it won’t look for text on the page that appears close together.

    Example use: allintext:content social links


    This operator is a more global operator that allows you to find any terms showing up on a webpage in any area – like the title, the page itself, the URL, and elsewhere. This is useful if you want to perform research into how others’ on-page SEO footprints are being categorized by Google.

    Example use: word one intext: other term


    If you are performing blog research, this operator is useful for finding blogs with certain search terms in the blog title.

    Example use: inposttitle:weight loss goals


    This search operator is a great way to find blogs that match the content you are writing about. For example, you could use allintitle to research what others are doing for that particular topic. Then, you could write your post to be better than theirs.

    Example use: allintitle:how to write content for seo


    This is a narrower operator that will help you find more targeted results for specific search phrases. If you wanted to find pages that are all about “drawing with micron pens” for example, the following is how you would use it:

    Example use: intitle:drawing with micron pens


    This one allows you to find pages with your requested search terms within the URL in internal search pages. For example, say you wanted to perform research on pages on a site that had the terms “drawing tablet”. You would use the following:

    Example use: allinurl:amazon drawing tablet

    This will bring up all internal URLs on Amazon.com that have the terms “drawing tablet”.


    If you wanted to find pages on a site that has your targeted search term in the URL, and the second term in content on a website, you could use this operator. This is useful for finding sites with strong on-page optimization for the topics you are researching.

    Example use: inurl:drawing portraits


    This operator is useful for performing research on pages that have all terms after “inanchor:” in anchor text linking back to the page. Using this operator can help you find

    Example use: allinanchor:”how to draw anime”


    It is possible to identify pages with inbound links that contain the anchor text specified. However, data is only sampled and doesn’t provide accurate global results.

    Example use: inanchor:”digital painting”


    Do you want to find images that only fall under a specific file type (e.g., .jpg, .png, or .gif)? This is a great way to narrow research on infographics or memes. But, it can also help you identify stray images and other files (like PDFs) that may have been picked up by Google.

    Example use: site:domainname.com filetype:txt – inurl:robots.txt

    This will help you find files on your site that were indexed by Google but will exclude robots.txt from appearing in the search results.


    Do you want to narrow the focus of your results to be super narrow? This is a great way to identify search results where two or more terms appear on the page, and also appear very close to each other (denoted by the number in the parentheses).

    Example use: digital drawing AROUND(2) tools

    Advanced Search Commands

    Advanced Google Search Commands


    This command will help you search for pages that have one word or the other.  If you wanted to find the words drawing or painting, but not both, you could use this command to do so.

    Example use: digital drawing OR digital painting

    Quotes (“word”)

    Using quotes around the phrases you are searching for will help you find results that are exact match results, rather than the broad results you will get with standard search.

    Example use: “search term 1”

    Exclude Words: (-)

    The minus sign is an exclusion symbol. This command will help you exclude words that you don’t want to appear in the search results. Say for some reason that you wanted to find pages that have the word content marketing but not pages from Business Insider that contain this phrase.

    Example use: “content marketing –businessinsider.com

    Add words: (+)

    You can use a plus sign to add words that you want to be included in the search results.

    Example use: “content marketing + SEO”

    SEJ’s new “Illustrated Guide to Link Building”
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    If you are in need of more specific results that are catered to a single website, this command will help you bring those results up. For example, if you wanted to search your favorite SEO website for articles on 404 errors, you would use the following:

    Example use: “site:searchenginejournal.com 404 errors”


    If you’re in a situation where you need any results that have more than one website with similar content to a site you are familiar with, just use the following:

    Example use: “related:domainname.com


    This one will help you find information related to the domain that you are searching. It will help you identify things like pages with the domain text on-page (not necessarily linked), similar on-site pages, and the website’s cache.

    Example use: “info:domainname.com

    Using Advanced Google Search Operators

    Putting It All Together: How to Use These Commands & Operators in the Real World

    It isn’t always easy to identify the best combinations of search commands and operators that will help you accomplish your objective. But, once you do, you will probably think “that is downright cheating” because of all the information you can uncover.

    It’s not really cheating. You’re getting that edge you need to beat your competition.

    Below are a few ideas that you can use to take these operators and use them to their fullest potential for a wide variety of SEO uses. Feel free to use them to build your own SEO ideas and projects.

    Dig Deeper Into Website Content Research

    Many of these search operators can help you perform targeted, useful research on content. From today’s most recent content on SEO topics, to content talking about making the most amazing bacon potato volcano with cheese. If it’s specific enough, these operators are your friend when it comes to finding content ideas.

