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Crawl Budget Optimisation Through Log File Analysis

Posted by on Sep 12, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Crawl Budget Optimisation Through Log File Analysis

Crawl Budget Optimisation Through Log File Analysis

Log file analysis is one of those tasks you might not do often – due to data availability & time constraints – but that can provide insights you wouldn’t be able to discover otherwise, particularly for large sites. If you’ve never done a log analysis or are unsure what exactly to look for and where to start, I’ve built a guideline to help you:

Get started with some log file analysis tools
Understand what log files are useful for
Digging into the data and think how to better redistribute crawling resources

Log files are essentially a diary of all requests made to your site for a specific time period. The data is very specific and more in depth than you could gather from a crawl, Google Analytics and Google Search Console combined. By analysing this data you can quantify the size of any potential issue you discover and make better decisions on what to dig into even further. You can also discover issues things such as weird crawlers behavior which you could not identify through a regular tech audit. Log analysis is particularly valuable for large sites where a crawl would require an extensive amount of time and resources. 

Log file analysis tools

There are different tools out there for this task, Screaming FrogBotify and BigQuery to mention a few. At Distilled, we use BigQuery, which is quite flexible. A great place to get started if you’re not familiar with log analysis is the guideline Dom Woodman, senior consultant at Distilled, wrote on what a log file analysis is and how to do.

Regardless of the tool you choose to use, you should be able to use the framework below.

Understand what log files are useful for

Log files are a really good source for:

Discovering potential problems: use them to find things you can’t with a crawl since that doesn’t include historical memory of Google
Identify what to prioritise: knowing how often Google visits URLs can be a useful way of prioritising things.

The best part about log files is that they include all kinds of information you might want to know about, and more. Page response code? They have it. Page file type? Included. Crawler type? Should be in there. You get the idea. But until you slice your data in meaningful ways you won’t know what all this information is useful for. 

Digging into the data

When you begin to analyse logs, you should slice the information in big chunks to obtain a good overall picture of the data because it helps to understand what to prioritise.  You should always compare results to the number of organic sessions obtained because it helps to establish if crawling budget should be distributed differently.

These are the criteria I use to dig into the log file:

Top 10 URLs/paths most requested
200-code vs. non 200-code page
URLs with parameters vs non parameters
File type requests
Requests per subdomain 

Before you begin

At this stage, you should also decide on a threshold for what represents a significant percentage of your data. For example, if you discover that there are 20,000 requests with a 301 response code and the total number of requests on the logs are 2,000,000, then knowing that the 301s are only 1% of total requests helps you bucket this as a low priority issue. This might change by type, for example, 10% of category pages with a 404 status code might be more important than 10% of product pages with a 404 code.

Once you begin obtaining results from your data, you should consider whether the current crawler behavior is the best use of crawling resources. The answer to this question will tell you what the following actions should be.

Top 10 URLs/paths most requested vs organic sessions they drive

Through log file analysis you’ll often discover a few paths or specific URLs that had a significantly higher amount of requests compared to the rest. These usually happen to be URLs linked from most templates, for example from main nav or footer,  or from external sources but don’t often drive a high number of organic sessions.

Depending on what type of URLs these are, you may or may not need to take action. For example, if 40% of resources are used to request a specific URL, is that the best use of crawling resources or could they be better distributed?

Below is an example of the breakdown of top requested paths from log analysis and how they compare to organic sessions they drive:

Making this comparison on a graph allows you to easily identify how crawling resources could be better distributed. The first two blue bars show that the majority of requests are to two specific paths which drive no organic sessions. This is a quick way to identify important wins right away: in the example above, the next step would be to understand what those URLs are and where they are found to then decide whether they should be crawled and indexed or what additional action may be required. A tech audit would not give you the information I show in the graph. 

Page response code

Based on whether a high percentage of the log requests is a non-200 code page, you may want to dig into this area further. Here you should query your data to discover what is the break down of non-200 code page and based on results dig further, prioritising those with the highest percentage. 

Below is an example of non-200 code pages breakdown:

As visible above, almost 50% of all requests are to a non-200 status code page. In this case, investigate further into each status code to discover which type of pages they come from and what percentage each represents. As a side note, if you also encounter a large number of pages with a 304 status code, this is a server response essentially equivalent to a 200-status code. The 304 response indicates that the page has not changed since the previous transmission.

Here are some common checks you should do on non-200 code pages:

Are there patterns of internal links pointing to these pages? A crawl of the site would be able to answer this.
Is there a high number of external links/domains pointing to these pages?
Are any of these pages’ status code caused by certain actions/situations? (i.e. on ecommerce sites, discontinued products may become 404 pages or 301 redirects to main categories) 
Does the number of pages with a specific status code change over time?

URLs with parameters vs non-parameters

URLs with parameters can cause page duplication, in fact very often they are just a copy of the page without parameters, creating a large number of URLs that add no value to the site. In an ideal world, all URLs discovered by crawlers do not include parameters. However, this is not usually the case and a good amount of crawling resources are used to crawl parameterised  URLs. You should always check what percentage of total requests parameterised URLs make up for. 

