Keyword Research Guide for SEO

Posted by on Feb 25, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Keyword Research Guide for SEO

The Big Keyword Research Guide for SEO

  1. Why is Keyword Research So Important to SEO?
  2. What is Keyword Research?
  3. How to Find the Best Keywords to Target?
  4. Understanding The Use of Keywords and Intent Targeting
  5. How to Get Started on Keyword Research
  6. How to Use Keywords for SEO
  7. Tricks and Advice for ranking

There we said it. Keyword Research is the backbone of SEO.

If you think about it, everything starts with a keyword or search phrase.

People type keywords into the search box on Google to look up information. They explore by clicking on related keywords or finish their sentence with the autocomplete by Google.

For SEOs, though every one of us adopts different search engine optimization strategies, we always begin by finding the right keywords to focus on.

That is even right from the start when we pick out our domain names.

As a matter of fact, picking out your domain name is just the beginning.

Keyword research impacts every other SEO task that you might perform, including content creation, on-page SEO, and even social media marketing.

That’s the very reason why it is usually the start of every SEO to-do list.

If you look at present modern day marketing, it’s no longer just about finding your targeted keywords, it’s also about using keywords to inform your marketing.

Why is Keyword Research So Important to SEO?

Researching keywords is no longer just about identifying what words people are typing into search engines to find your business and your products or services.

Keyword analysis is increasingly important to provide valuable insights, to find out why they are searching for it and helping them understand what they want.

The Right Keywords Leads You to Potential Buyers

You may have already pre-created your buyer personas, but you can’t really consolidate and sort them without keyword data.

Because simply put, different user personas will conduct different search terms and use slight variations in phrases. Take for example, two buyers who are looking to buy flowers for valentines day can either go to the internet to search for nearby flower shops or roses for valentines day.

The intention is different and that drives different keyword searches.

That’s why going through keyword data can help you identify all variations of phrases and search intent based on a keyword.

This in turn will also let you come up with more accurate user personas that you can target and in addition craft more personalized and creative sales messages to win them over!

Keyword Analysis can Inform Your Marketing and Writing

My favourite part of keyword analysis is that it gives you a better idea of how to answer search terms with relevant content. With one quick search on Google, you will know what your users are looking for and what to provide for that keyword.

For example, just do a quick search of “painting walls for beginners” and you will discover that most prefer a quick video instead of reading a how-to list.

Click on the image to view it in full size.

For businesses, this also means identifying the money phrases and creating the relevant content for it.

Let’s say you have created a paid online survey website and described it with keywords related to money making and earning extra income. By chance, you may still get traffic but you will have a difficult time attracting the right audience.

Because while your website does indeed give people the opportunity for making extra income, people who first learnt about money paid surveys may still not be ready to commit.

A better keyword to target is the search term “survey for money” that are most likely looked up by users who already have an understanding of earning money through surveys.

However this does not mean you should just focus on money phrases, it is also important for you to create content for informational and educational keywords as it will help you create a strong brand and impression.

Think about it — nothing beats ranking on the featured snippet to show that you are an authority.

Expand Your Funnel By Understanding Leads & Their Interests

At the same time, keyword research can also benefit through letting you uncover more about your audience’s interest and where they stand in a funnel.

For example, you have a website that’s dedicated to staying healthy and one of your categories is food and nutrition.

You may have already written lots of content about nutritional advice, etc. But your keyword data shows you that your target audience is also searching for “what to eat after a run”.

What this tells you is that your target audience isn’t just interested in getting nutritional tips, but also in exercise. You could start catering to these interests by creating lists and blog posts covering these topics.

This will help you capture the attention of your audience much more effectively.

On the other hand, some queries for example, may also result in a Quora or Medium page which goes to tell you what social media platform you should be active on.

Finally, though It might be stating the obvious, but let’s not forget about the SERP rankings and organic traffic. By researching keywords, we have succeeded in growing our site’s traffic!

Keyword Research Boost SEOPressor’s Traffic

Creating our content and reoptimization strategy as informed by keyword analysis has helped SEOPressor’s traffic grow. Our overall blog traffic grew close to 50% in the next month.

But one particular highlight was our HTTP vs HTTPS: The Difference And Everything You Need To Know blog post grew three-fold, from 2k to 6k after reoptimization for intent and keyword.

Now that you have seen the results analyzing your keyword can bring, next we will look into how and what exactly does it mean to do keyword research?

What is Keyword Research?

We have all performed some basic or complex keyword research, for a variety of purposes.

For ecommerce marketers, it can be simply to see how you should name your product listing or for budding YouTubers, it can be to determine how you should title your YouTube video.

Truth to be told, there is no single definition or process to keyword research and here we decided to provide two basic explanations for keyword research: through the eyes of a digital marketer and an SEO.

Keyword Research Definition

For any digital marketer, keyword research is about identifying the actual search terms or phrases that are often used by their potential audiences.

For SEOs, keyword research also involves an added value of metrics which we use to identify the best keywords to aim for first.

How to Find the Best Keywords to Target?

Now it’s time to go through the actual keyword research. Before that, here are some important keyword tools and metrics you should know.

Use Google Trends to Decide Your Topics

In contrast to evergreen keywords are popular keywords, but even popular keywords can be seasonal. That’s where Google Trends comes in.

What is Google Trends, you ask? It is a platform that allows you to analyze the popularity of search queries in Google search across different regions and language.

With Google Trends, you can explore what topics people care about and when they care about it. The tool will also give you data not just for today, but a longer period of time.

While the keyword tool is often under the radar when it comes to keyword research, I find it to be one of the most important steps in the beginning, especially when you decide on your content topic and ideas.

Let’s say you are running a business selling chocolate, you might want to find out between dark chocolate and white chocolate – which is more popular.

Turns out many prefer their chocolate sweet.

This here is one of the cool things you can do with Google Trends — comparing search terms. You also might have noticed that I have repeated the same chocolate twice, but if you have a closer look, it is actually not the same.

Google Trends: Topic vs Search Terms

When using Google Trends, topic keywords will include all search terms related to it while search terms are the specific terms.

    Here are 3 Tips for Using Google Trend for Keyword Research:

  1. Choose your time period. Your widest time frame should be no more than 3 years to have enough of a snapshot to see recurring patterns.
  2. Select your targeted location.Depending on where your target audience or business is located, always filter your search by location.
  3. Related Search Queries You can collect ideas for your content and marketing through looking at related queries.

Now that you have your keywords from Google Trends, know that the results shown are actually relative search volume and not the actual search volume.

Next, it’s time to use Google Keyword Planner.

Use Google Keyword Planner to find Search Volume

Most SEO’s favorite tool, there is so much to talk about Google Keyword Planner that Brian Dean wrote a super long blog post about it here.

To avoid confusing you, let’s just focus on the two primary keyword research metrics in Keyword Planner, which are: search volume and competitiveness.

Keywords with higher search volumes mean more potential exposure or impressions, but will also likely be much more competitive.

This can make it harder to rank these terms as you will most probably be going up against well-established publishers.

To decide which types of keywords to target largely depends on your marketing goals.

If you are working on a brand new website, you will want to start by targeting low volume keywords with average monthly searches between 100 to 1k.

On the other hand, if you have an established website that already has several strong organic rankings in the niche, you may want to target higher volume seed keywords.

So running on the same chocolate business idea where you decided to go with white chocolate, you will see other related keyword ideas that can let you find out what kind of white chocolate are in search demand.

A keyword research tip is to always do these searches yourself and find out what is being shown in the SERP rankings.

Because having done enough keyword analysis, I’m sure you will find there are times when a single search query may have different user intents. In these cases, it is the most popular user intent that will be featured at the top – not the site with the most keyword anchor text.

This goes to tell you how important search intent is which we will cover below.

Understanding The Use of Keywords and Intent Targeting

Keywords are something users type in the search bar when they are looking for something. As businesses, we need to attempt to guess what our target audience would type in the search bar and their intent.

If you’re wondering why we do so, it is because we want to show up on the search engine result page (SERP) for the keywords they entered.

If we guessed it accurately, it’ll bring us various benefits such as traffic, conversions and more!

To guess it accurately, you will need to understand the types of searchers’ intent and the types of keywords.

So, without further ado, let’s begin with understanding the 4 types of searchers’ intent first before we move to how we can target them.

Understanding searcher’s intent

There are four main types of searcher’s intent. They are navigational, informational, transactional, and commercial.

1. Navigational Search

A navigational search is a search with the purpose of finding or reaching a specific website or webpage. An example of a navigational search would be “Nike”. The search will lead users to Nike’s website.

Now, for navigational search, it could be difficult to rank for that search organically as users already know which websites they want to visit.

2. Informational Search

An informational search is a search with the intent of finding more information about something. It could be anything; a business, a product, or an event. An example would be “how to lose fats and build muscles?”

3. Transactional Search

A transactional search is a search that users make when they want to purchase a product or service.

An example would be “Gold’s Gym membership options”. In this case, the user is ready to make a purchase if they find a deal that suits their needs and budgets.

4. Commercial Search

A commercial search is where users are comparing the different alternatives that they have through the information they find online.

Examples of commercial searches would be “Gold’s Gym Review” or “Benefits of Apple Watch Nike”.

Now that we know the 4 types of searchers’ intent, let’s look at the types of keywords we can use to target them.

Types of Keywords

a. Short-tail keyword and Long-tail keyword

As their names suggest, a short-tail keyword is key phrases that are short and vice versa. Short-tail keywords typically consist of less than 2 words, whereas long-tail keywords consist of more than 3 or more words.

Here are some examples to get you started:
Short-tail keywords: running shoes, dance class, WordPress plugin
Long-tail keywords: best Nike running shoes, dance classes for kids near me, WordPress SEO plugin

To know which type of keywords would be best for you to target the searchers’ intent, you will need to know the characteristics of them.

The characteristics are all related. Let’s start with short-tail keywords.

Short-tail keywords are keywords that have low focus. They are general keywords that get a high volume of searches. This is evident in the SERP. When volume is high, the competition, without a doubt will become high.

Hence, the cost to rank for the keyword would be high as well. Considering there are many competitors, and if your business isn’t ranking well, the conversion rate will be low.

For long-tail keywords, the characteristics are the complete opposite. They are focused keywords. Not all users type in the same focused keywords. With that said, their search volume is low as well as their competition.

The cost to rank for this keyword will be low. On the other hand, the conversion rate tends to be high.

In conclusion, long-tail keywords would be easier to target and rank for, if you’re not widely known yet. With these characteristics listed, it should be clearer for you to decide which type of keywords are best for your business.

We do have a more detailed blog post on these two types of keywords, read them here: Side-by-side Comparison of Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords.

b. Short-term fresh keyword and long-term evergreen keyword

Short-term fresh keywords are terms popular for a specific time period only. It could be a one-time popular event or it could be a yearly event. Meaning, it will only get search volume during that period of time.

On the other hand, an evergreen keyword is a keyword that is relevant all the time. Meaning, there will always be people searching for the keyword and wanting to read your content even if it’s written 2 years ago.

You can determine how fresh or evergreen a keyword is by using Google Trends.

An example of a short-term fresh keyword is “winter jacket”.

As you can see from Google Trends, the interest starts to increase around September and reaches its peak in November. That’s because winter is around the corner.

What do you do with this data? Well, you’ll know when is the right time to start promoting your items and focusing your efforts. Promoting them in May wouldn’t bring you much good as compared to October.

Now, let’s look at an example of a long-term evergreen keyword, “build muscle”.

As you can see from the Google Trends result below, the interest over time is pretty high and consistent.

It’s simple. It’s getting traffic consistently because it can be talked about at any time of the year.

These two examples show how helpful Google Trends is when doing keyword research. So, starting today, remember to take a look at the trends of your keyword before writing. You should also refer to the interest by region as well as related queries below.

c. Customer defining keyword

Surely, a business must have a targeted persona. A targeted persona will help you drive your marketing campaign better and more effectively.

It’s rare to have one-size-fits-all products. So, address your target audience clearly. It may only add one or two words to your product but it makes a whole lot of difference.

If you’re selling bikes, you will have different bikes for men, women, and kids. Adults without children may not be interested if they were shown the kids’ bikes. So, it’s very important to identify your target audience, in order for them to find you.

Trek has perfectly utilized customer defining keywords.

d. Geo-targeting keyword

This type of keyword is especially helpful for small local businesses. Typically, they’re used to getting people to a storefront.

Geo-targeting keywords make search results more relevant as it is more focused.

Let’s say, Jeffrey, an Iowan, typed in “Carpet cleaning in the United States” in the search engine and got the results below.

Do you think Jeffrey would consider the search result?

No… because it does not serve Iowa.

Then, Jeffrey decided to be more specific and typed in “Carpet cleaning in Iowa”. He then got the results below.

What about now?

Jeffrey finds this helpful and begins looking into them one by one because their relevant and serve the Iowa state. He ends up having an appointment with one of them.

There you have it, the power of geo-targeting keywords. Also, if you noticed, the search results are also way less, meaning, there is lesser competition.

e. LSI keywords

LSI keyword is short for latent semantic indexing keywords. LSI keywords were never meant to be synonyms.

They are keywords that are semantically related to your main keyword, which means, keywords that have a high degree of correlation with each other.

They’re used in content to give contextual information to the search engines and the users. When your page is better understood and provides good value, it will get a better ranking.

Let’s take the word “apple” as an example.