    Exclude Specific Terms That Aren’t Helpful to You

    Example use: term1 -term2

    Say you were doing research for SEO content that talks about secure URLs, but you wanted to exclude anything that mentioned 404 errors. Because, for your purposes, 404 errors won’t help you. The following would suffice:

    secure URLs -404 errors

    Exclude More Than One Term

    Example use: term1 -term2 -term3 -term4

    If your content research revolved around 404 errors, but all you want are pages that talk about 404 errors (and pages that do not mention 404 errors for canonicals, 500 errors, and the like), you can use this combination:

    Example use: secure urls -404 errors -canonicals -500 errors

    Exclude Terms That Are Exact

    If you want to find pages that mention technical SEO audits but do not include 404 errors or XML sitemaps in the topical discussion, this operator will help. Please note that it will include XML sitemap unless it’s specified to exclude.

    Example use: technical seo -“404 errors” -“xml sitemaps”

    technical SEO audits

    Technical SEO Audits

    When done right, technical SEO audits can be complex and can contain over 200 factors to consider fixing, especially for large websites. But, it is not just about spitting out the results of a tool and sending them to a client. Anybody can do that.

    Any SEO professional who is worth their salt, however, will put together a custom strategy the client can use to prioritize SEO tasks and get their site from where it is to where it needs to be. That’s where the power of a technical SEO audit comes in.

    Using advanced search operators can help you drill down to the nitty-gritty details of how Google sees and indexes a website. Without further ado, below are some ideas to get you started toward expanding your use of these operators.

    Identify How a Site is Indexed

    Example use: site:domainname.com

    A tiny window into how a site is indexed by Google can tell you so much about how to tailor your SEO efforts accordingly. Using the site: operator is one of the simpler ways to do this, and you can get an idea of the site’s index count as well.

    The index result count can help you identify massive technical errors on a large website. Say, for example, a site physically only has 270 pages but Google is indexing 15,000 pages from the site. This could range from incorrectly generated pages from on-site search, to issues arising from an http:// to https:// transition, and redirects not working properly.

    Remove Multiple Subdomains

    Example use: site:domainname.com -inurl:stage -inurl:dev -inurl:staging

    If you work on a messy, large international brand website that continues to have issues with staging sites being indexed, but you don’t care about the staging site, this operator can help you exclude all of those messy staging site subdomains.

    Drill Deep Down Into Non-Secure Pages and Audit Your http:// to https:// Transition

    Example use: site:domanname.com -inurl:https

    This example use excludes the https:// url, but you can also include it by removing the minus sign. Using the operator in this way can help you audit your http:// to https:// transition. This will give you an idea into how Google is indexing your new https:// pages as opposed to their http:// pages.

    Finding Duplicate Content

    Example use: site:domainname.com “content search term”

    Say you wanted to find out how much a website’s internal duplicate content was being indexed by Google. The combination of these operators will help you do this.

    This is useful for gaining a surface insight into how many results are returned by the search term. After finding this out, you can use a tool like Screaming Frog to really dig deeper and find those duplicate content pages that are presenting problems.

    Multiple Combinations of Search Operators

    Multiple Combinations of Operators Can Be Your Friend

    Have you ever heard the phrase “Google is your friend”? When using the vast array of search operators available, you can turn Google from your friend into your romantic lover extremely quickly. While the prior comparison is slight hyperbole, the comparison is used to illustrate how powerful the insights you can gain from advanced search operators really are.

    From hunting down plagiarism of your own content to auditing your http:// to https:// website transition, many infinite combinations of operators can be useful for content audits, technical SEO audits, whatever you want to use them for.

    It’s up to you to identify the combos that will help you the most in your search efforts. This way, you can gain a razor-sharp edge that will allow you to find the most pertinent information to help you beat your competition in the search results

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  • The Best Ways to Create High Quality Natural Backlinks in 2016

    The Best Ways to Create High Quality Natural Backlinks in 2016

    With so many algorithm changes that have taken place over the past few years, some SEO professionals have declared that traditional backlinks are dead. Although link building has experienced massive changes, it is still alive and kicking. The manner in which backlinks are to be built, however, has to be modernized.What does it take to build quality, whitehat, natural backlinks in 2016? Several SEO strategies will deliver the best possible results.

    Quality Content

    Natural backlinks are the ones that other websites use to point their audience to your content. Why would other websites want to do that? The answer is simple. Your site features quality content that their audience is going to benefit from.