Once you know the size of the issue, here are a few things to consider:

What is the page response code of these URLs?
How are parameterised URLs being discovered by crawlers?
Are there internal links to parameterised URLs?
What parameter keys are the most found and what are their purpose?

Depending on what you discover in this phase, there may be actions related to previous steps that apply here. 

File type requests

I always check the file type breakdown to quickly discover whether requests to resources such as images or JavaScript files make up a big portion. This should not be the case and in an ideal scenario as the highest percentage of requests should be for HTML type of pages because these are the pages Google not only understands but are also the pages you want to rank well. If you discover that crawlers are spending considerable resources for non-HTML files, then this is an area to dig into further. 

Here are a few important things to investigate:

Where are the resources discovered/linked from?
Do they need to be crawled or should they just be used to load the content?

As usual, you should bear in mind the most important question: is this the best use of crawling resources? If not, then consider blocking crawlers from accessing these resources with an indexing purpose. This can be easily done by blocking them on robots.txt, however, before you do you should always check with your dev.

Requests per subdomain

You may not need this step if you don’t have any subdomains, but otherwise, this is a check you should do to discover unusual behavior. Particularly, if you are analysing the logs of a specific domain, requests to other domains should be somewhat limited, depending on how your internal linking is organised. It also depends if Google sees the subdomains as your site rather than a separate subdomain.

As with the previous steps, this is the first breakdown of your data and based on the results it should tell you whether anything is worth digging further into or not. 

A few things to keep in mind in this section:

Should crawler spend less/more time on subdomains?
Where are the subdomain pages discovered within your site?

This could be another opportunity for redistributing crawling budget to the pages you want crawlers to discover.

To wrap it up

As with many SEO tasks, there are many different ways to go about a log analysis. The guideline I shared is meant to provide you with an organised method that helps you think about crawling budget resources and how to better use them. If you have any advice on how you think about crawling budget resources, please leave your advice in a comment below. 

How to duplicate a post in WordPress, plus 4 reasons why!

Posted by on Sep 10, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to duplicate a post in WordPress, plus 4 reasons why!

How to duplicate a post in WordPress, plus 4 reasons why!

If you write content in WordPress, duplicating a post can come in quite handy. It can save you a lot of valuable time to clone a post and adjust the content, instead of starting from scratch with every post you write. Fortunately, cloning a post becomes very easy with the Yoast Duplicate post plugin. In this article, you can read how to use it and we’ll discuss 4 everyday situations in which you might want to use it.

How to duplicate a post in WordPress

One of the newest additions to our Yoast stable is the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin. This simple but effective plugin helps your duplicate or clone a post in a few simple steps:

Install the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin

If you don’t have the plugin yet, simply go to Plugins in the backend of your WordPress site and install Yoast Duplicate Post. Not sure how to do this? This article explains how to install a plugin.

Click on Posts

After you’ve installed and activated the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin, you’re good to go. When you want to duplicate a post, go to your post overview where you’ll see all your posts listed. Find the post you want to clone:

Hover over the post you’d like to clone

If you hover your mouse over the post you’d like to clone, you’ll see some options appear under the post title:

Click on Clone post

When you want to duplicate your post, simply click “Clone” or “New Draft”. Both functions will clone your post. If you click on “New Draft” the clone will open directly so you can start working in it immediately. If you click “Clone” a duplicate of your post will appear as a draft post in the list:

Rename the clone

To prevent confusion, it’s best to rename your duplicate post right away. You can do this by clicking on the post and editing the title there. Or you can click on “Quick Edit” in the post overview and edit the title in this input field:

4 reasons to duplicate or clone a post

There are several reasons why you’d want to create a clone of an existing post. There might be more than 4 reasons, but here we’d like to highlight the reasons that are recognizable for most of us. Of course, you don’t want to publish the exact same or very similar content as that might confuse search engines. So, in what situations should you to use it?

1. Extensive updates on existing posts and pages

Keeping your content fresh and up to date is a sensible thing to do. You don’t want to show visitors outdated or incorrect information. Also, search engines prefer to serve users content that is regularly updated and accurate. Sometimes, updating is just a matter of changing a sentence here and there or fixing a typo, which you can easily do in an existing post. But if it needs more work, for instance, a complete rewrite of multiple paragraphs, you might want to work on this in a clone.

Working in a clone has a couple of advantages:

it allows you to adjust what’s needed, save it, re-read it, and correct it if necessary before your changes go live;you can preview your post and see exactly what it looks like; you can share the preview with others before you publish the changes.

When you’re sure the post is ready for publication, copy the content of the clone into the existing post and hit update. That way you’ll keep the old URL. If you do want to publish the clone instead, make sure to delete the old post and create a redirect!

2. Scheduled updates

In some cases, you don’t want to publish changes right away. You’ll have to wait until, for instance, a product is launched or an event took place. If you have a cloned post to work in, you can perfectly prepare the changes and just copy the content or push the post live (don’t forget to redirect!) when the time is there. This will save you a lot of last-minute work and editing.

3. Merges of multiple posts

Large sites often have lots of content. Inevitably, the content you publish might become more alike over time. We notice this ourselves as we write a lot about content optimization. Before you know it, you’ll have multiple posts on how to optimize a blog post. Is this a bad thing? Well, it might be, if you start competing with yourself in the search engines. We call this keyword cannibalization. We have a complete article on how to find and fix cannibilization in a smart way. 