If in a set of content we can find the words “vitamin C”, “sweet”, and “healthy”, we know that the word “apple” is referring to the fruit.

On the other hand, if words like ” camera”, “accessories” and “music” are being used, it is clear that the word “apple” is referring to the giant tech company.

Image credit: LSIGraph

Can LSI Keywords help you better understand user intent?

Why yes, yes it can. With the list of LSI keywords generated, you get an idea of what other relevant keywords users are searching for. With that, you will know what else interests your readers and this will contribute to the big idea.

Another upside of LSI keywords is that you may appear for keyword variation/ multiple keywords.

In the next chapter “List of Keyword Research Tools”, I will teach you how you can find LSI keywords.

f. Intent targeting keyword

For informational search intent, users are trying to know more about a particular item. Keywords that frequently appear in informational content are “benefits of”, “ways to”, “guide”, and the 5W 1 H (who, what, where, when, why, and how).

Just one tip to remember; the ultimate aim is to educate readers.

The next intent is commercial intent. When making this search, the users are more interested in making a purchase. Your goal is to provide them with plenty of valuable information and then get them to make the conversion.

Use keywords like product description, features, shipping fee, and places of origin. You will also need to do keyword research to know what to include in there.

The last intent is transactional intent. This is the process where users are ready to make a transaction. You need to give them a good reason why they should buy from you.

So, consider using keywords like “best quality”, “guaranteed”, “sale”, “free shipping”, and “no-fuss refund”.

For a more detailed information on the types of keywords, read 9 Types of Keywords in SEO You Need to Know to Convert.

How to Get Started on Keyword Research

Let’s get into how anyone can get started on keyword research. The basic step is actually done where you understood the metrics you should know; which is also provided by keyword research tools.

The next step is to know the tools that will give you information about keywords.

With these tools, you’ll be able to create a keyword silo for your content planning, which allows you to interlink your blog posts strategically.

Besides focusing on just your own keywords, you will also need to study your competitors. Keyword research is never complete if you don’t find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for.

I’ll bring you through how you can perform competitive research and keyword gap analysis in just a bit.

Let’s take a look at the list of keyword tools first.

List of Keyword Tools

1. LSIGraph

Yes, I’ve mentioned this tool earlier.

LSIGraph is a freemium keyword research tool. Specifically, it’s an LSI keyword generator.

It will give you hundreds of keywords that are semantically related to your target keyword. Just like most keyword tools, it also provides you with trends, volume, cost per click, and competition.

However, what makes LSIGraph unique is its LSV value and semantic classification.

Some additional features of LSIGraph premium are white-label reports creation, project management, and bulk keyword research.

2. BiQ Keyword Intelligence

BiQ. Have you heard of it? I think most of you who visit our blog occasionally would know about BiQ by now.

For those of you who do not know what BiQ is, let me introduce. It is an SEO Suite but it isn’t like the rest. BiQ prides itself as the World’s First SEO Suite That Lets You Control The Price.

In simpler words, you will only need to pay for the features you use. Enough introduction, if you would like to know more about the suite, here’s their homepage: BiQ Keyword Intelligence.

Of course, BiQ has a module that allows you to do keyword research. Its module is pretty awesome, I’d say. I’ve tried the tool firsthand during their first beta.

Check out a screenshot I managed to take:

Do feel special, because you’re one of the first few people who’ve seen the inside of BiQ.

Just like LSIGraph as mentioned above, it has data like other keyword tools. However, BiQ goes a little wider. It allows you to filter results by search intent, long-tail, and relatedness.

BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence module also gives you content ideas, popular questions related to the keyword, and trending searches involving that keyword.

To summarize, you can do a lot with this tool and get lots of important data. It’s still in the beta stage, and it is actually inviting people to test the tool. If you would like to be amongst the first to try the tool, request early access here: Early Access for BiQ.

How to Use Keywords for SEO

Now you basically know everything from tools to use, metrics to look at, and understanding searchers’ intent.

But there’s more to come.

Do you know where to use your keywords for SEO?

Some may think that everybody knows the answer to this, but the truth is, not everybody does. We all know that there are some people out there who are only focusing on putting their keywords in the content.

Well, that’s not it. Now, for the keywords that you have decided to use, there are many other places you should add your keywords, if applicable. They are as follows:

i. Title Tag and description tag

The title and description tag is the first thing that users see in the SERP. What’s the point if you have the keywords in your content?

Even if you rank for a certain keywords because it’s inside your content, chances are some of the users will not click into it because the title and description tags doesn’t give them exactly what they want.

So, start adding your keywords to your title tags and meta description. If you noticed, search engines are mainly showing results that contain the keyword in the title tag and meta description.

ii. Header and subheader Tags

Let’s hear what John Mueller of Google said about headings:

“H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings. So I would use them in the proper way on a page.”

With that said, the next place you want to put your keywords at is your headings. Headings are a great way to tell the search engines and users what your site is about.

Heading tags also tend to appear as short answers in the featured snippet often, so you would want to do some keyword research on what keywords to have in your headings.

Process Street has demonstrated a pretty good way to use the keywords LSIGraph generated as headings. Take a look below:

Image credit: Process Street

I personally think that it’s a brilliant idea.

iii. Image Alt Tags

Image alt tags is an HTML attribute applied to image to describe what the image is about.

The main purpose of using an alt tag is to benefit visually impared users who use screen readers, users who turned off images and users that use text-based browsers.

So, use alt tags to provide good experience to the users and give search engines a better idea of what the image is about.

The alt attribute will also show on your page if your image cannot be displayed for some reason. Here’s an example from Google:

Image alt tags by Google

Lastly, having keywords in your image alt tags and title may give you a better chance of showing up in the search engine.

iv. Anchor Text

Anchor text are words that contain links. Having keywords in your anchor text helps to give users and search engines an idea where the link is leading to.

It also gives the search engines a good understanding of what your post is about. Just remember to use a LSI keywords in your anchor text to avoid Google penalty.

Tricks and Advice for ranking

Now, I’ll be sharing with you some tricks and advice for ranking through keyword research.

The first being creating a content silo, and the next, conducting keyword gap analysis.

Create Content Silo

Content silo means grouping up your content based on the topic.

This can help you in 3 ways,

    1. Your readers can easier navigate your content since they are grouped together and closely related topics are easily available

    2. It’s also easier for your writers or you yourself to systematically pump out content focusing on 1 topic at a time

    3. Having a good amount of content on the same topic, closely placed in your website helps search engines understand and associate your website with the topics which you are an authority in.

Why you need a content silo

“Design your site to have a clear conceptual page hierarchy.”

When you have content silo, Google understands the width and depth of your expertise better.

Look at these examples,

In these examples, the blog posts are all filled under /blog without further categorization.

Here, the blog posts are further categorized based on their topic, be it keyword-research or on-page-seo.

Which one do you think is easier for the readers looking for a certain blog post? Going through all the posts under blog or clicking on the silos for the topic they are interested in?

This shows that having a taxonomy helps you organize, maintain, display, personalize, and ensure content discovery around your audience’s buyer’s journey

You start losing visitors and sales if the content on your pages are organized in ways that

Does not match user expectation
Not easily discoverable

How to create a content silo

First, decide on the depth of the silo – how many levels do you want?

It is best to control your content silo at 3 levels. Any deeper than that, it becomes harder to navigate.

Let’s look at this


The first one is definitely easier to navigate right?

Imagine the amount of frustration you’ll feel having to navigate through so many categories and layers just to look for a pair of jeans.

This shows just how important it is to have less than 4 silo layers.

Make sure that your top tier silo actually makes sense.

If you’re providing writing service, the first tier of your silo should look like this.

Service & Pricing, Sample, Contact us, FaQ

Now imagine you’re starting your silo with the names of the writers in your team, Jackson, Phoebe, Jessica, Hugh, Ben.

You’re not only missing out on keyword and search opportunities, but this also doesn’t make much sense to visitors navigating your website looking for a helpful product.

You want to use key terms that are clear and defined for your visitors. If those keywords have a high search volume, that’s another plus.

For content creation, fit your silo layers to your buyer’s journey

A silo doesn’t have to be a rigid structure on your website. It can also simply mean the flow of your content.

An example of a content silo for a fitness site, starting from the top tier of the silo.

Informational – What is muscle cramps > Actionable advice – Integrating stretching into your workout routine > Guide with product example – How to stretch out your back muscles using a rolling foam

You see, the deeper the silo goes, the more specific and focused your content becomes.

In the deepest layer of the silo, you’re presenting your readers with actionable and tailored advice on a specific topic, while slipping in just enough exposure for your own product. So if they want to, they can click on that purchase button.

And by that point, they have enough trust in you to follow through with the advice.

Which makes it easier to convert them into joining your email list, downloading your ebook, or purchasing your products.

Silo your content based on a buyer’s journey, so you can push them from a reader to a buyer.

Internal linking your keywords

Have you ever been to Wikipedia to look upon one thing, and find yourself still one Wikipedia hours later on a topic completely irrelevant to the one you first lookup?

That’s because Wikipedia has terrific interlinking.

Look at all the interlinks (blue texts) in this Wikipedia article, and that’s just the introduction.

When you’re linking one page in your website to another, it’s called an internal link, since those pages all belong under that website.

Internal links are super important if you want to keep visitors in your website, to keep them moving from one content to another, one product to another.

And also keep your bounce rate low.

A bounce happens when a visitor leaves your website after having only visited one webpage.

For blog posts and articles, the bounce rate is usually around 70%, so if you can’t keep it around or lower than that, you have to rethink your interlinking strategy.

Search engines such as Google tracks certain user interaction with your page to determine your ranking.

Which in this case, having a lower bounce rate – fewer people exiting your website after only visited one page – can be beneficial for your ranking.

How to choose which pages to link?

Now that you know what is internal linking and why it’s important, how do you choose to link from one page to another?

1. The topic must be relevant

Interlinking is not only a way to guide your visitors from one content to another.

It’s also a way to reinforce Google’s understanding of your authority on a certain topic.

Let’s say you have a silo for muscle gain, and you interlink them. This is a way of telling Google that you have all these related content on muscle gain.

So the next time someone searches for muscle gain on Google your website might be shown right up there.

Now, you can interlink your pages if there is a topic relevance at the post level or sentence level.

Even if the content is majorly about muscle gain, but if one of the sentences mentioned yoga, then you can definitely link that keyword “yoga” to a yoga-related content.

Here’s an example of a simple hyperlink in a sentence.

When you want to draw more attention, you can also create a box to showcase that blog post specifically.

Like this.

Another way is to put in recommended posts.

You have probably seen this everywhere, even on YouTube. Once your video ends, the screen will be filled with thumbnails of recommended videos.

Recommending related content must be great. Amazing even. Why else would YouTube be doing it right?

A simple way to integrate recommended posts into your content is by listing them down after the conclusion of your blog post.

2. You should push your readers along the buyer’s journey

The deeper you dive into a silo, the more specific the content goes.

And the further along the silo is your reader, the further along the buyer cycle they should be.

Your content should be synchronised with your potential buyer’s journey.

How can that happen?

Through interlinking.

Interlinking is another way to push, or in a better word, guide your readers gently down the funnel.

They may have reached you through your general article targeting a short tail keyword. You can then strategically place links there that leads them to related content further down the silo.

If you led them down the funnel on the topic they’re looking for, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

Just using content alone, you could have warmed up these readers enough to turn into a lead or even a client.

Remember the example I’ve shown before?

Informational – What is muscle cramps > Actionable advice – Integrating stretching into your workout routine > Guide with product example – How to stretch out your back muscles using a rolling foam

Keep the buyer’s journey silo you have created in mind, and link your contents from the first silo to the second silo as a way to guide the readers further along.

Conducting Keyword Gap Analysis

An important part of keyword research is identifying the keyword gap.

What is keyword gap analysis?

You’re comparing your keyword rankings with your competitor’s keyword ranking. From there, you can see which keywords they are ranking for that you don’t, thus, exploring new ranking opportunities and keywords to write about.

At SEOPressor, we conduct Keyword Gap Analysis using BiQ’s rank intelligence tool.

I used to do that manually on Google search, but with the tool, I can get more data in a shorter time, which is definitely a plus.

So what you want to do is just click on the Rank Intelligence bar at the left, then click on create a new profile on the menu.

Now, you can put in any of your competitor’s website here to get a glimpse on your keyword rankings.

Once you’ve keyed in the website, you need to choose how much of the data you want to be shown. Since I’m on the free tier plan, I just chose the maximum available which is 1000 keywords.

That is already a lot to work on, so don’t worry about not being able to see all the data.

You can then filter the keywords based on rankings, or search volume, there are more but I find those 2 the most useful.

Now that you have the keywords ranking of your competitor, you just repeat and rinse the same process for your own website, then compare which keywords you should be ranking instead.

Amazing right?

This is a wonderful trick to use to explore and create a keyword profile that you can be sure is profitable for your own content creation effort.

Filter and categorize the keywords based on your keyword silo

Now that you know which keywords to target, remember the keyword silo that you have set up earlier?
Now, to create a list of keywords that you can use.

1. Filter your keywords based on search volume, or competition, or a mix of both. But I usually go with search volume.

2. Pluck out those that your competitor is ranking for that you’re not.

3. Identify which silo they belong to and keep a record of that.

4. Now you can create content that you can have a good reference on (your competitor), which you know will bring in good traffic (search volume), you also know which other contents you can link your readers to based on your keyword silo.