    Thus, the best 2016 SEO link building strategy does not focus on links at all. It focuses on having a good content strategy.

    Come up with a content plan and get in the habit of updating your website on a regular basis. Stick to very specific, well-researched and unique topics. The more original your content is, the more others will be willing to share links.

    On top of making it easier to obtain quality backlinks, a good content strategy will boost exposure and help you establish your website’s online reputation. This is essential for getting your articles and other types of content to go viral. Thus, good content will also play a role in your social media marketing strategy.Boost Social Media Marketing Efforts

    Social media sites are considered high authority websites. This is the main reason why social media marketing can impact your link building strategy.

    Many social networks do not provide do-follow links. This means that links coming from such websites are not going to have an impact on your link building strategy. Facebook is one such website. Still, sharing content through Facebook makes sense because it impacts your online reputation. It also boosts audience engagement, which will have an indirect impact on your SEO efforts.

    Focus on content sharing via a big number of social channels. Use both social networking and social bookmarking websites.

  • 10 Forums Web Designers Must Know About

    There are loads of forums on the internet today, ranging from about every kind of niche you can think of, many forums of which are to do with web design / graphic design. Some stand out, and others don’t. We decided to make things easier for you and search for the best forums for web designers.

    What makes a forum great in our opinion is:

    • Having a great, friendly and knowledgeable community.
    • The users need to be active (sign on daily / every few days).
    • Needs to have a very targeted user base. In other words, most of the members need to have signed up to be members and become active in the community, not just sign up to gain access to a few things, not post, then forget about the community entirely.

    We could be here all day listing off factors. Of course, the forum needs to have a decent amount of traffic so designers get heard, and it needs to have a user-friendly design so web designers can use the forum with ease. Anyway enough talking, here’s the list of 10 forums web designers must know about.

    #Launch is a community of designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and marketers. Its homepage boasts of members who are “Y-Combinator founders, entrepreneurs, and investors.

    Your Content Here
    #frontendDevelopers is a great place to find new gigs. You can also get feedback from other developers, learn the latest trends and share ideas.

    CoffeeCup Software was started in 1996. The forum helps web designers create better websites.

    Designer Hangout is a great web designers’ community and you can join 9,700+ UX designers and researchers from around the world to discuss user experience in the UX Slack community.

    This forum may not be just about web design, but it has one of the largest forum communities on the internet with over 290,000 registered members! You can buy, sell and trade services on there, so it’s the perfect place for web designers. You can also pick up a lot of work on there, and clients too!

    This forum has a really nice simple layout, and their forums are always buzzing with new threads. They have many forum categories that are split in to more a less everything you can think of. They cover web 2.0, graphic design, flash, illustration, advertising, marketing, typography and much more.

    Although this forum is hosted on a .co.uk domain (it doesn’t mean it is just for UK people), and even though they only have around 10,000 registered members (compared to some big boy forums), they have an awesome community for web designers. Their forum categories cover all aspects of web design and I love the header design on their website.

    This forum covers web design and other webmaster aspects such as promotion and search engine optimization. Their nice simple forum design is very easy to navigate round. They have nearly 90,000 registered members, and there are always people online.

    This forum is insane! All web designers must be registered at this forum! It’s simply beautiful! They have a small user base of around 11,000 members, but there are always web designers online. Their forum covers many aspects of web design, and it’s worth checking out.

    Now Kirupa is usually for flash design and development, but as the years have gone on they have extended their forums to cope with web design. You can post your designs for critique, and you can also talk about HTML, css, and styling web design.

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  • 11 networking commands every Windows admin should use

    11 networking commands every Windows admin should use

    The Windows operating system contains numerous built-in, command line networking utilities. These tools range from the obscure to the commonplace. However, there are 11 built-in networking tools that Windows networking administrators should be familiar with.


    I am guessing that the ping command is probably the most familiar, and most widely used of the utilities being discussed in this article, but that does not make it any less essential.

    Ping is used to test the ability of one network host to communicate with another. Simply enter the Ping command, followed by the name or the IP address of the destination host. Assuming that there are no network problems or firewalls preventing the ping from completing, the remote host will respond to the ping with four packets. Receiving these packets confirms that a valid and functional network path exists between the two hosts.

    networking utilities


    If you are experiencing problems with network communications, then network statistics can sometimes help point you toward the root cause of the problem. That’s where the aptly named NetStat command comes into play. This command has a number of different functions, but the most useful of these is to display network summary information for the device. To see this type of summary information, just type NetStat -e.