If you have posts that are very similar and compete for a top ranking in the search results, you’re better off merging them into one complete and high-quality post. In order to do so, you can check how these similar posts are doing, which one gets the most traffic and ranks highest. This is the preferred post or URL to keep. 

When you take a closer look at the other post you might find interesting stuff in there that your high-performing post is missing. Then, of course, add it! This might be quite a puzzle though, and that’s where duplicating your post comes in. If you create a clone, you can take a good look at both posts, take the best out of both of them and merge them into one awesome and complete post. When you’re done, copy the content from the clone into the best-performing URL and don’t forget to redirect the post you’re not keeping! 

4. Reusing a format

Especially in eCommerce, you might have a certain format for a product page. But also, for a series of posts on your blog, help pages on your site, or events, you might like to stick to a certain format. If you’re using a format you’re happy with, you can use the clone function to duplicate the page with the right format. Delete the content you shouldn’t keep and just fill the post with the content about other products, help info, or events. It’s as easy as that, and a huge time saver.

What do you use it for?

Do you already use the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin? We’d like to know what situations you use it in! As we’re continuously improving the plugin, we love to hear how you use it and what features could be useful to add or improve. So please share your thoughts here!

Read more: about the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin »

The post How to duplicate a post in WordPress, plus 4 reasons why! appeared first on Yoast.

Update to Aggregate Lighthouse Reporter

Posted by on Sep 9, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Update to Aggregate Lighthouse Reporter

Update to Aggregate Lighthouse Reporter

Hey everyone!

It’s been a hot minute since I posted so just wanted to quickly come in here and share an update we made to a free tool.

A while back we released a tool that would allow you to aggregate Lighthouse reports by template and visualize and report on assets across sites and at the template/page level in Google Data Studio. Sounds pretty cool right? You can read about it here and check out the GitHub repo here.

Shortly after that Google released their Core Web Vitals and included them in a release of Lighthouse. So here we are. We have updated our repo to include Lighthouse 6.0 (this is a copy of our production repo so it will automatically update.)

That means you can get all these beautiful visualizations of Core Web Vitals and a few other new things:


You can check out an example report to play around with here (sorry, not sorry Waste Management). And in case you missed it the first time the GitHub repo is at the big button below

Check it out on GitHub

The post Update to Aggregate Lighthouse Reporter appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

How to Increase Website Traffic by 1,070% (SEO Case Study)

Posted by on Sep 2, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Increase Website Traffic by 1,070% (SEO Case Study)

Today I’m going to show you how to increase website traffic by 1,070%. This growth is from a B2C niche website we launched in 2018. Let’s dive right in. 1. Ignore Search Volume (Sometimes) There is an untapped and uncompetitive world for keywords with no search volume. You have to remember that search volume is …

Read moreHow to Increase Website Traffic by 1,070% (SEO Case Study)

Let’s Make Money: 4 Tactics for Agencies Looking to Succeed – Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Let’s Make Money: 4 Tactics for Agencies Looking to Succeed – Best of Whiteboard Friday

Let’s Make Money: 4 Tactics for Agencies Looking to Succeed – Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by rjonesx.

We spend a lot of time discussing SEO tactics, but in a constantly changing industry and especially in times of uncertainty, the strategies agencies should employ in order to see success deserve more attention. In this popular (and still relevant) Whiteboard Friday, Russ Jones discusses four essential success tactics that’ll ultimately increase your bottom line. 

Russ also delved into the topic of profitability in his MozCon Virtual presentation this year. To watch his and our other amazing speaker presentations, you can purchase access to the 2020 video bundle here.  

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. I am Russ Jones, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for my first Whiteboard Friday. I am Principal Search Scientist here at Moz. But before coming to Moz, for the 10 years prior to that, I was the Chief Technology Officer of a small SEO agency back in North Carolina. So I have a strong passion for agencies and consultants who are on the ground doing the work, helping websites rank better and helping build businesses.

So what I wanted to do today was spend a little bit of time talking about the lessons that I learned at an agency that admittedly I only learned through trial and error. But before we even go further, I just wanted to thank the folks at Hive Digital who I learned so much from, Jeff and Jake and Malcolm and Ryan, because the team effort over time is what ended up building an agency. Any agency that succeeds knows that that’s part of it. So we’ll start with that thank-you.

But what I really want to get into is that we spend a lot of time talking about SEO tactics, but not really about how to succeed in an industry that changes rapidly, in which there’s almost no certification, and where it can be difficult to explain to customers exactly how they’re going to be successful with what you offer. So what I’m going to do is break down four really important rules that I learned over the course of that 10 years. We’re going to go through each one of them as quickly as possible, but at the same time, hopefully you’ll walk away with some good ideas. Some of these are ones that it might at first feel a little bit awkward, but just follow me.

1. Raise prices

The first rule, number one in Let’s Make Money is raise your prices. Now, I remember quite clearly two years in to my job at Hive Digital — it was called Virante then — and we were talking about raising prices. We were just looking at our customers, saying to ourselves, “There’s no way they can afford it.” But then luckily we had the foresight that there was more to raising prices than just charging your customers more.