Key Takeaway: Keyword Results are Unique

Ultimately, understand that every keyword result is unique and that can be down to a single letter ‘s’ which separates singular and plural keywords.

Just like “teddy bear” vs “teddy bears” — can create the difference between the former being an informational query and the later a transactional one.

If you are looking to do digital or content marketing at all, keyword research is a must-do process.

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Complete Guide: Become The Perfect Inbound Marketer Today

    10 must-have qualities of an inbound marketer.

  • Learn how you can effectively attract people
  • Proven examples on applying the best inbound marketing techniques.
  • Detailed, yet simple.

Complete Guide: Become The Perfect Inbound Marketer Today

What You Can Do With a Free SEMrush Account

Posted by on Feb 25, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What You Can Do With a Free SEMrush Account

Building your SEO toolkit is generally dictated by two things: your budget and your goals. This makes test-driving tools and platforms an ideal way to figure out which platforms provide the features that you need most, and lets you determine just how much you have to invest in tools to access them. Many platforms offer free trials, but they can be very limiting. One tool we use at Distilled is SEMrush. They offer a 7-day trial that gives users the flexibility to try a range of features for free.

As mentioned above, we regularly use SEMrush at Distilled. If we were to maximize our trial while tightening our purse strings, however, what would we do with this free subscription? 

The short answer: Many of the same things we would do with a paid subscription, the caveat being that the reports and data we pull will be limited to just a handful of results. To get a clearer view of our options, let’s look into the benefits and limitations of this free account 

What are the Limitations of a Free SEMrush Account?

First things first: Let’s talk limits. As comprehensive as the SEMrush free trial is, it still only offers users a sampling of the features of a paid account. To get the most out of a trial, a low-budget marketer should know these limitations before starting. Otherwise, you could risk going over budget on each feature too quickly before you’ve had a chance to leverage each one.

As a general rule, you can access up to 10 listed results. For more involved features such as reports, you can create one of each.  Below is an overview of some popular tools and their limitations:

  • 10 searches per day
  • 10 results per search
  • Max 100 pages crawled for the site audit
  • 10 keywords to track
  • 10 idea units for On Page SEO Tracker
  • 1 SEO content template
  • 1 SEO Writing Assistant template
  • 1 Keyword Magic Tool list
  • 2 search queries in Topic Research
  • 1 PDF report

Now that we know our boundaries, we can determine the best tools to use during the trial period.

Keyword Research

Domain Overview

As imperative as keyword research is to any digital content marketing strategy, adding in a limited budget makes this even more challenging. Thankfully, the keyword tools within SEMrush are extensive, and luckily, you have access to many of these via their free trial. You can view a URL’s top organic keywords by position, volume, cost per click, and traffic, all under Domain Overview. 

Simply enter a URL into the Organic Research search bar to see that domain’s top organic keywords, position changes, competitors, SERP features, top pages, and top subdomains. 

Beware that each of these reports counts toward your 10 searches per day maximum, so we recommend planning out searches for the week to see which keywords are your top priority and execute those first.

Organic position tracking

The Keyword Overview is an excellent resource to kickstart keyword research on a budget. Search up to 10 keywords per day to monitor how you and your competitors rank for specific keywords and related terms. 

Keyword magic tool lists

Use this keyword research tool to narrow in on niche terms and optimize your content with long-tail keywords. This is especially useful if you’re building a hub and spoke model. Once you determine the hub topic you want to concentrate on, the Keyword Magic Tool provides related terms to add to your content strategy. The trial offers up to 10 keyword suggestions, so have your topics in mind before starting to search.


Backlink analysis

It’s important to identify who links to your site and where, and to eliminate spammy links to your site. While it may not stand in for a full competitor backlink audit, SEMrush’s Backlink Analysis does have its benefits for marketers looking to manage their backlinks within budget. This tool lets you view backlinks by link type, link attribute, country, domain category, and key anchor terms to pinpoint where your content gets the most traction. 

SEMrush also provides its own domain Authority Score to help you determine the quality of backlinks to your site. Monitoring the value of your backlinks can help increase your site’s visibility and rankings, making them an important component in your overall SEO strategy. The tool’s Authority Score is based on an amalgamation of various data points including Page Score, Domain Score, and Trust Score. In using it to determine which links are most and least valuable, you can clean up your backlinking profile. 

You can also easily keep track of your backlinks by viewing a chart of your lost and gained backlinks over the past 3 months, full year, or of all time.

If you need a more in-depth, semi-automated analysis of your backlinks, the Backlink Audit Tool is a useful option for an initial audit to locate and clean up irrelevant or spammy links.

Backlink gap

If you want to take a closer look at your competitors’ backlinks and find some leads yourself, SEMrush’s Backlink Gap is a helpful tool. Plus, the 10 results you get in the trial put you in a good position to start your backlink campaign.

With this tool, you can compare your domain to up to four others. You will get two views of their backlinks–a chart and a table. For each domain you compare, you’ll see who links to them and the Authority Score of each linking domain. 

On-Page SEO/Content

SEO content template

Once you know which keywords you want to target, you can start developing content ideas with SEMrush’s SEO Content Template. Enter the keywords you aim to rank for, and you’ll be presented with your top 10 Google competitors for those keywords, partnered with recommendations to challenge them. On-page recommendations include semantically related keywords, backlinks to acquire, a suggested readability score, recommended metadata, and suggested content length.

From here, you can access the On Page SEO Checker which gives you real-time feedback on your content. This way you will know right away if your content follows SEO best practices while also competing with your top-ranking URLs/ Google rivals. 

Content Strategy

Topic research 

Developing content ideas can be challenging. The Topic Research tool can help with the brainstorming process by providing potential topics and sub-topics to create content around. You can see the terms your competitors are ranking for and find gaps in their content with this free trial. Run a comprehensive Keyword Gap analysis and search by country, device type, and the date range you need.

Pulling the data is easy. Simply enter up to five URLs that you want to compare in the respective search boxes and select the types of keywords you want results for. Choose from organic, paid and PLA keywords depending on the campaign you’re planning. You can then specify your results further by selecting the intersection you want to explore. Whether you want to see the keywords you and your competitors have in common or you’re looking for gaps in their content, you can narrow in on the data you receive based on that goal.

Lastly, hit “Go” to start your data pull.  

From there, you can filter your data within the tool and analyze it via the various charts and diagrams available. Alternatively, you can easily export your keyword data into XLS or CSV format and analyze from there. The choice is yours. Be aware that this is a trial, however, so you will only see the first 10 results for any given intersect and each data pull will go against your daily maximum of 10 queries.

Tracking and Reporting

Create a project

If you’re looking for the fullest view of your site, and have some time to dedicate to setting it up, the Project tool can be incredibly valuable. Set up the features you need most depending on your goals. Choose from 12 project-types ranging from a site tech audit to a backlink audit, social media tracker, and PPC keyword tracking.

As you may have noticed, the tracking possibilities here are vast. To get you started, here are some of our most-used features that have the most functionality in the free trial.

Site audit

If you’re looking for another crawling tool, you’re in luck! You can run a limited crawl with SEMrush. Check for technical errors including broken internal links, long title tags, and missing h1 tags. Keep in mind that this free trial version will only crawl 100 pages of your site, so this sampling will get you started and is ideal if you’re a super small site.

Position tracking

Use this tool to track your top-ranking keywords within a given project. To get started, simply set up your campaign: Select your root domain, search engine and device of choice, and your location. SEMrush then pulls the top-ranking keywords for that domain. You can also upload keywords manually or through Google Analytics if you like,  but that will be more helpful if/when you invest in a paid plan. 

Once you have your list, you can add these top keywords to your project and start tracking them. After a minute or two,  your Position Tracking dashboard will appear.

Here, you can monitor the progress of your keyword targeting. Track how your site ranks in the top three positions for the keywords you’re tracking and look for opportunity keywords on the second and third pages of the SERP. You can also compare rankings with competitor sites, monitor the success of select landing pages, and track any featured snippets you may have gained or lost over the week.

Backlink Audit

While there are a variety of tools out there to help you run a backlink audit, it’s worth testing out SEMrush’s Backlink Audit during your free trial. This tool helps you quickly locate toxic backlinks and request their removal.

Once you run your audit, you can take a closer look at the backlink results. It marks each backlink with a score: 45-59 is potentially toxic and should be examined more closely; 60-100 is a toxic link and you should strongly consider removing it from your site.

Note: This tool is a guide, so before removing any links from your site it is important to review and analyze them.

If you do find toxic links in this audit, you can send requests to remove or disavow the links directly from SEMrush.

Create a PDF report

If you have to bring your findings to a team of stakeholders or justify the value of SEMrush to managers, you’ll likely enjoy one of the most comprehensive and advanced features on the SEMrush’s free trial–the report feature. 

Within the trial scope, you can create one report to communicate your digital marketing status. Choose from an array of templated reports or create your own from scratch. The drag and drop method comes in handy here as you can select the most relevant data points for your team and compile them into an easy-to-digest report. 

You can connect a domain’s Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google my Business accounts to instantly pull data from each source.

Additionally, choose from the wide variety of domain analytics SEMrush can pull from its own platform into graphs, charts, and tables.

Don’t get too excited, though. Since the trial is free, you only get to create one report and your options for selecting data points are more limited than the paid accounts, so make sure you have a plan in mind before starting to create your report.

How to Make the Most of Your Seven Days

Know which data points you want to research

Are you using the trial to suss out your competitors’ rankings, for instance, or are you more interested in building out your backlink strategy? Defining your goals and the data points you need to attain them is crucial to leveraging your free SEMrush trial to its fullest, so we recommend having a clear idea of what you’re looking for before getting started.

Identify your most trafficked pages

It’s beneficial to define your best-performing content prior to starting your 7-day free trial. That way, you’ll know which URLs you want to look into first, as well as those that need additional optimization. 

Prepare your keywords

If you already know which keywords you’re ranking for and want to take a closer look at your competitors or to flesh out your content strategy, be sure to gather those queries ahead of time. This will make it easier for you to check search volume and semantically-related keywords for relevant terms without blowing your search budget.

Have a list of possible competitors

Having a handful of competitors in mind can be extremely helpful when setting up your SEMrush dashboards. While the tool will suggest your top Google competitors, it may not pick up on the more indirect competition. If you have a list of these companies prior to starting your trial, you can save a portion of your search budget to dig into your nuanced competitors while also discovering additional ranking rivals.

Leverage Google Search Console

Understanding your site’s current status will help you determine which direction to head in next. Google Search Console gives you insight into how you rank for various terms, and which pages resonate most with your audience. You can then use this information to retarget any pages that are ranking for irrelevant keywords, for example, within SEMrush.

With these tips, you can comfortably get started with a free 7-day trial from SEMrush, and make the most of your limited searches.

Have you had to sell the value of SEMrush to internal stakeholders? Did we miss your favorite free feature? If so, let us know in the comments below.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Your SEO Traffic Using Ubersuggest

Posted by on Feb 25, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Your SEO Traffic Using Ubersuggest

There are a lot of tools out there and a ton of SEO reports.

But when you use them, what happens?

You get lost, right?

Don’t worry, that’s normal (sadly). And maybe one day I will
be able to fix that.

But for now, the next best thing I can do is teach you how to grow your SEO traffic using Ubersuggest. This way, you know exactly what to do, even if you have never done any SEO.

Here we go…

Step #1: Create a project

Head over to the Ubersuggest dashboard and
register for a free account.

Once you do that, I want you to click on “Add Your First Project.”

Next, add your URL and the name of your website.

Then pick the main country or city that you do business in. If you are a national business, then type in the country you are in. If you are a local business, type in your city and click “Next.”

If you do business in multiple countries or cities, you can type them in one at a time and select each country or city.

Assuming you have your site connected to Google Search Console, you’ll see a list of keywords that you can automatically track on the left-hand side. Aside from tracking any of those, you can track others as well. Just type in the keywords you want to track in the box and hit the “Enter” key.

After hitting the “Next” button, you will be taken to your dashboard. It may take a minute but your dashboard will look something like this:

Click on the “Tracked Keywords” box and load your website profile.

What’s cool about this report is that you can see your rankings
over time both on mobile and desktop devices. This is important because Google
has a mobile index, which means your rankings are probably slightly different
on mobile devices than desktop.

If you want to see how you are ranking on Google’s mobile index, you just have to click the “Mobile” icon.

The report is self-explanatory. It shows your rankings over time for any keyword you are tracking. You can always add more keywords and even switch between locations.

For example, as of writing this blog post, I rank number 4 on desktop devices for the term “SEO” in the United States. In the United Kingdom, though, I rank number 16. Looks like I need to work on that. 😉

What’s cool about this report is you can drill down on any
keyword and track your rankings over time. For example, here’s what my site
looks like now…

The purpose of this report is to track your SEO progress. If you are heading in the right direction, your rankings should be going up over time.

Sure, some weeks your rankings will be up and other weeks it
will be down, but over time you should see them climb.

Step #2: Fixing your SEO errors

Once you have created your first project, it’s time to improve your rankings.

Let’s first start off by going to the “Site Audit” report. In the navigation, click on the “Site Audit” button.

Once you are there, type in your URL and click the “Search” button.

It can take a few minutes to run the report, but once it is
done it will look something like this.

Your goal is to optimize your site for as high as an SEO score as possible. Ideally, you want to be reaching for 90 or higher.