    The ARP command corresponds to the Address Resolution Protocol. Although it is easy to think of network communications in terms of IP addressing, packet delivery is ultimately dependent on the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the device’s network adapter. This is where the Address Resolution Protocol comes into play. Its job is to map IP addresses to MAC addresses.

    Windows devices maintain an ARP cache, which contains the results of recent ARP queries. You can see the contents of this cache by using the ARP -A command. If you are having problems communicating with one specific host, you can append the remote host’s IP address to the ARP -A command.

    networking utilities



    As I am sure you probably know, computers that are running a Windows operating system are assigned a computer name. Oftentimes, there is a domain name or a workgroup name that is also assigned to the computer. The computer name is sometimes referred to as the NetBIOS name.

    Windows uses several different methods to map NetBIOS names to IP addresses, such as broadcast, LMHost lookup, or even using the nearly extinct method of querying a WINS server.

    Of course, NetBIOS over TCP/IP can occasionally break down. The NbtStat command can help you to diagnose and correct such problems. The NbtStat -n command for example, shows the NetBIOS names that are in use by a device. The NbtStat -r command shows how many NetBIOS names the device has been able to resolve recently.

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    The previously discussed NbtStat command can provide you with the host name that has been assigned to a Windows device, if you know which switch to use with the command. However, if you’re just looking for a fast and easy way of verifying a computer’s name, then try using the Hostname command. Typing Hostname at the command prompt returns the local computer name.


    Contrary to what a rather infamous YouTube video might lead you to believe, Tracert isn’t pronounced “Tracer T,” nor can it show you how many people are using Google right this second. Instead, Tracert, or “Trace Route,” is a utility for examining the path to a remote host.

    Functionally, Tracert works similarly to Ping. The major difference is that Tracert sends a series of ICMP echo requests, and the request’s TTL increased by 1 each time. This allows the utility to display the routers through which packets are passing to be identified. When possible, Windows displays the duration and IP address or fully qualified domain name of each hop.


    One utility that I find myself using constantly is IPConfig. At its simplest, the IPConfig command will display basic IP address configuration information for the device. Simply type IPConfig at the Windows command prompt, and you will be presented with the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway that the device is currently using.

    networking utilities

    If you would like to see more detailed information, then type IPConfig /all. Doing so causes Windows to display IP address configuration that is much more verbose. This is also the command that you will have to use if you want to see which DNS server the Windows device is configured to use.

    The IPConfig command can do much more than just display IP address configuration information. It also contains options that can help you to troubleshoot problems related to DNS and DHCP. For example, entering the IPConfig /FlushDNS command purges the contents of the computer’s DNS resolver cache.


    NSLookup is a great utility for diagnosing DNS name resolution problems. Just type the NSLookup command, and Windows will display the name and IP address of the device’s default DNS server. From there, you can type host names in an effort to see if the DNS server is able to resolve the specified host name.


    IP networks use routing tables to direct packets from one subnet to another. The Windows Route utility allows you to view the device’s routing tables. To do so, simply type Route Print.

    The cool thing about the Route command is that it not only shows you the routing table, it lets you make changes. Commands such as Route Add, Route Delete, and Route Change allow you to make routing table modifications on an as needed basis. The changes that you make can be persistent or nonpersistent, depending on whether you use the -P switch.


    Earlier, I talked about the Ping utility and the Tracert utility, and the similarities between them. As you might have guessed, the PathPing tool is a utility that combines the best aspects of Tracert and Ping.

    Entering the PathPing command followed by a host name initiates what looks like a somewhat standard Tracert process. Once this process completes however, the tool takes 300 seconds (five minutes) to gather statistics, and then reports latency and packet loss statistics that are more detailed than those provided by Ping or Tracert.

    networking utilities


    Perhaps the most useful of the network utilities that are built into Windows is NetDiag. The NetDiag command is designed to run a battery of tests on the computer in order to help the technician figure out why the computer is experiencing networking problems.

    One of the things that I really like about this tool is that although there are a number of optional switches that you can use, you don’t have to use any of them unless you want to. Entering the NetDiag command by itself will cause all of the available tests to be run.

    In some cases, NetDiag can not only identify problems, but can also fix those problems. Obviously, NetDiag cannot automatically correct every problem that it finds, but appending the /Fix parameter to the command will tell NetDiag to attempt to fix the problem automatically.

    The Windows operating system is jam packed with command line utilities. Many of these utilities are left over from operating systems that were introduced decades ago. Even so, the utilities that I have discussed in this article are every bit as useful today as they were when they were first introduced.

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