How it benefits old customers

The first thing that just hit us automatically was… “Well, with our old customers, we can just discount them. It’s not that bad. We’re in the same place as we always were.” But then it occurred to us, “Wait, wait, wait. If we discount our customers, then we’re actually increasing our perceived value.” Our existing customers now think, “Hey, they’re actually selling something better that’s more expensive, but I’m getting a deal,” and by offering them that deal because of their loyalty, you engender more loyalty. So it can actually be good for old customers.

How it benefits new customers

Now, for new customers, once again, same sort of situation. You’ve increased the perceived value. So your customers who come to you think, “Oh, this company is professional. This company is willing to invest. This company is interested in providing the highest quality of services.” In reality, because you’ve raised prices, you can. You can spend more time and money on each customer and actually do a better job. The third part is, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If they say no, you offer them the discount. You’re back where you started. You’re in the same position that you were before.

How it benefits your workers

Now, here’s where it really matters — your employees, your workers. If you are offering bottom line prices, you can’t offer them raises, you can’t offer them training, you can’t hire them help, or you can’t get better workers. But if you do, if you raise prices, the whole ecosystem that is your agency will do better.

How it improves your resources

Finally, and most importantly, which we’ll talk a little bit more later, is that you can finally tool up. You can get the resources and capital that you need to actually succeed. I drew this kind of out.

If we have a graph of quality of services that you offer and the price that you sell at, most agencies think that they’re offering great quality at a little price, but the reality is you’re probably down here. You’re probably under-selling your services and, because of that, you can’t offer the best that you can.

You should be up here. You should be offering higher quality, your experts who spend time all day studying this, and raising prices allows you to do that.

2. Schedule

Now, raising prices is only part one. The second thing is discipline, and I am really horrible about this. The reality is that I’m the kind of guy who looks for the latest and greatest and just jumps into it, but schedule matters. As hard as it is to admit it, I learned this from the CPC folks because they know that they have to stay on top of it every day of the week.

Well, here’s something that we kind of came up with as I was leaving the company, and that was to set all of our customers as much as possible into a schedule.

Annually: we would handle keywords and competitors doing complete analysis.Semi-annually: Twice a year, we would do content analysis. What should you be writing about? What’s changed in your industry? What are different keywords that you might be able to target now given additional resources?Quarterly: You need to be looking at links. It’s just a big enough issue that you’ve got to look at it every couple of months, a complete link analysis.Monthly: You should be looking at your crawls. Moz will do that every week for you, but you should give your customers an idea, over the course of a month, what’s changed.Weekly: You should be doing rankings

But there are three things that, when you do all of these types of analysis, you need to keep in mind. Each one of them is a…

ReportHours for consultingPhone call

This might seem like a little bit of overkill. But of course, if one of these comes back and nothing changed, you don’t need to do the phone call, but each one of these represents additional money in your pocket and importantly better service for your customers.

It might seem hard to believe that when you go to a customer and you tell them, “Look, nothing’s changed,” that you’re actually giving them value, but the truth is that if you go to the dentist and he tells you, you don’t have a cavity, that’s good news. You shouldn’t say to yourself at the end of the day, “Why’d I go to the dentist in the first place?” You should say, “I’m so glad I went to the dentist.” By that same positive outlook, you should be selling to your customers over and over and over again, hoping to give them the clarity they need to succeed.

3. Tool up!

So number three, you’re going to see this a lot in my videos because I just love SEO tools, but you’ve got to tool up. Once you’ve raised prices and you’re making more money with your customers, you actually can. Tools are superpowers. Tools allow you to do things that humans just can’t do. Like I can’t figure out the link graph on my own. I need tools to do it. But tools can do so much more than just auditing existing clients. For example, they can give you…

Better leads:

You can use tools to find opportunities.Take for example the tools within Moz and you want to find other car dealerships in the area that are really good and have an opportunity to rank, but aren’t doing as well as they should be in SERPs. You want to do this because you’ve already serviced successfully a different car dealership. Well, tools like Moz can do that. You don’t just have to use Moz to help your clients. You can use them to help yourself.

Better pre-audits:

Nobody walks into a sales call blind. You know who the website is. So you just start with a great pre-audit.

Faster workflows:

Which means you make more money quicker. If you can do your keyword analysis annually in half the time because you have the right tool for it, then you’re going to make far more money and be able to serve more customers.

Bulk pricing:

This one is just mind-blowingly simple. It’s bulk pricing. Every tool out there, the more you buy from them, the lower the price is. I remember at my old company sitting down at one point and recognizing that every customer that came in the door would need to spend about $1,000 on individual accounts to match what they were getting through us by being able to take advantage of the bulk discounts that we were getting as an agency by buying these seats on behalf of all of our customers.

So tell your clients when you’re talking to them on the phone, in the pitch be like, “Look, we use Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMrush,” list off all of the competitors. “We do Screaming Frog.” Just name them all and say, “If you wanted to go out and just get the data yourself from these tools, it would cost you more than we’re actually charging you.” The tools can sell themselves. You are saving them money.