Keep in mind that as you add more pages to your site and it gets bigger, it will be increasingly harder to achieve a 90+ score. So, for sites that have more than a few hundred pages, shoot for a score that is at least 80.

As you can see above, I’m getting close to the 80 mark, so I’ll have to get my team to go in and fix some of my errors and warnings.

When looking at this report, you’ll want to fix your critical errors first, then your warnings if you have time. Eventually, you want to consider fixing the recommendations as well.

Click on “Critical Errors” if you have any. If not, click on the Warnings” option. You’ll see a report that looks something like this:

Your errors are probably going to be different than mine, but your report will look similar.

Click through on the first issue on the report and work your way down. The report sorts the results based on impact. The ones at the top should be fixed first as they will have the highest chance of making an impact on your traffic.

If you aren’t sure of what to do or how to fix the issue, just click on the “What Is This” and “How Do I Fix It” prompts.

Again, you will want to do this for all of your critical
errors and warnings.

Once you do that, go back to the “Site Audit” report and scroll down to where you see your site speed results.

Your goal should be to get an “Excellent” ranking for both mobile and desktop devices. If you are struggling to do this, check out Pagespeed Insights by Google as it will give you a detailed explanation of what to fix.

If you are like me, you probably will need someone to help
you out with this. You can always find a developer from Upwork and pay them 50 to 100 dollars to fix
your issues.

After you fix your errors, you’ll want to double-check to make sure you did them right. Click on the “Recrawl Website” button to have Ubersuggest recrawl your site and double-check that the errors were fixed correctly.

It will take a bit for Ubersuggest to recrawl your website
as it is going through all of your code again.

Step #3: Competitor analysis

By now you have probably heard the saying that “content is king.”

In theory, the more content you have, the more keywords you will have on your site and the higher the chance that you’ll rank on Google for more terms.

Of course, the content needs to be of high quality and people have to be interested in that topic. If you write about stuff that no one wants to read about, then you won’t get any traffic.

Now, I want you to go to the “Traffic Analyzer Overview” report.

Put in a competitor’s URL and you will see a report that
looks something like this.

This report shows the estimated monthly visitors your competition is receiving from search engines, how many keywords they are ranking for on page 1 of Google, their top pages, every major keyword they rank for, and the estimated traffic each keyword drives to their site.

I want you to go to the “Top Pages” section and click the button that says “View The Pages That Drive Traffic To This Domain.”

You’ll be taken to the “Top Pages” report.

Here, you will see a list of pages that your competition has on their site. The ones at top are their most popular pages and as you go down the list you’ll find pages that get less and less traffic.

Now I want you to click “View All” under “Estimated Visits” for the top page on your competition’s site.

These are the keywords that the page ranks for.

And you’ll also want to click “View All” under links to see who links to your competition.

Save that list by exporting the results (just click the export button) or by copying them.

I want you to repeat this process for the top 10 to 20 pages for each of your main competitors. It will give you an idea of the keywords that they are going after that drive them traffic.

Next, I want you to click on the “Keywords” navigation link under the “Traffic Analyzer” heading.

You’ll see a list of all of the keywords your competitor ranks for and how much traffic they are getting for those keywords.

This list will give you an idea of the keywords that your
competition is targeting.

Now, by combining the data you saw from the “Top Pages” report and the data you got from the “Keywords” report, you’ll now have a good understanding of the type of keywords that are driving your competition traffic.

I want you to take some of those keywords and come up with
your own blog post ideas.

Step #4: Come up with blog post ideas

You can come up with ideas to blog on using a few simple
reports in Ubersuggest.

The first is the “Content Ideas” report. In the navigation bar, click on the “Content Ideas” button.

I want you to type in one of the keywords your competition
is ranking for that you also want to rank for.

For example, I rank for “SEO tips.” If you want to rank for that term, you would type that into the content ideas report and hit the “Search” button.

You’ll then see a list of blog posts that have done well on that topic based on social shares, backlinks, and estimated visits.

It takes some digging to find good topics because ideally, a post should have all 3: social shares, backlinks, and estimated visits.

When you find a good one, click “View All” under “Estimated Visits” to see the keywords that the post ranks for.

If you write a similar post, you’ll want to make sure you include these keywords.

And you’ll want to click “View All” under links to see who links to your competition. Keep track of this as you will use it later. You can do this by copying the list or by clicking on the export button.

You can also get more ideas by going to the keyword ideas report. So, in the navigation bar, click on the “Keyword Ideas” button.

From there, type in keywords related to what your competition ranks for and you will see a list of long-tail suggestions that are similar.

You can also click on the “Related” link in that report to see a bigger list of related keywords.

And you can click on “Questions,” “Prepositions,” and “Comparisons” to see even more keyword and blog post ideas.

Typically, the more search volume a keyword has the more
traffic you’ll get when you write about it.

Now that you have a list of keywords and topic ideas, it’s time for you to write and publish your content.

If you are new to writing blog posts, watch the video below. It breaks down my writing process.

Step #5: Promotion

I wish SEO was as simple as fixing errors and writing content based on popular keywords but it isn’t.

Remember how I had you create a list of sites that link to your competition?

You know, the ones you got from the “Top Pages” and “Content Ideas” reports.

I want you to start emailing each of the sites linking to your competition and ask them to link to you. See if someone else is linking to your competition. If they are, it shows you that they don’t mind linking to sites in your space. This means that there is a good chance you can convince them to link to you as well.

You’ll have to browse around their site to find their email. But once you do, send off a personal message explaining why your content will provide value to their readers and how it is different/better than what they are currently linking to.

In addition to that, I want you to go to the “Backlinks” report. In the navigation bar, click on the “Backlinks” option.

In this report, I want you to type in your competitor’s domain. You’ll see a report that looks like this:

You’ll be able to see their total link count, link growth over time, and, most importantly, a list of sites linking to your competition.

Now type in a URL of a blog post that your competition has written and that you know is popular (do this in the search bar). Next to it, in the search bar, change the drop-down to “URL” and click the “Search” button.

Once the report is done loading, you’ll see a new list of links pointing to that specific URL on your competition’s site.

I want you to do the same thing. Reach out to all of those
URLs and ask for a link as well.

When doing this, you’ll find that a lot of people will ignore you but you need to think of it as sales. You need to follow up and try to convince people. The more links you get, the higher your rankings will climb in the long run.

Even if you only convince 5 people out of 100 that you
email, it is still not bad as something is better than nothing.


My goal with Ubersuggest wasn’t to create too many reports, but instead, make the tool easy to use so you can generate more search traffic.

And as your rankings and traffic climb, you’ll see within your Ubersuggest dashboard how things are going.

What’s beautiful about this is that it will crawl your site automatically once you create a project. This way, when new SEO errors appear, Ubersuggest will notify you.

So, are you ready to improve your SEO traffic? Go to Ubersuggest and create a project.

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Your SEO Traffic Using Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Write an Incredible Title Tag

Posted by on Feb 18, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Write an Incredible Title Tag

The humble title tag. Probably the single most important 50-60 characters of that piece of content you’ve written. 

Perhaps you’ve found this post because you’ve spent hours pouring your soul into a piece of writing and now you’ve realised people will only read it if you write a good 50-60 characters. Or maybe it’s just that your boss told you that he needs quick wins for your product pages and so you’re turning in desperation to the ol’ title tag. Writing a good title tag is part art, part science.  How do you do it?

We’ll start with some quick basics for beginners. If you’re looking for the split test results, fun processes & all the more advanced things, scroll down two sections. Nothing to see here.


What is a title tag?

The title tag of a page is the HTML tag which is used to summarise the content of your webpage. It’ll be used by search engines as the title in search:

Yes, I’m using my own post as an example…

In your browser tab:

And even as a fallback in social sharing posts:

It isn’t the same thing as the on-page title! An on-page title could be written as a variation of your title tag, or something completely different. If we take a look at the article I’m using as an example we can see that the brand isn’t on the on-page title.

  • Title tag: A Complete Guide to Log Analysis with Big Query | Distilled
  • On-page title: A Complete Guide to Log Analysis with Big Query

If you want a more severe example take a look at this Redbull article.

How long should a title tag be?

A title tag should typically be 50-60 characters. Technically Google’s maximum size is 600px. This usually works out at about 50-60 characters.

What do we want a title tag to do?

Welcome back, experienced people. What do we want our title tags to do?

  1. Summarise our page: Our title should summarise the general thrust of our page. Google is going to use it to understand what our page is about.
  2. Get people to click: It’s what users are going to see in the SERP. We need to convince people to pick us.

And if we just do one, you usually don’t get the best results. For example, using the title from the blog post above:

  • Totally factual: A Guide on Log Analysis.
  • All click: 6 Easy Steps to Log Analysis They Don’t Want You To Know.

We want to maximise how clicky our titles are without… you know… lying, mentioning that one trick dentists hate and crucially without compromising on summarising the page.

The title is primarily for people arriving on your site from Google. We’re not trying to pull people in who are idling. Those people are on Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, Instagram etc. (I know we did mention above that the title can sometimes be for social, but you can overwrite that if you’d like!)

The audience for your title is someone searching with an intent & that always comes first.

The process is quite different now depending on if you’re writing for a single article, or a template. 

How to write a title tag for a single article

Step 1 – Write the article

Write the article. It’s far easier to write a title when you know what you’ve written about. (This is assuming you know what you’re writing about, otherwise, sometimes headline writing can be a good way to generate ideas.)

Step 2 – Summarise the primary purpose/point of the article

Pull out the primary purpose/point of the article. No clickiness yet, just the factual summary.


Step 3 – Find the factual, commonly searched keywords needed to describe the topic

Try to summarise what someone might search to find your article. Aim for the simplest most basic version of it. Search that term, take the top 5-10 articles which rank for it, plug them into a tool like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Searchmetrics, Brightedge etc. and download all the keywords those articles rank for.

If the top 5-10 articles look nothing like yours either:

  • You’re first to a topic (unlikely, but possible)
  • Or your phrase is wrong, try again.

Once you’re happy with the phrase, take that big list of keywords and look for any other commonly occurring phrases you’re missing and take note.


We’re going to continue using my old article on log analysis as an example. Because it doesn’t have a great title…

First search phrase pick: “log analysis” 

If we look up this keyword these are the top articles (only 3 shown below). Clearly we can see here that none of these articles are about search log analysis, I probably need to change my keyword:

Second search phrase pick: “seo log analysis”

Yep, that search result looks far better. We’ve still got a short phrase, but now the articles are now on topic with my own:

Excellent. Now:

  • Let’s take all the URLs that rank in the top 5-10.
  • Download the keywords they rank  for. (Ahrefs, SEMRush, Sistrix etc.)

And then get the most common keywords from that list. This ngrams tool is a nice way to do it. We get:

word frequency
log 164
analysis 65
file 56
analyzer 41
server 40
logs 29
grep 13
analyze 13
access 12
excel 11

If we pull out the big generic words which would also apply to my article we get:

  • Log
  • Analysis
  • File

And possibly also:

  • Server

Step 4 – Writing lots of titles


Now we’ve got all the factual words we’ll want in our title and brand.

What inspiration can we get for the clicky part? Lets quickly blast through a couple:

  • Writing an emotional headline:
    • Fear
    • Surprise
    • Anger
    • Disgust
    • Affirmation
  • Adding numbers:
    • Number of items in a list
    • Price
    • Date
  • Shameless clickbait inspiration:
    • Adding in mindblowing adverbs
    • The word “actually”
    • Being unreasonably specific

Then we try to write as many headlines as we can, but without trading away our relevance and factual keywords. 

When I started I worked with Hannah Smith on several projects. I remember her beating into us – “Write 20 titles. 20 is really hard.” Most of them will suck, but you’ll force yourself to be creative and somewhere there might be gold.


Back to our previous example.

We’ve got our important factual words. We also know we want SEO as without that the intent of results shown wasn’t correct. Together those 4 words (without server) take up 18 characters. Which gives us roughly 32 characters left to play with. Let’s also look at our current title and see what we’re working with:

  • A Complete Guide to Log Analysis with BigQuery | Distilled
    • Making it clicky 
    • Factual description 
    • Brand 

We can see I’ve used “Complete Guide” to try and make it clicky and that I’ve also put the method of analysis “BigQuery” into the title. Both of these we could definitely play around with. Now we just try to write as many titles as we can.

  • “A Guide to SEO Log File Analysis | Distilled”
  • “What is a log file and why is it helpful for SEO? | Distilled”
  • “6 Stage SEO Log File Analysis – A Complete Guide | Distilled”
  • “How to do an SEO log file analysis | Distilled”
  • “SEO Log File Analysis – The most important technical analysis | Distilled”
  • “5 Ways to Analyse Log Files for SEO You Didn’t Know | Distilled”
  • “Logging in the SEO jungles of the internet | Distilled”
  • “Log analysis is the technical audit you should be doing | Distilled”
  • “Stop wasting your time crawling and look at the logs | Distilled”
  • “Log analysis for SEO in 2020 | Distilled”
  • “Server Log Analysis Guide – SEO For Large Websites | Distilled”

I started with the restrictions and gradually just ignored them in my attempt to get to 20 titles. I didn’t get there. Sorry Hannah.

Step 5 – Picking one

How do we decide which is best? 

