This client’s site was using PHP 5.2.17 when the latest version was PHP 7.3, resulting in WordPress being unable to update due to minimum requirements. In addition, the client experienced issues with contact form spam, and wanted a general Local SEO optimization, with a particular focus on displaying Google My Business Reviews on-site, and enabling clients to leave reviews.
In order to ensure no interruption during an upgrade, I tested the upgrade on my local machine first to pre-empt any problems with plugins or the theme breaking. Having successfully completed the test, the site was upgrade to PHP 7.3 and the latest version of WordPress, with automatic future WordPress updates enabled.
The issue with comment form spam was resolved by implementing a silent reCAPTCHA, which promptly stopped spam submissions.
Several custom security measures were put in place to ensure overall site security in future, including moving the site from http to https.
To show Google Reviews on-site, the WP Google Review Slider plugin was installed and set up to automatically pull new reviews from Google Places. As it is not possible to enable posting of reviews on-site to various vendors, links to those vendors were placed below the Google Reviews on the home page.
To enhance Local SEO, the RankMath plugin was activated, which has better settings for Local SEO than Yoast SEO, which was previously used, and set up with the business details. Further efforts to standardize NAP (Name, Address, Phone) across outside sources were made, with recommendations of how to engage with potential clients on social media and other platforms.
Unfortunately, this project resulted in a dispute with the client following a suspension by Google My Business, which the client blamed me for. The project terminated with half the fees unpaid and all the work done.
Lesson learned: I only manage Google My Business listings for existing clients and clients that don’t have listings at the time of on-boarding.