4. Just say NO

Now, the last section, real quickly, are the things you’ve just got to learn to say no to. One of them has a little nuance to it. There’s going to be some bite back in the comments, I’m pretty sure, but I want to be careful with it.

No month-to-month contracts

The first thing to say no to is month-to-month contracts.

If a customer comes to you and they say, “Look, we want to do SEO, but we want to be able to cancel every 30 days.” the reality is this. They’re not interested in investing in SEO. They’re interested in dabbling in SEO. They’re interested in experimenting with SEO. Well, that’s not going to succeed. It’s only going to take one competitor or two who actually invest in it to beat them out, and when they beat them out, you’re going to look bad and they’re going to cancel their account with you. So sit down with them and explain to them that it is a long-term strategy and it’s just not worth it to your company to bring on customers who aren’t interested in investing in SEO. Say it politely, but just turn it away.

Don’t turn anything away

Now, notice that my next thing is don’t turn anything away. So here’s something careful. Here’s the nuance. It’s really important to learn to fire clients who are bad for your business, where you’re losing money on them or they’re just impolite, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn them away. You just need to turn them in the right direction. That right direction might be tools themselves. You can say, “Look, you don’t really need our consulting hours. You should go use these tools.” Or you can turn them to other fledgling businesses, friends you have in the industry who might be struggling at this time.

I’ll tell you a quick example. We don’t have much time, but many, many years ago, we had a client that came to us. At our old company, we had a couple of rules about who we would work with. We chose not to work in the adult industry. But at the time, I had a friend in the industry. He lived outside of the United States, and he had fallen on hard times. He literally had his business taken away from him via a series of just really unscrupulous events. I picked up the phone and gave him a call. I didn’t turn away the customer. I turned them over to this individual.

That very next year, he had ended up landing a new job at the top of one of the largest gambling organizations in the world. Well, frankly, they weren’t on our list of people we couldn’t work with. We landed the largest contract in the history of our company at that time, and it set our company straight for an entire year. It was just because instead of turning away the client, we turned them to a different direction. So you’ve got to say no to turning away everybody. They are opportunities. They might not be your opportunity, but they’re someone’s.

No service creep

The last one is service creep. Oh, man, this one is hard. A customer comes up to you and they list off three things that you offer that they want, and then they say, “Oh, yeah, we need social media management.” Somebody else comes up to you, three things you want to offer, and they say, “Oh yeah, we need you to write content,” and that’s not something you do. You’ve just got to not do that. You’ve got to learn to shave off services that you can’t offer. Instead, turn them over to people who can do them and do them very well.

What you’re going to end up doing in your conversation, your sales pitch is, “Look, I’m going to be honest with you. We are great at some things, but this isn’t our cup of tea. We know someone who’s really great at it.” That honesty, that candidness is just going to give them such a better relationship with you, and it’s going to build a stronger relationship with those other specialty companies who are going to send business your way. So it’s really important to learn to say no to say no service creep.

Well, anyway, there’s a lot that we went over there. I hope it wasn’t too much too fast, but hopefully we can talk more about it in the comments. I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Affordable SEO Services for Small Business – The 2020 List

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Affordable SEO Services for Small Business – The 2020 List

Affordable SEO Services for Small Business – The 2020 List

Finding affordable SEO services for small businesses isn’t an easy task for sure. With SEO being such a complex field, it’s hard to know what services do you need or whether a company’s gonna do a good job or not.

 

That’s why it’s important to have at least an idea of what SEO services are important, which practices are useful and which are harmful.

 

 

Many times, SEO companies offer their services in the form of a monthly SEO package. While it’s easy for search engine marketers to manage their work this way, and a lot easier for you to understand what you get for the buck, it’s also a big indication of automatization, which stands, generally, at the base of SEO penalties.

 

This article will not be a list of companies to pick from, but a guide on which services you should be looking for and how to choose the right company.

 

So, read this guide till the end to get the insights you need.

 

Why Should Small Businesses Invest in SEO?
What SEO Services Do Small Businesses Need?
Types of Affordable SEO Services for Small Business

For Technical SEO
For Content Marketing
For Link Building
For Rank Tracking
For Local SEO
For Video SEO
For Ecommerce SEO

The Top 5 Must-Have Affordable SEO Services for Small Business
How to Pick The Right SEO Company to Work With

 
Why Should Small Businesses Invest in SEO?

 

If you’re a small business looking for affordable SEO services, you’ve probably just started out as an entrepreneur.

 

But why choose SEO as a marketing channel?

 

The main reason why small businesses should consider SEO as a marketing channel is that you can either invest time or money into it.

 

That gives you some liberty, in case you don’t have one or the other.

 

While other channels, such as PPC, can offer faster results, SEO is a long-term game, but can bring in the greatest ROI.

 

 

The key here is to start it as early as possible, so you can benefit off it for as long as possible. Postponing it will only allow your competition to get ahead, making your job harder.

 

If you’re interested in the pros and cons of these two marketing channels, take a look at this article about SEO vs PPC.

 

But again, if PPC seems like a more viable option for you now, you should still start investing in SEO as soon as possible.

 
What SEO Services Do Small Businesses Need?