Honestly, it’s savagely hard to pick the right title by yourself. Of all the title tag tests we’ve run at Distilled, only one in five is typically positive. When I first started in search, I thought titles were the easy win. About a year and a half of running endless title tag split tests and I’m no longer convinced.

If you can test it. The two easiest ways for a single article are:

  • Paying for it: If you’ve got the budget, you could run paid social media campaigns and see which title performs best.
  • Friends & Colleagues: Make a poll for your friends & colleagues and get them to vote.

How to write hundreds of title tags for a template

The above process works great if all you need to write is a single title.

But if you’ve got a template with hundreds of thousands of pages, then you can’t really do that. Well, you could, but it would be exhausting. Instead, we’re going to need a format for a title that we can apply to all our pages, to make our template shine. That previous process won’t cut it.

Step 1 – Summarise the primary purpose/point of the page

We’re going to start by trying to summarise the attributes of the page in as much detail as possible. This will give us an idea of what pieces of detail we can pull into our titles across our template.


I’ve pulled two page templates from (this isn’t every page template but we’re keeping it simple):

  • Properties for sale – Page
    • URL:
    • Location: Manchester
    • Properties types: Houses & flats
    • Number of properties: 3,940
    • Price range: £190,000 – £3.5 million
    • Numbers of property types:
      • 269 detached
      • 851 semi detached
      • 690 terraced
  • Properties to rent – Page
    • URL:
    • Location: Manchester
    • Properties types: Flats
    • Number of properties: 7,155
    • Price range: £75 – £34,667 per month
    • Numbers of property types:
      • 238 detached
      • 864 semi detached
      • 1,770 terraced

Step 2 – Figure out what searches should return our template

Our templated page matches a specific intent. We need to figure out how to represent that in a title tag. 

Two things make this hard:

  • We might have multiple templates with similar intents.
  • The pages in our template may be similar.

We need to try and make a title which:

  • Differentiates our template from other templates.
  • Differentiates pages in our template from each other.

If we’re really struggling perhaps these pages shouldn’t even exist. But that’s a conversation for another day.


We have two templates:

  • For sale
  • To rent

In this case, it’s pretty simple. For sale & to rent are clearly the important keywords we need to keep each template different. We can see that by looking at the SERPs. Changing those keywords, changes the results from for sale to rent.

Within our template, we have lots of different locations.

  • Properties for sale in Manchester
  • Properties for sale in Ipswich

 In order to keep the pages in our template different, we’re going to need the location in the title.

Step 3 – Accept that it’s messy

But anytime you work with titles it’s going to get messy.

Take our previous example. Rightmove actually has pages for Manchester & Greater Manchester. One ranks for properties and the other for flats. Something is clearly going on there. Uh oh.

Should that change what we do?

When we’re working at scale, patterns are going to breakdown. There hopefully is an underlying pattern, but look long enough and you’ll find exceptions. All we can do is do our best. Make a reasonable guess at what is going on and spoiler for stage 6. Test.

Step 4 – Are there any common phrases we’re missing?

This is exactly the same as step 3 for articles

  • Take your phrase which summarises the page.
  • Search for it. Download all the keywords the top 5-10 results rank for.
  • Find the most common words.


To keep it brief, we’re going to just stick with the properties for sale template for the rest of these steps! Running this example with the top phrases for “properties for sale in manchester” we get:

Keyword Frequency
manchester 211
sale 122
for 107
for sale 96
houses 59
house 45
buy 42
sale manchester 40
houses for 36
property 32

Words to note here are all fairly self-explanatory:

  • Property
  • Houses
  • Buy

Step 5 – What can we add to make it more attractive?

We know what we need to include to make the intent of our page clear.

  • Property/houses
  • For sale/To rent
  • Location

Now let’s use that as a base and write as many titles as possible.  

We want to:

  1. Make them as clicky as possible.
    1. Use extra attributes.
    2. Get creative.
  2. Avoid using words which might change search intent.

A general difference between this and individual articles: If you end up with an entirely factual template title that is far more acceptable here than with an individual article.

Generic ideas for things you can put in titles

  • Adding prices into the title.
  • Adding some sort of quantity into the title. 
  • Adding year into the title. 
  • Put in the obvious e.g. “online” in an online shop.
  • Popular synonyms.

Words to watch out for that can change an intent

  • Comparison style words – best, compare etc. 
  • Deal seeking words: cheapest, cheap, deal, affordable


Let’s have a go at writing titles for our category pages

Our base is:

  • Properties for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove

Let’s make variants:

  • Properties & Houses for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove
  • Buy Properties & Houses for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove
  • Buy Houses & Properties for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove
  • 3,940 Houses & Properties for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove
  • 3,000+ Houses & Properties for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove
  • Properties for Sale – Houses for Sale in Manchester | Rightmove
  • 3,940 Houses & Properties for Sale Across Manchester | Rightmove
  • 3,940 Houses for Sale in Manchester – Get there first | Rightmove
  • 3,940 Properties for Sale in Manchester – Find your Happy | Rightmove

That’s a lot of variations. We even managed to fit in their tag line at the end.

Step 5 – Pick a title


Just like with articles we’re going to end up with a list of titles and unsure which one will be best. Far more than with individual title tags, it’s really really important to split test.

  • Template level title tags are messy. We’ve already seen that in our example. You can make educated guesses from performing some large scale analysis, but there are going to be effects you miss. 
  • What works on one site won’t work on another & we’ve found only 1 in 5 title tags ends up being positive.
  • The stakes are often higher. We’re not changing one page, we’re changing a group of pages which is often a non-trivial amount of your search traffic.

If you can test at all I’d highly recommend it. We’ve got plenty of resources to help you get started. The two most useful should be:

If you can’t test, you can at least lean on our tests, I’ve got results from those in the next section.

Important context for our title tag split tests

We’re lucky enough at Distilled to have access to SEO split testing software we built. It lets us test different titles & accurately measure the impact on organic traffic. We’re about to talk about the different results we’ve learned, so it’s important to briefly talk about the assumptions implicit in these results.

You can only run SEO split tests on large groups of similar pages (e.g. all category pages, all listing pages etc.) and that means our results are from certain types of websites:

  • The websites are mostly large and authoritative. 
  • They tend to be in competitive SERPs.
  • The companies usually have SEO teams who have done the basics. There usually isn’t anything glaringly awful like product pages without titles that we can fix.
  • They are more typically tests applied to template pages like category, product & listing pages rather than blog pages. (Although that’s not everything, we run split tests on the Moz blog for example!)

I think you can learn a huge amount from these tests, but it’s still important to bear those assumptions in mind.

What are the chances you write a good title tag?

Writing titles is really hard. We mentioned this above, but let’s look at our numbers in slightly more detail. We’ve run many title tag tests across different industries. Our results break down as follows:

  • Successes: 22%
  • Null: 38%
  • Failures: 40%

Oof. 78% of the time title tag tests fall flat or actually harm the website. That makes testing super important. It’s not impossible you could work on a website where you never have a positive title tag test. Nothing you try will ever work. Without testing, you’d probably still roll out those titles. Just spotting the failures and not rolling them out will save you a huge amount of traffic.

With a single article, this isn’t so worrying, you’ve got a far larger creative space to play in and if it does go wrong, it’s a far smaller proportion of your traffic.

If you’re changing titles on big page templates, please make sure you test them!

How much impact do title tag changes have?

Broadly most title tag tests have an impact between 4-15% in either direction.

You can see a distribution of our title tag tests below.

7 learnings from title tag split tests

Most title tag changes are unique to a website, changing words and phrases which don’t generalise well from website to website. However, there are some more common patterns we’ve been able to test.

Putting in prices

50% of our title tag tests involving adding the price into the title have been positive. Not only do we get to put a number into the title, but it also provides more information.

Why was it null or negative the rest of the time? 

Our consultant Emily Potter thinks this is down to whether or not Google can find the price you put in the title on the rest of your page – i.e. are you being honest about price. We also think it may make a difference depending on how competitive you are on price.

Putting in year numbers

We haven’t had the chance to test this a huge number of times, but so far this change has been positive in the niches where we’ve done it. The shameless putting 2019, 2020 in the title has helped.

Shortening title tags hasn’t actually been that helpful

When you have lots of automatically generated titles, it’s common to end up with titles that are too long.

We’ve run a number of tests about shortening these titles and nearly all of them have been null (~80%). They’ve also never been positive. Our best current theory is that the templates which often end up with long title tags are typically attracting long tail traffic. When they are truncated, they’re still the only relevant result and so continue to rank, perhaps for long tail queries, keyword stuffing isn’t a problem.

Having said that I’d still say it’s worth trying to shorten your titles. If you manage to cut 4-5 characters from your title with no effect, you could use that space to add price or something else which may have an effect.

Emojis didn’t work

We’ve run several tests to put emojis into title tags and so far it hasn’t helped. Sorry folks 🙁

I mean c’mon. Marketers can barely be trusted with FAQ schema, can you imagine what we’d do to Emojis.

Eye-grabbing on category/listing pages

We’ve tried some title tags for category/listing pages which were very different, actively calling out to the user in the SERPs.

  • Standard: Ford for Sale | CarShop
  • Example of our type of test: You there! Fords for Sale at the CarShop

These did not work. 

Localising language

We tested using localised versions of phrases. This wasn’t single letter changes (like s for z in UK vs US), but entire words e.g. pants instead of trousers.

This was notably positive (~20-25%).

Removing implied words from the title

We’ve seen mixed results from this. We ran a split test & found removing “online” from title tags had no effect on one particular client. Outside of our split-testing platform for a different client, we removed the word “online” from the title of an online store.

Our rankings for the terms including “online”, dropped and we quickly put it back in.

More detail on the split tests

If you want to hear more detail about some of these tests, or just love video and you’re signed up to DistilledU, you can see Emily Potter’s video on split testing from last year. If you’re not subscribed, you can see my slightly older talk here.

How long does it take to see the impact of a title tag change?

We usually see the impact of a title tag in 3-5 days.  We’ve had a couple which has taken longer, but this is the majority. The previous caveats are of course important here, we typically work on larger websites, which are heavily crawled.


I genuinely thought when I started I’d be able to get this post done in 1000 words. Even now, I can see all the little bits of context & other things that go into writing a good title, which I just couldn’t fit into this post. We didn’t even start talking about internal politics 🙂

But hopefully, this has got you on your way. Now let’s hear some stories.

What title tag tests have you found effective? What’s the worst title tag you’ve ever tried?

How to Create Pillar Pages and Rank for High Volume Keywords

Posted by on Feb 16, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Create Pillar Pages and Rank for High Volume Keywords

create pillar pages

One of the ways to increase your chances of ranking for high volume keywords on Google is to create pillar pages and topic clusters.

Although this is not a new concept, with the latest changes to the Google ranking algorithm and the introduction of AI, it has become more important.

One of the characteristics of pillar pages (also referred to as long-form articles, content pillars or cornerstone content), that differentiates them from normal articles or blogs is that they are comprehensive, usually bigger in word length and they cover a particular topic (not a single keyword) in detail.

In this guide, you’ll learn what are pillar pages, why they are important for modern SEO and the 10 steps to follow to create pillar pages for your website.

What are pillar pages?

A pillar page is a long-form content page that covers a specific topic in detail. It provides users with everything they need to know about the particular topic and links to related resources for further exploitation.

A pillar page can stand on its own or be part of a topic cluster. Pillar pages are used to target high volume topics and head keywords.

The main characteristics of pillar pages are:

  • They are usually longer than normal blog posts.
  • Content is around a specific topic
  • The content is broken down into sections
  • Each section covers a specific sub-topic

Look at the diagram below to understand this better.

Pillar Page
What is a Pillar Page

On the left, you can see how the structure of a pillar page looks like and on the right an example of how a pillar page about ‘content marketing’ would look like.

We’ll see below, in the ‘how to create a pillar page’ section, the process of choosing the right topics, headings, page title, URL and links for a pillar page.

Here is a real example of a pillar page published on this site on how to start an online business.

Pillar page example
Example of a Pillar Page

Why are pillar pages important for SEO?

There are many reasons why pillar pages are important for your SEO and content marketing efforts. The most important are:

They provide both users and search engines with the content they want – For some topics it’s more convenient for users to have all the information they need on one page instead of browsing through different articles.

This is more convenient for search engines as well because it helps them serve users with results that keep them happy.

They can help you win featured snippets – The way pillar pages are structured makes it easier for search engines to crawl and meet all requirements for appearing at the top of the search results in the featured snippet box.

It’s a great way to prove your expertise about a topicGoogle search ranking factors are heavily influenced by E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) and high-quality pillar pages are a great way to show to users and search engines that you are a trustworthy source for a topic.

Combined with a few quality backlinks, you can establish your website as an authority for a specific topic as well.

They can help you rank high for competitive keywords – Pillar pages are usually long-form content pages and this allows you to naturally include related keywords in the content which increases topic relevancy that (under conditions) leads to higher rankings.

Also, pillar pages are more likely to attract natural links from other websites and mentions on social media networks that in-turn leads to increasing Google trust which results in higher rankings.

How to create pillar pages

These are the 10 steps to follow to create a pillar page:

  1. Decide what topics to target using pillar pages
  2. Decide what format to use (Pillar page or topic clusters)
  3. Perform keyword research
  4. Create a content outline and write the content
  5. Name your sections
  6. Add Internal links to the different sections
  7. Format the page
  8. Promote your page (internally and externally)
  9. Write content for the supporting pages
  10. Add internal links back to the pillar page

1. Decide what topics to target using pillar pages

google trends topics
Find content topic ideas for pillar pages using Google Trends.