 

It’s hard to say what SEO services a business needs because it differs from business to business.

 

Do you have a local store? Or an online one? Are you a blogger or an affiliate or do you offer services, be them physically, such as plumbing, or online, such as consulting?

 

In general, small businesses lack quality content and promotion.

 

Quality websites are easy to build these days using templates and content management systems, but quality content isn’t easy to write.

 

Also, once the website is live and even with quality content on it, it’s still not enough. You need to know how to promote it to show Google that it’s valuable.

 
Types of Affordable SEO Services for Small Business

 

We’ll go through multiple categories so that you can have a better idea what affordable seo services for small business you might need, depending on your case.

 

In the end, you’ll need a bit of everything, so consider this list as a set of priorities.

 
1. For Technical SEO

 

The truth about technical SEO is that it is, in general, a one-time fix. While you have to change things from time to time as the internet evolves, if you set things right from the beginning, they will last.

 

Here are the top Technical SEO issues that small businesses should focus on in their online marketing strategy: 

 

URL and Site structure: While you can do this on your own, it’s probably a good idea to ask an SEO consultant for advice. The most difficult site to structure is an eCommerce one. You want to get it right from the beginning to avoid issues in the future. This will save you a lot of money. Find out more about a good website and URL structure.
Image Compression: Images are probably the biggest problem when it comes to technical SEO and load times. In many cases, it can be done for free with tools such as Smush for WordPress, but similar free plugins are also available for other platforms.
Caching: If you use caching, your site will load even faster. Again, good caching can be achieved for free with plugins such as W3 Total Cache or Autoptimize. Some hosting providers have LiteSpeed Caching on their server, which also allows you to cache your content properly.
Structured data: This should be the last thing you focus on as a small business. However, in certain cases it can have a good impact. Just make sure you don’t focus on this technical aspect instead of what’s really important, which is quality content and promotion.

 

Here are some tools that can help you ensure you won’t be spending much on Technical SEO issues:

 

WordPress:

 

The best affordable SEO service for Technical SEO when it comes to small businesses is WordPress.

 

You need an optimized, mobile friendly website over which you have control and can maximize potential without spending too much.

 

Web Designers are quite expensive, so WordPress is the way to go. You can find a variety of templates for a nice web design, many even for free.

 

Sure, there are other SaaS website builders there such as Wix or Squarespace (you’ve probably seen the ads by now), but they are very limited in terms of what you can do for your business’s SEO.

 

 

If you want to go with PPC only, SaaS website builders might be a good option, but for search engine optimization, even renowned SEO companies will have a hard time.

 

Even WordPress has its own SaaS packages, so make sure you compare both the open source version and the SaaS one.

 

In the open source one, you’ll need your own hosting, while the SaaS one will cover it.

 

In the long run, if you want to get the most out of it, the open source version is the best option, but it will be more difficult to manage.

 

GT Metrix:

 

GT-Metrix is a great service that will tell you about a variety of technical SEO issues your site is facing.

 

The most important things you want to make sure you fix are large images and caching.

 

While all these tips are useful, what you should be focusing on is the load speed of the website, in seconds.

 

PageSpeed Insights: 

 

Just like GT Metrix, Google offers a similar tool, called PageSpeed Insights.

 

You can view a variety of technical issues which Google considers you should fix.

 

 

The most important one, again, is the speed at which your website loads (First Contentful Paing and Time to interactive)

 

Xenu Link Sleuth: 

 

Xenu Lunk Sleuth is a free tool you can use to crawl your website and identify missing title tags or 404 errors.

 

You can also use this to quickly map titles to URLs if you’re in the process of rewriting your titles in order to improve OnPage SEO.

 

In the tool itself you can also visualize where a pages is linked from internally within your site.

 

CognitiveSEO Toolset:

 

The CognitiveSEO Toolset is an affordable seo services for small business that can help you with more complex issues like website structure. Instead of analyzing everything on a page by page basis like other tools, our tool lets you take advantage of APIs to analyze your entire site at once.

 

Furthermore, you’ll be able to view the entire structured in an easy to understand manner, inside the dashboard.

 

 
2. For Content Marketing

 

Keyword research: Keyword Research is crucial if you want to set the basis of your OnPage SEO strategy on content marketing. If you don’t know what people are searching for, you don’t know what to optimize your pages for.
Copywriting: While good copywriting isn’t cheap, it’s worth investing in it. Good copy sells, and that’s what you need on your website, especially if you’re just starting out. Sure, a content marketing strategy is based on information not sales, but what if you could give out information that sells? That’s where copywriting kicks in.
Editorial Calendar: Content marketing is a long-term game, so developing a schedule can really help you move things forward with ease. It’s mostly based on keyword research, but you have to map things out into hubs or silos and decide which ones to prioritize and how they can better facilitate and consolidate your site’s structure.

 

Here are some services and tools which you can use to find keywords and develop a better content strategy.

 

Google Autosuggest & Keyword Planner:

 

The Google Autosuggest tool can be really helpful in finding out what people are searching for on the web in real time.

 

Just start typing in a seed keyword and Google will fill you in on the details.

 

 

Moreover, at the bottom of any results page you’ll see a list of related keywords which you can use.

 

Furthermore, if you’re already using Google Adwords, why not use the keywords you’ve found there for organic search as well?

 

Reddit:

 

Reddit is a great source for finding new hot topics in your domain. You just have to look at subreddits relevant to your niche.

 

Sometimes, it might not be easy to find them but try to think outside the box. Once you’re close, start following that thread.

 

Don’t just rush on adding links to your website, or you’ll get banned quick enough. First, you’ll have to build your profile by answering threads and even starting popular ones.

 

If you’re a consultant, you can start by answering threads to some extent, then offering individuals to help them further in Private Messages.

 

There you can determine if you’re a good fit and offer your services.

 

Eventually, once you’ve gained enough karma, you can start answering people partially and adding a link to your blog where you expand on the topic, for those interested in finding out more.

 

CognitiveSEO:

 

The CognitiveSEO Content Assistant is a great tool that can help you quickly improve Google rankings, only by changing your content a little bit.

 

You can try it for free here.

 

First, type in what  keyword you want to optimize for, then go to the Content Assistant section and the tool will provide you with a list of keywords you should use in your content to improve your site’s rank in Google.

 

It’s that simple!

 

 

Of course, take it with a grain of salt. You don’t have to force a keyword in if it doesn’t fit. You can change it a little so that it makes sense. Think of the important keywords there as topics of subjects you need to address in your page.

 
3. For Link Building

 

Link building is probably the hardest thing to do these days. Everyone is aware of it, nobody wants to link to you (without money) and even Google is on it, penalizing you for it.

 

Use the Link Reclamation Tool

 

Building white-hat links of high value and in accordance with Google’s guidelines have been a pain point for years now.

 

The broken pages and link reclamation technique might be familiar to you as they are quite old school strategies.

 

We documented this technique a lot, so find out way more about the link reclamation technique, when and how to use it to deliver maximum results.

 

Analyze Your Competitor’s Links

 

More often than not, your competitors, especially the ones ranking high in search results, are doing some things very well.

 

Why not use what they are doing to improve your own SEO rankings?

 

The CognitiveSEO Backlink Analysis tool can identify what backlinks your competitors are using to rank high. Even more than that, you can use the Unnatural Link detection to filter bad links and focus only on the best ones.

 

You can also use it for competitive analysis, to see where you are positioned compared to your competitors. This can help you identify websites ranking to multiple competitors, indicating that it might be easier to obtain.

 

Blog Commenting:

 

Many SEO experts consider this to be a spammy method, but in fact, it isn’t. It can be. However, I’m not recommending spam in any way.

 

I’m talking about identifying websites and blogs talking about related topics to your small business and engaging with them, just as you would do on Social Media.

 

You’ll often see companies offer services such as blog commenting in their ‘affordable’ SEO packages, but be wary, as more often than not, it’s spam.

 

The goal here is to build connections with other websites or bloggers in the field. Then maybe you can land a deal with them to promote your website.

 

Guest Posting:

 

By engaging with relevant bloggers through blog commenting, you might get to know a blogger well enough to ask them for a guest post.

 

Guest Posting is when you write an article for another website, under your name. Usually, you’ll be able to link back to your website.

 

Expanding this is now considered a dangerous practice, but doing it in moderation won’t affect your site in any way.

 

Outreach: 

 

Guest posts or simply links can also be obtained through direct outreach.

 

However, you have to build some sort of connection first. Being genuine is the best way and I’ve had the most success with it.

 

 

Always start by giving something and not expecting something in return. Once you’ve got a reply, you can push a request, but don’t be demanding.

 

Many people sell links on their websites for hundreds of dollars. So when they give you one for free, you should really appreciate it.

 

Check out these outreach examples to boost your response rate.

 

Blogging (with a twist):

 

Last but not least, content marketing can be really useful for search engine optimization in the long run. However, it won’t be enough to write articles in order to get links.

 

You’ll have to write articles that people want to share and that’s not easy.

 

You can do it the tricky way, by identifying an influencer and writing about something you know they’ll share, or following another strategy such as writing case studies or funny things.

 

Either way, even if blogging and content marketing won’t help you get links in the end, it’s still a good way of consolidating and optimizing your website’s structure.

 
4. For Rank Tracking

 

Measuring an SEO strategy is crucial for determining the success of an SEO campaign. Whether you work with an SEO firm or not, it’s a good idea to monitor the results on your own.

 

Here are some methods you can use to effectively track your rankings and results:

 

Google itself: The oldest method in the basket. Just open Google and type your keyword. Make sure you do it in Incognito mode, to get rid of personalized search results.

Google Search Console: The Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google which will monitor where your site’s getting traffic from, as well as the average positions for the keywords that brought the traffic.

CognitiveSEO Rank Tracker: If you’re looking for something a little bit more advanced, take a look at our rank tracker. Not only will it show your SEO rankings, but it can also notify you of drops and will provide a graph for each particular keyword. Using our tool you’ll also be able to monitor your competitor’s rankings, if that interests you.

 

 
5. For Local SEO

 

When it comes to local SEO, you can actually completely dominate the entire page of Google with multiple positions.