Obviously the first step is to decide what topic your pillar page should target.

This depends on the niche you are in and the topics/keywords already targeted by your existing content.

Some guidelines to follow:

Choose topics that are not too narrow – if a topic doesn’t have a lot of sub-topics then it might not be ideal for a pillar page. A blog post for those topics might be enough.

Choose topics that have a high search volume – Creating pillar pages take a lot of time and effort and it’s not worth going after low volume keywords.

Choose topics that are relevant to your audience and business  – Choose topics that are relevant to what your audience might way to read and can potentially generate more conversions for your business.

Research your competitors – A great starting point is to analyze your main competitors and find out for which topics they have pillar pages and which topics they could have pillar pages but they don’t.

These are great candidates to start with because they will generate a competitive advantage for you.

Avoid content duplication – Before choosing a topic make sure that you don’t already have articles about the exact same topic published on your site.

The last thing you want to do create is to confuse search engines and run into duplicate content issues.

If you do have pages targeting identical topics then you can consider improving your existing articles and turning them into pillar pages, creating new content and redirecting the old pages to the new pillar pages (using 301 redirects) or choosing to go with topic clusters (more on this below).

HINT: You can read “How to find new content topic ideas” for a step-by-step guide on how to go through the process of finding topics for your pillar pages.

2. Decide what format to use (Pillar page or topic clusters)

Topic Clusters
Topic Clusters

The next step is to decide what format to use for your pillar pages. There are two ways you can approach pillar pages.

Single Pillar Page

The first way is to have all content on one page, broken down into sections.

This is similar to the example demonstrated above. The main characteristics of this approach are:

  • You have a single page targeting one high volume topic.
  • The title of the page is general and contains the main keyword i.e. “The Complete Content Marketing Guide’.
  • The URL of the page is an exact match of the main topic keyword. For example “/content-marketing”.
  • The page URL comes directly after the domain name i.e. com/content-marketing
  • At the top of the page, you have a table of contents. Each item points to a section on the same page.
  • Each section is marked as an H2 or H3 header tag.
  • The page includes everything there is to know about the particular topic.
  • It has sections with related links (or ‘Resources to learn more’) that point to other pages within the same site or external sites, that cover a specific sub-topic in more detail.
  • Sub-topic pages link back to the main page using the main head keyword in the anchor text.
  • The page might have a structure and formatting that is different from your ‘normal’ articles. This is optional and not a requirement.
  • The page is regularly updated to remain relevant.

Topic Clusters

The second way is to go with the topic cluster approach. With this approach you have:

  • The main page that serves as an introduction to the topic.
  • The main page has a list of sections (sub-topics) that point to other pages within the same site.
  • Each sub-page covers a topic in detail.
  • The URL of each sub-page includes the URL of the main page (see diagram above)
  • Sub-pages have breadcrumb menus enabled that allow the users to easily go back to the main page.
  • Sub-pages link to the main page and vice versa.
  • Each sub-page has the structure and other characteristics of a pillar page as described above.

Which approach to use, single pillar pages or topic clusters?

Both methods work great but I personally like to go with the single pillar page approach. It’s not as complex as topic clusters and it’s easier to maintain and update.

If you choose topic clusters and later you realize that you have chosen the ‘wrong sub-topics’ it might be more difficult to update than having all the content on one page.

I also believe the single pages (that are well organized) are more useful to users too. They can stay on a page for longer, print it (if they want), bookmark it and share it more easily.

Here are a few examples of single pillar pages that I have on my website that perform great on organic search.

A good way to find out which approach to use is to search your topic ideas on Google and examine what type of content they rank on the top positions.

3. Perform keyword research

Once you know which topics to target with a pillar page and what format to use, the next step is to do your keyword research.

The purpose of keyword research at this stage is to find out which exact keywords to target in your pillar pages or topic clusters (whichever approach you choose, the keyword research process is the same).

Your keyword bucket should include both head keywords, long-tail keywords, and LSI keywords.

You can read ‘How to perform keyword research’ for step-by-step instructions on how to find the best keywords.

For the purpose of creating pillar pages, you need to have the following ready:

Your main head keyword – For example, ‘content marketing’, ‘email marketing’, ‘paleo diet’, ‘make money online’. ‘Start an online business’. Etc.

As explained above, this will be used in your URL and page title.

Related Keywords to use as sections – Each head keyword has a number of keywords (usually have volume keywords too) that are strongly related to the main topic.

These will be used as the section headings (for single pillar pages) or as individual page titles for topic clusters.

HINT: Great candidates for the sections are keywords that Google displays in the ‘People also ask’ and ‘Related Queries’ sections.

Long-tail keywords – Long-tail keywords are keywords related to the main keywords that have a lower search volume but higher intent.

These keywords can be used to make your content SEO friendly and are also great candidates for creating supporting articles.

In other words, you can use long-tail keywords in your content and create stand-alone articles that you can use to link back to the main pillar page.

4. Create a content outline and write the content

The next step is to create a content outline and write the content.

Create a Content Outline

Creating a content outline is optional but highly recommended. I personally always follow this process before writing a new pillar page or blog post.

I found that spending some time thinking about your content and page structure before you start writing, saves you a lot of time in the end and makes writing easier and faster.

You can use the content outline to:

  • Define your headings
  • Select which existing pages on your site to link to as additional resources.
  • Decide what each section will cover and which keywords it will target
  • Your findings from doing analyzing your competitor’s pages
  • Other ideas you may have about the design on the page
  • Images/studies you will use to make your content more interesting

Write the content

Now it’s time to write the content for your pillar page or sub-pages.

Content length – Although content length is NOT a google ranking factor, a pillar page is expected to have a lot of content because it covers a range of topics in detail.

There is no definite guideline on how long (in terms of words) to make your content. It largely depends on the topic.

A few tips to consider:

  • Search Google for related topics and examine the content length of the pages that appear on the top positions.
  • Don’t forget that users don’t like to spend hours reading about a topic. If that’s the case then you better write a book or an online course to give them all the details and use pillar pages to offer them the most important points.
  • Don’t write more content than you need for the sake of SEO. I repeat that word count is not a ranking factor. Write enough to answer a user’s question or give them what they really need to know about a topic.

Optimize your content – Follow basic on-page SEO and content SEO best practices to optimize your content so that search engines can understand it better.

HINT: You can read and replicate my 10 step process for writing SEO friendly blog posts

Showcase your expertise – I mentioned above that one of the benefits of pillar pages is that they allow demonstrating your authority and expertise about a topic.

This is to be shown through the quality of your content. If you are an expert on the topic, make sure that you tell users about your experience and showcase any credentials that can prove your expertise.

These simple factors make the content better and create trust between you and your users.

Research studies and original data – One way to create content that will attract links from other websites is to back up your claims with research studies or better include original data.

For example, a pillar page about ‘content marketing’ that includes content marketing statistics from recent research studies is more likely to get the attention of other users than a pillar page which doesn’t include data evidence.

10X better than your competitors – I’ve mentioned many times so far that looking at your competitors’ content is a good way to understand what type of content to create.

Something that is more important is to make sure that your content is 10X better than what is already published. If you create something that is similar to existing content then there is no incentive for users or search engines to prefer your content.

When we say, make your content 10X better we mean:

  • More thorough and informative
  • Less biased
  • Takes a different angle on the topic than existing content
  • Better design
  • Faster
  • With better visual elements

5. Add visual elements

The next step is to add visual elements to your pillar page to make the page more interesting and easier to read.

Visual elements can include:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Graphs

To take advantage of the visual elements for SEO purposes, make sure that you include the relevant ALT text for images and schema markup for videos and podcasts.

Also, don’t forget that a lot of images and videos will slow the page loading speed (especially on mobile.

It is highly recommended to use an image compression plugin to optimize the size of the images and also a lazy loading plugin or wp-rocket to make sure that visual elements will not negatively impact speed.

6. Optimize for the Google featured snippet and sitelinks

Now that you have your content ready, there are two more tasks to complete before publishing.

The first is to optimize your page to be eligible for a Google featured snippet and site links and second to work on the page formatting (step 7 below).

Optimizing for the Google featured snippet is an advanced SEO technique but yet, it’s easy to implement.

What is a Google Featured Snippet?

The top position of the Google search results is sometimes occupied by one or more featured snippets instead of a normal listing.

A featured snippet is more dominant and occupies more real estate in the search results making it attractive to users.

For example, if you search Google “How to become an SEO expert”, you’ll most probably get a listing like this which shows you a list of steps to follow.

Lists Posts in Google Featured Snippet
Lists in Google Featured Snippet

If you search for technical SEO, you’ll get a featured snippet that looks like this.

Google featured snippet example
Example of a Google Featured Snippet

To make your pillar page eligible for a featured snippet, use the following tips:

  • Add lists in your content using <ul> and <li> HTML tags
  • Keep the list formatting simple (no custom bullets, arrows or another styling)
  • Add a relevant title for each list
  • Format the list title to be an H2 or H3
  • Add the list(s) at the beginning of the page when possible

Optimize your pillar pages for sitelinks

Besides optimizing your pillar pages for featured snippets, you should also optimize them for page sitelinks.

Page sitelinks appear below in the search snippet below the meta description. They look like this:

Post sitelinks in Google Search Results
Post sitelinks in Google Search Results

Follow these tips:

  • Each sub-section of your page should have a heading wrapped with an H2 or H3 tags
  • For each heading add an “id” attribute
  • Add a table of contents on top of the page (like in this article)
  • Add internal links to the different section from your table of contents

Look again at the first diagram for a visual illustration.

7. Page formating

The last thing to do before hitting the publish button is to revisit your page formating.

This step is optional, it’s up to you to decide if you want your pillar pages to have a different format than the rest of your site pages. I prefer to use the same format across all my pages because it’s easier to manage but you can follow a different path.

One example of a pillar page that has a unique format is this from Typeform

Pillar page Formatting Example
Pillar page Formatting Example

Regardless of what design format you choose to follow, you need to make sure that:

  • The page loads fast and looks good on all devices (especially mobile)
  • It’s easy for people who like to do skim reading
  • Your headings for the different sections are formatted differently from the rest of the content
  • Any images or videos are properly optimized (alt text, schema, image compression)
  • The page has a default featured image and it looks good when shared on social media networks.

8. Promote your page (internally and externally)

Once you get into this point, congratulations! You’re ready to hit the PUBLISH button and provide your users with a remarkable piece of content.

Publishing your pillar page is not the end of your work. You now need to promote your page both internally and externally. Let’s see what this means.

Promote your page Internally

As soon as you publish the page, search engines will get notified through your sitemap and in a matter of hours, they will index your new page.

To help them understand the importance of your page, and at the same make it easier for your users to find the page, you need:

  • Add a link pointing to your pillar page from your homepage.
  • Add a link pointing to your pillar page from your blog main page
  • Add your pillar page to your sidebar (if you have sidebars)
  • Add your pillar page to your main menu and footer
  • Find related articles on your website and add internal links to your pillar page

Don’t omit this step, it’s important to give the right signals to search engine crawlers to let them know that this page is important for your site.

Promote your page Externally

You also need to promote your page on the Internet and try to get the attention of other bloggers with the ultimate goal of getting links and mentions.

This is part of what is known as off-page SEO and can positively influence your rankings in the short term but also long term.

Follow these tips:

  • Send out a newsletter and inform your subscribers
  • Publish your page on Facebook and use Facebook ads to promote the page to your existing audience (retargeting) and to new audiences
  • Promote your page on Twitter (multiple times) and through twitter paid ads
  • Promote your page on other social networks related to your niche (LinkedIn, Pinterest)

If your pillar page includes case studies, research or original data that can get the attention of the press, you can also write a press release and distribute it to all major networks.

If you added external links on your page, make sure that you contact the website owners and let them know about it. They will most probably share the page on their networks and some may even link back to it.

9. Write content for the supporting pages

While waiting for Google to rank your pillar page (it may take from two to six months), you can use the time to publish content that is related and supporting your pillar page.

For example, if your pillar page is about ‘content marketing’, you can write articles on topics that are not part of your pillar page like ‘SEO Copywriting’, ‘Content marketing tips’, ‘Content Promotion’ and link back to your pillar page.

This will help you a lot with SEO because not only you’ll get a chance to rank for the additional keywords but you can also strengthen your pillar page by pointing more internal links to it from highly related pages.

Great candidates for supporting articles are the long-tail keywords identified while doing keyword research (step 3) above.

10. Monitor the performance of your pillar pages

Last but not least, you need to monitor the performance of your pillar page. You have already dedicated a lot of time (and possibly money) creating the page, now its time to find out if it was worth the effort.

The most important KPIs to monitor are:

  • Pageviews – How many times your pillar page was viewed
  • Bounce rate – The percentage of people that landed on the page and exited without visiting a second page from your site. The lower the number the better.
  • Email signups – How many people registered to your email list because of the pillar page
  • Leads / Conversions – How many leads were generated from the pillar page
  • Organic Traffic – How many people visited the page from search engines
  • Rankings – for which keywords your page is ranking on Google and other search engines
  • Visits from Social networks – Analyzed per network
  • Social network interactions – how many people liked, shared or commented on your page

You can use Google analytics reports and Google search console to gather this data and add them to a spreadsheet or better yet to a Google Data Studio report.

Don’t rush into making conclusions, as mentioned above it may take a number of months for your page to reach its optimum rankings so you need to be patient.

Key Learnings

Ranking for high volume keywords is easier with pillar pages and topic clusters. The main purpose of creating a pillar page is to serve the user better and if this done correctly, search engines will follow.

There are two ways to approach this process. The first is by making a comprehensive page that includes all the information about a topic and the second is to have the main page (to be used as an introduction) and separate pages for the sub-topics.

Of course, you can always combine the two methods and have a pillar page with in-depth information and separate sub-pages for the additional topics.

The process to create a pillar page is similar to the process of creating an article.

First, you find the topic to target, decide on the format to use and then you do your keyword research. Based on the results of your research you design the structure of your pillar page or topic cluster and write the content.

Before publishing, you SEO optimize your text and after publication, you promote it as good as possible.

Should you create pillar pages for all the keywords you want to target? If you can afford it (in terms of money and time) then go for it but if time and money are an issue (in most cases this is the case) then use pillar pages for topics that really matter for your business.

What I always do before making a decision is to run a few searches on Google and examine the results. If for a topic I don’t need to create a pillar page then I write a normal article, it’s faster and cost-effective.

The post How to Create Pillar Pages and Rank for High Volume Keywords appeared first on

Say Hello To The CRaP SERP

Posted by on Feb 15, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Say Hello To The CRaP SERP

Hey ecommerce sites – worried you are getting too many clicks on head term SERPs?

If so, fear not, as yours truly stumbled into a Google test guaranteed to cure you of those annoying up-and-to-the-right trend lines.

I invite you to feast your eyes on this “Content Results Page” aka the CRaP SERP:

Or how about some mattresses?

Remember how the SEO team kept asking for a content budget? Yeah, you might want to take another look at that deck.

The post Say Hello To The CRaP SERP appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

Avoid These 3 Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

Posted by on Feb 13, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Avoid These 3 Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

Do Not Do These Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

There are some very common and simple mistakes that you can make when working with WordPress that can cause your site to be vulnerable or cause the hosting environment in which your website resides to be vulnerable. We want to highlight the three main things that many people do that we see often and we want to educate those that read this. Simply staying away from these very common actions that people incorporate into their WordPress experience will ensure that you are protecting your site from many vulnerabilities that exist out there and this will allow you to stay away from your WordPress site getting infected.

Before we start diving in to these three common things to avoid let’s talk about the myth out there that WordPress is not a secure platform. This statement is completely false. WordPress at its very core is a very safe and stable platform to use in making all of your web dreams come true. What makes it unsafe is all of the extra plugins and third party themes that we use on our site. Many of these plugins and themes can contain vulnerabilities that will allow infectious codes to be injected into our website files and database.

But where would we all be without plugins and these fancy pre-designed themes that exist? Many of us would just be pulling our hair out trying to design a website and make it function the way that we want if we were not able to use plugins and custom themes. The good news is as long as we take certain security measures we can go on using any plugins and themes that we desire without the fear of getting infected.

So let us dive in now and provide you with the three most common things that WordPress users do that will almost surely guarantee to make your website vulnerable and lead you into an infected situation where you now have malicious activity on your website.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

#1 Run An Out Dated Version of PHP & Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

WordPress is one of the broadly utilized stages over the globe. One reason behind its ubiquity is open-source nature. Be that as it may, what makes WordPress an open-source stage? Indeed, the response to that would be PHP. WordPress runs on PHP which is a scripting language adding to around 83% of the considerable number of sites!

WordPress Site Will Get Infected
The above diagram shows the consequence of the bench-marking test. The pattern shows steady improvement in dealing with demands every seconds from PHP variant 5.6 to 7.3. As indicated by this outcome, PHP 7.3 is a conspicuous champ while 7.2 was somewhat behind.

This consequence of this WordPress execution test likewise shows the similarity among PHP and WordPress and the steady improvement it brings to your WordPress site. By taking a gander at the outcomes, WordPressers can undoubtedly comprehend the significance of refreshed PHP variant. For example, if a site is as of now introduced on PHP 5.6 or 7.0, I enthusiastically prescribe redesigning it to the most recent PHP rendition.

Take a look at a very detailed article below that will break down the difference is between the most recent versions of PHP and how they affect the performance of your WordPress site.

Is PHP Version 5 going to be EOL soon?

For those of you that are not familiar with what EOL means it is an acronym for end of life.

Truly. PHP form 5 will be announced End-Of-Life on January first, 2019. That is, in roughly two months at the hour of composing.

The PHP improvement group’s approach with respect to end-of-life is as per the following: each arrival of PHP is completely bolstered for a long time from the date of discharge. At that point it is upheld for an extra year for basic security gives as it were. When three years has slipped by from the date of discharge, the adaptation of PHP is never again upheld.

PHP 7.0, the absolute first PHP 7 discharge, was discharged on 3 December, 2015, right around three years back. PHP form 5 is quickly moving toward end-of-life and will never again be upheld beginning on 1 January, 2019.

The last part of PHP adaptation 5 that is as yet upheld is PHP 5.6. Since this is the last PHP 5 branch, the PHP group decided to expand the security fix period from the standard one years, to two years. That all-inclusive security bolster will end on 1 January 2019.

The accompanying table incorporates the significant dates for PHP 5 and PHP 7 branches.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

Does PHP 5 have any vulnerabilities?

Security vulnerabilities are constantly detailed in PHP. A portion of these are not kidding. Survey this page on will give you a thought of the volume and seriousness of PHP vulnerabilities that have as of late been accounted for.

A significant number of the vulnerabilities revealed in PHP were found for the current year. A lot more will be found in PHP form 5 one year from now, after security support for all renditions of PHP 5 have finished. That is the reason it is basically significant that you move up to a variant of PHP 7 that is upheld and is accepting security refreshes.

How can I find out my PHP version?
There are a few different ways that you can find out this information. A very simple way would be to Simply contact your hosting company and ask them directly. If you do not want to go through the trouble of contacting them you can use the plugin at the link below to display the PHP version that you are using on your website.

So what is the top and bottom of this PHP upgrade topic?
So just to summarize here, you need to ensure that your WordPress site is running the most recent version of PHP. Doing this will limit your vulnerabilities two attacks. It also will make sure that your site is functioning at Optimal Performance when it comes to PHP.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

#2 Ignore Your Software Updates & YOur WordPress Site Will Get Infected

One of the worst things that you can do in the management of your WordPress site is to ignore your software updates. Your software updates are the updates that are pending for any plugins that are installed on your website, any themes (best practice here is to only have you’re active theme installed) that are installed on your website and your WordPress core installation.

These updates are extremely important. Many of these updates contain bug fixes to security vulnerabilities. Also the majority of these updates also help to improve the functionality of your website. It is a really bad practice to ignore these updates. Just imagine if you will the engine light in your car. When this light is on it is notifying you that there is something wrong with your engine that needs to be addressed. You need to start thinking about your WordPress updates the same way that you would with the engine light in your car. When you see that bubble with pending updates inside of your WordPress administrative area, you need to take action. Not doing so could result in creating vulnerabilities in your website.

How every now and again are WordPress module refreshes discharged?

It is anything but a simple inquiry to answer in light of the fact that there’s no freely accessible memorable data-set to break down. Does it mean we can’t get any knowledge on this subject? I state: “Heck, no!”

There’s an official site from which we can gather discharge dates data: the (all-powerful) WordPress Repository. In my exploration for a normal time range for module refreshes, I took a gander at the most recent discharge dates for the entirety of the 1386 WordPress modules marked as “Mainstream” on the WordPress vault:

WordPress Site Will Get Infected
This bar outline shows what number of mainstream WordPress modules and the time they’ve been formally last refreshed (as of the hour of this composition).

Fascinating, uh? That is to say, it sure is uncovering seeing that there are 300+ modules assembled under the “well known” classification which haven’t been refreshed in over a year. Be that as it may, that is another story, one that may see a fix in the near future-ish.

For the purpose for this conversation, how about we concur that modules which have been refreshed over a year back and not exactly seven days prior have either reasons hard to distinguish or have to do with coincidental realities (like the time and day I checked the plugin repo). Consequently, we should expel this information from the condition for a minute, and let center around modules which have been refreshed in under 1 year and not in the most recent week.

So how important is it really to complete your updates?
It isn’t extremely important to make sure that all of the software that your website is using is up-to-date. Now just saying that may not be enough because we haven’t explained in detail how to complete each update. Take a look at the link below for a extensive explanation of how to complete all of the updates on your site safely and properly.

WordPress Site Will Get Infected

#3 Using Weak Login Information & Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected

We really hope that the username and password to login to your WordPress administrative area is not “admin”! Now those of you that do not have your login information set up like this are probably laughing and thinking that no one would be so silly to have their username be “admin” and their password be “admin” as well.  Then there are others that are reading this that have exactly that and are cringing a bit because they were unaware that this is a bad idea. We see it all the time here. Very weak login information can be an easy way for hackers to attack and inject your website.

For each record you set up you should utilize a novel and troublesome secret phrase. That is guaranteed, however you’d be astonished at what number of individuals don’t give a second however to secret word security.

This implies, as a rule, the most secure methodology is to not surrender secret word wellbeing over to your clients. Rather, you can authorize the utilization of solid passwords over all your WordPress site clients. This is a basic method to improve the security of your WordPress site.

Right now going to discuss the basics of secret key security and WordPress secret word security . At that point we’ll examine why it is anything but a smart thought to confide in your clients to concoct solid passwords all alone, and disclose how to authorize your own secret phrase strategies utilizing a WordPress module. We should find a workable pace!

What Makes for a Secure Password?

You’ve most likely heard a lot of guidance about how to make solid passwords. Previously, the normal shrewdness concentrated on utilizing complex blends of characters, for example, “sd8f!¿$”?”.

That is not an awful secret word, yet nowadays we realize that length is the principle donor with regards to secret key security. Long passwords are more earnestly to figure and to break. The issue, obviously, is that they’re additionally harder to recall.

Luckily, there are a lot of brilliant secret phrase directors out there. You can utilize them to create, store, and naturally enter your login data anyplace on the web. All things considered, investigate gives us that the vast majority don’t pay attention to secret word security (more on this quickly).

That represents an issue in case you’re running a WordPress site that has visitor creators, editors, clients or clients. All things considered, it’s your obligation to give a sheltered situation to your clients, regardless of whether they don’t use sound judgment when left to their own gadgets.

1. The vast majority Use Terribly Weak Passwords

In case you’re understanding this, you presumably put probably some idea into your passwords. That as of now places you in the top percentile among web clients. To give you a thought of how terrible things despite everything are, here are the main five most basic passwords on the web as indicated by Wikipedia:

  • 123456
  • secret key
  • 123456789
  • 12345678
  • 12345

On the off chance that you find that rundown difficult to accept, you’re not the only one. Those passwords are on the whole excessively short, exceptionally simple to figure, and out and out senseless. With such poor decisions being a great many people’s default, it’s no big surprise there are such huge numbers of online record breaks each day. On the off chance that a supervisor or manager on your WordPress business site utilizes a comparable secret key, it will just take a couple of moments to break their secret phrase during an animal power assault.

3. Individuals Tend to Reuse Passwords for Multiple Accounts

One regular issue in web security is that even individuals who do utilize solid passwords frequently reuse them for some records. That represents an issue, in light of the fact that regardless of how solid a secret word may be, in the event that one of the sites you use it on is hacked and aggressors gain admittance to it, they can likewise pick up passage to all your different records.

As we brought up before, recalling many long novel passwords can be very troublesome. That is the place secret key directors indeed act the hero. Regardless of whether it takes somewhat more, it’s indispensable to make a one of a kind secret key for each online record you have.

The most effective method to Enforce Strong Password Use in WordPress

Now, we’ve ideally clarified how horrendous individuals are with passwords when all is said in done. The genuine inquiry is: what can be done?

For one, you ought to teach your clients about savvy secret key decisions. Make them mindful about social building assaults, and the negative effect on the business frail passwords can have. A ton of locales attempt to do this during the sign-up process. Be that as it may, it likewise pays to be reasonable. This implies understanding that many individuals won’t follow great practices except if you constrain them to.

As a matter of course, WordPress cautions you in case you’re setting a powerless secret key. In any case, clients can generally overlook the admonition and still utilize a feeble secret phrase. So as a WordPress site administrator you need to go above and beyond. Utilizing the privilege module, you can drive your WordPress clients to utilize solid passwords with our own Password Policy Manager for WordPress module:

  • set a minimum length for all passwords
  • enforce rules about what types of characters, numbers and case should be used
  • set passwords to  expire (always a good move, otherwise people will use the same password for years)
  • configure password policies per WordPress user role
  • and much more!

Solid Passwords as an Essential Part of Website Security

Probably the most effortless approaches to verify your records and online information is to utilize solid, novel passwords (and empowering two-factor validation whenever the situation allows). Recollecting different long passwords is never again a reason. Nowadays there are a lot of apparatuses, a.k.a secret phrase chiefs that you should use to store qualifications safely.

In case you’re an executive of a WordPress site yourself, instruct the clients about keen secret phrase decisions. Be that as it may, it’s far more secure to authorize the utilization of secure passwords. In WordPress, you can do this effectively utilizing the Password Policy Manager module. All things considered, clients should be prepared and guided to utilize secure passwords.

In Conclusion

If you take notice to the three things that we talked about in this article and make sure that you stay far away from ever falling into a trap of having one of these exist in your WordPress environment. If you have any questions about anything that we’ve talked about here please comment below and happy WordPress-ing.

The post Avoid These 3 Things or Your WordPress Site Will Get Infected appeared first on WP Fix It.

February 2020 SEO News Updates – Google says URL Length is Not a Ranking Factor

Posted by on Feb 12, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on February 2020 SEO News Updates – Google says URL Length is Not a Ranking Factor

SEO Weekly Updates - February 2020

Google said URL length is not a ranking factor and there’s a claim my business option despite having already claimed the Google My Business listing? The start of February sees some pretty confusing news, so let’s get into it.

Google Announcements

5/2/2020 – URL Length is not a Ranking Factor?

Google’s John Mueller has said on Twitter that URL length is not a ranking fraction. This is his exact tweet and it was a response to a user’s concern about CMS autogenerate URL often being longer than what is recommended for SEO.

Yes, Google can handle URLs as long as 2000 characters or so, but it’s pretty obvious that Google prefers short URLs when it comes to ranking. Besides, keeping your URL short and sweet can only create positive impact as fewer words will make it more specifically relevant. Seems we are not on the same boat with John this time.

SERP Updates

6/2/2020 – Is Google Testing a New Open Design?

Since Google reported that it will be doing some tests to the search results page in the upcoming weeks, some people have spotted what seems like Google’s new test of a more open-style search results page design. In fact, the new SERP listing follows a design similar to AMP articles. Here’s a screenshot

The new SERP listing follows a design similar to AMP articles. Here’s a screenshot
Google tests new AMP SERP

Local SEO Updates

6/2/2020 – New Google My Business Feature: Own This Business? Claim It Now

Users have spotted Google launched a new feature (or it could still be in its testing phase) a new feature to help business owners reclaim and login to their Google My Business listing.

The confusing thing about this is that it shows up even if the listing has already been claimed ?! Krystal Taing went to Twitter to explain that this function is intended to be an easier path to begin claiming process for users that have mislocated their account info.

How to Deliver a RockStar WordCamp Presentation

Posted by on Feb 11, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Deliver a RockStar WordCamp Presentation

How To Deliver A Rockstar Wordcamp Presentation
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Owner of WP Fix ItHello Jarrett Gucci here, owner and founder of WP Fix It and very excited presenter at many many WordCamps over the past 10+ years. I wanted to put together a post on the five things that I focus on most to deliver an amazing WordCamp presentation in hopes of helping others to be very successful in the way that they present their information during their WordCamp presentation.

It is a fact that many people are more prettified of public speaking than death itself. Standing in front of a room full of people that have their total attention on you can shake up the nerves of most people regardless of their confidence level.

Speaking at a WordCamp is a wonderful way to give back to the WordPress community and give yourself some visibility with your peers.  In the past 10 years, I have had the honor of speaking at over 15 different WordCamps throughout the United States.  Now even looking back on my first WordCamp, I had a bit of an advantage.  For many years I was part of a business networking group and would help train members how to do their keynote presentations and did over 50 presentations myself as a member.  This past experience equipped me to deliver a well polished and engaging presentation.

Now, I have spoke at many WordCamps but I have been also been an audience participant as well for tons of presentations.  My overall impression is that the majority of presenters have room for improvement to allow them to get the most out of their talk and improve the actual WordCamp experience for attendees.  I have wanted to for awhile now put together an article to outline some things that with help those that have been selected to speak at WordCamp to deliver their presentation like a RockStar!  Please allow me to say that what I am about to share is complied from a lot of experience and audience feedback.  So let’s get into it.

Let me start with a very simple list of items that YOU MUST do if you want to get the most out of your presentation and then I will dive in deeper to each one.  Sounds good?

  1. Have Energy Like BIG TIME
  2. Stop Talking About Yourself
  3. Know The Audience’s Skill Set
  4. Keep Control of Audience
  5. Be Prepared and Polished

Simple enough right?  Pretty confident that you can do these things?  How about I explain a bit further the details of each in an effort for you to see how important they are?  I am going to anyways, so no need to answer…;)

Our Company History Since 2009

WordCamp Presentation

1. Have Energy Like BIG TIME

Have you ever attended a live sports event and fell asleep in your seat?  I am guessing not, because any live sport is packed with excitement, action and most importantly ENERGY.  This alone makes you pay attention.  Now you may not like what you are watching depending on who is wining but even so you will not lose attention.  Think of your WordCamp presentation along the same lines.  An audience wants to see that you are excited about the content in your talk or they will not be excited either.  Something simple you can do to project excitement is highs and lows in your volume as you speak.  Raise the volume of your voice on certain points that you want your audience to take notice to.  An even better technique for energizing your audience is to look excited yourself.  Start with simply smiling and project exciting body language.  I am not a fan of standing behind podiums because it makes me feel disconnected with the audience.  I like to be in front of them and allow them to connect with how I am moving and speaking in full form.  The animated actions of a speaker will project ENERGY.  Don’t expect your audience to have ENERGY unless you have it first.

WordCamp Presentation2. Stop Talking About Yourself

Your talk content is precious and the time to deliver it is limited.  Do not spend that time talking about yourself or your company.  The people in your audience are there to listen to the details of the talk description.  They are not there to learn about you, your services or your products.  I have seen many talks where the presenter uses the first 5-10 minutes talking about themselves and I can tell you this is where I shut off and jump on my phone or laptop doing other things and not engaged anymore.  Audience members can read about you online and approach you for more info about yourself.  You can also display subtle self-branding items in your presentation slides.  Some of these might include company logo, company website and twitter handle or other social media profiles.  I’m one that believes it is best when others boast about you but when you do this yourself in a presentation, it is self indulgent.  Another good way to talk about yourself in the right forum would be during open networking between WordCamp talks and before or after the event.

WordCamp Presentation3. Know The Audience’s Skill Set

If you are giving a WordCamp talk to beginners, be very careful not to use WordPress jargon that is very likely the audience will not understand because they are not as advanced as you.  A very good rule of thumb here is that if you are not giving a developer talk, make sure that no matter what you are saying, even someone who has never heard of or worked with WordPress would be able to understand and be interested.  When preparing your slides, think about dating someone new for the first time.  How will you act on that first date?  You will not know who they are and what they like or dislike.  You will hopefully have a few insights to this person from a pre-date conversation and will use that info to have a pleasant date.  Your audience is new to you as well and it’s important you cater your presentation to the the skill set of that audience for the greatest impact.  The majority of WordCamp attendees that I have talked to over the years have been using WordPress for less than 12 months.

WordCamp Presentation4. Keep Control of Audience

I have 5 daughters and when our family sits down to dinner each night, it can be really hard for each of them to say what they want and interact in the conversation.  My wife and I have to referee most nights or dinner gets sidetracked and dragged on longer then needed.  The same thing can happen with your WordCamp presentation.  If you are delivering a presentation that involves audience participation, you may not know what they will say or ask.  It’s hard to stay on track without know the exact reactions of your audience when you call on them for something.  At one WordCamp, I witnessed an audience member ask the presenter to explain how to install WordPress manually on a Windows server.  Not to mention that the talk itself was about SEO techniques but the presenter spent about 5-10 minutes back and forth with this audience member and during this time, it felt like the rest of us were not even there.  We were somewhere else waiting for the talk to resume.  This also goes for questions time at the end.  I am split 50/50 with a presenter polling the audience for questions because when you do this, there is a potential for loss of presentation control.  Audience members love to tack on to your talk and in most cases a positive way, but I have seen audience members try to one up the presenter or discredit info that was presented.  It is OK to ask for audience participation and audience questions, just be certain you can rein them in if they get your presentation off track.

WordCamp Presentation5. Be Prepared and Polished

This one seems like it would be common sense right?  Well common sense is not so common!  Being prepared is so important if you want to execute your presentation like a ninja.  The first part of this is not completed at WordCamp.  That part is your slides.  Your presentation slides can play a pivotal role in not only how your presentation is received but your confidence as well.  Imagine showing up to a job interview wearing sweat pants.  How confident would you feel with the person interviewing you?  Now imagine showing up with a brand new professional outfit that you were really proud of.  You will have a much higher confidence level and your chances of new employment just increased big time because of it.  Create slides that you are proud of.  Not slides that you made at the last moment in a hurry.  The second part of being prepared is also completed before you step foot in front of your audience.  PRACTICE!!!!  You must practice your presentation before you deliver it.  Sounds silly right.  NO!!!!!  It is a very smart thing to do.   Practicing also builds confidence and allows you to live it out before you deliver it.  Doing this might show you areas of your presentation you can either improve on or remove all together.  It’s also so important to practice it because you must know if you can finish in the alotted time.  I have seen it way more times than I like to remember that the room monitor tells the speaker they have 5 minutes left and the speaker has another 15 slides so they try to rush through them and it just shuts people off.  You must time your presentation and make sure that you can complete it without going over the time given or disrupt it by rushing through slides or even never getting to them.

In Summary

There are even more things you can do to make sure you deliver a RockStar WordCamp presentation but I just wanted to highlight the ones I strongly believe will give you the most impact.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have about this article or a presentation you may have coming up.  Please comment below and I am here to help. Take a look at another article we wrote at the link below which tells you the things that you should never do in a WordCamp presentation.

If you would like to see more articles about how to be successful with a WordCamp Presentation comment below with the topic and the hurdles that you are experiencing and I will gladly wrap an article around those.

Some examples for you below of a few presentations that I’ve done following the guidelines above.

See Me Speaking About WordPress

The post How to Deliver a RockStar WordCamp Presentation appeared first on WP Fix It.

Favicon SEO

Posted by on Feb 7, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Favicon SEO

Google recently copied their mobile result layout over to desktop search results. The three big pieces which changed as part of that update were

  • URLs: In many cases Google will now show breadcrumbs in the search results rather than showing the full URL. The layout no longer differentiates between HTTP and HTTPS. And the URLs shifted from an easily visible green color to a much easier to miss black.
  • Favicons: All listings now show a favicon next to them.
  • Ad labeling: ad labeling is in the same spot as favicons are for organic search results, but the ad labels are a black which sort of blends in to the URL line. Over time expect the black ad label to become a lighter color in a way that parallels how Google made ad background colors lighter over time.

One could expect this change to boost the CTR on ads while lowering the CTR on organic search results, at least up until users get used to seeing favicons and not thinking of them as being ads.

The Verge panned the SERP layout update. Some folks on Reddit hate this new layout as it is visually distracting, the contrast on the URLs is worse, and many people think the organic results are ads.

I suspect a lot of phishing sites will use subdomains patterned off the brand they are arbitraging coupled with bogus favicons to try to look authentic. I wouldn’t reconstruct an existing site’s structure based on the current search result layout, but if I were building a brand new site I might prefer to put it at the root instead of on www so the words were that much closer to the logo.

Google provides the following guidelines for favicons

  • Both the favicon file and the home page must be crawlable by Google (that is, they cannot be blocked to Google).
  • Your favicon should be a visual representation of your website’s brand, in order to help users quickly identify your site when they scan through search results.
  • Your favicon should be a multiple of 48px square, for example: 48x48px, 96x96px, 144x144px and so on. SVG files, of course, do not have a specific size. Any valid favicon format is supported. Google will rescale your image to 16x16px for use in search results, so make sure that it looks good at that resolution. Note: do not provide a 16x16px favicon.
  • The favicon URL should be stable (don’t change the URL frequently).
  • Google will not show any favicon that it deems inappropriate, including pornography or hate symbols (for example, swastikas). If this type of imagery is discovered within a favicon, Google will replace it with a default icon.

In addition to the above, I thought it would make sense to provide a few other tips for optimizing favicons.

  • Keep your favicons consistent across sections of your site if you are trying to offer a consistent brand perception.
  • In general, less is more. 16×16 is a tiny space, so if you try to convey a lot of information inside of it, you’ll likely end up creating a blob that almost nobody but you recognizes.
  • It can make sense to include the first letter from a site’s name or a simplified logo widget as the favicon, but it is hard to include both in a single favicon without it looking overdone & cluttered.
  • A colored favicon on a white background generally looks better than a white icon on a colored background, as having a colored background means you are eating into some of the scarce pixel space for a border.
  • Using a square shape versus a circle gives you more surface area to work with.
  • Even if your logo has italics on it, it might make sense to avoid using italics in the favicon to make the letter look cleaner.

Here are a few favicons I like & why I like them:

  • Citigroup – manages to get the word Citi in there while looking memorable & distinctive without looking overly cluttered
  • Nerdwallet – the N makes a great use of space, the colors are sharp, and it almost feels like an arrow that is pointing right
  • Inc – the bold I with a period is strong.
  • LinkedIn – very memorable using a small part of the word from their logo & good color usage.

Some of the other memorable ones that I like include: Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Paypal, Google Play & CNBC.

Here are a few favicons I dislike & why

  • Wikipedia – the W is hard to read.
  • USAA – they included both the logo widget and the 4 letters in a tiny space.
  • Yahoo! – they used inconsistent favicons across their sites & use italics on them. Some of the favicons have the whole word Yahoo in them while the others are the Y! in italics.

If you do not have a favicon Google will show a dull globe next to your listing. Real Favicon Generator is a good tool for creating favicons in various sizes.

What favicons do you really like? Which big sites do you see that are doing it wrong?