 

Here are the most affordable things you can focus on to improve rankings:

 

Google MyBusiness:

 

Google MyBusiness is the most important SEO service you should focus on as a small local business.

 

Setting up a GMB listing isn’t particularly difficult. Just make sure you use your keywords in the name and description and fill in all the information correctly.

 

However, ranking Google MyBusiness listings high isn’t as easy, but it can be achieved by implementing a set of practices in your company, such as asking for reviews or getting in the local newspaper.

 

 

Social Media Accounts & Posting:

 

In local search results, Facebook pages can actually rank pretty high for particular keywords.

 

Make sure you use that to your advantage by optimizing the title and description on Facebook to also include the keyword you’re trying to target.

 

Also, posting regularly on Facebook can help you bring some traffic to your website. Just remember the 80 20 rule, in which you only try to sell them 20% of the time.

 

 

If your posts are only promotional, people won’t engage with them and the reach of all your posts will be reduced over time. You have to attract engagement and also engage with your audience yourself.

 

You might think that small local businesses can’t go viral, but the The White Moose Café would prove you wrong.

 

Citations & Accurate NAP: 

 

Citations are like backlinks, but they only mention your brand’s name and don’t necessarily contain a link back to your site.

 

NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone and you want to make sure these are consistent across the web.

 

Therefore, using a different phone or address or different opening hours across different platforms such as Google and Facebook might look confusing to Google, just as it would to your clients.

 

In a way, you’re bringing all these channels and platforms together to form a stronger union that will rank better overall.

 

You can also purchase advertising in local media, if they are affordable. If you’re in a small town, that works, but in big cities such as New York… though luck!

 

Local Adjacent Niches Partnerships:

 

A great way of getting some traction with local SEO is to partner up with other local businesses in your proximity.

 

The businesses can promote each other locally in their own store, as well as online on their websites.

 

 

They don’t have to be competitors, but at least somehow related or relevant to your niche.

 

So if you sell hunting rifles, it’s probably not a good idea to try to partner up with a vegan restaurant.

 

For example, if you sell luxury watches, why not partner up with the luxury suits store across the road? Everybody wins!

 
6. For Video SEO

 

Video SEO can help you grow your business. More and more people prefer video content over traditional, written one.

 

It’s hard to pinpoint an affordable seo services for small business for video, as you can’t really optimize videos the same way you optimize blog posts. Once you’ve published it… it’s done.

 

Sure, you can still change titles and descriptions to better optimize them but, as a whole, you have to get things right from the start.

 

Here are a few tips you can follow to rank better with video or complement your content marketing strategy with a video SEO as well.

 

Keyword Research: Just as with regular SEO, you want to know what people are searching for before you create a video. Sometimes, it’s hard to match a topic or new idea you have to a keyword, but try your best to do it. This way you’ll get the best out of both worlds.
Optimized titles & descriptions: Use the identified keywords in your title and description. Don’t cheap out on the description, even if not many people will read it. Populate it with complementary info such as links to sources.
Short Product Presentation Clips: If you sell products online, make sure you have video presentations of them. People are busy, so short and to the point ones will be best. These days, you can do everything with a phone. There is a multitude of video editing software for both Android and Apple.
Consistency: While posting a few clips here and there might work if they rank high for your target keyword, if you want to have real success with video, you’ll have to do it on a regular basis.
Interlinking between videos: Let’s face it: most video content happens on YouTube. And YouTube wants its users to stay on YouTube. So have multiple videos related to one another. Send people from one video to another so that they spend more time on YouTube and YouTube will reward you.
Repurpose content: If you’ve already been blogging for a while, you can use those topics to create video content. Then, simple interlink the video and blog post. You can do this vice-versa, if you’ve been focusing your time on video content instead.

 
7. For Ecommerce SEO

 

eCommerce SEO services are the hardest to find at affordable prices. If you have a small eCommerce SEO business, consider spending your own time in learning SEO, as services might be expensive and the cheap ones will most probably not be very effective.

Site Structure: Structure is the most important thing for eCommerce websites, because of filters and faceted navigation. So make sure you get it right from the beginning. It might be expensive for big sites, but it’s very effective and it will save you a lot of time and money in the future.

 

You can use the CognitiveSEO Site Audit Tool to analyze your site and ensure a proper structure. From URLs, 301 redirects and canonicals to internal linking, the tool has everything covered.

Well optimized titles: Very often, people ignore the basics. They focus on ‘secret’ strategies and completely forget that their titles aren’t optimized. Of course, this assuming that you’ve done your keyword research already.

 

Blogging: eCommerce sites lack quality content. Most products have short descriptions and the structure itself is only built as a silo between categories and products. However, you can consolidate that structure with interesting articles. They will also ease your job into bringing natural backlinks to your website.

 

Copywriting: Many eCommerce store owners ignore copywriting. However, each product page is, in fact, a landing page. And landing pages need copy. You need copy to sell. Most copywriters are also good at writing for SEO as well, which will also benefit your site.

 

Structured Data: While structured data is the last thing you should think about (keywords, titles, content, speed are more important), it’s very relevant for eCommerce websites, as they can help enhance Google results for products.

 
The Top 5 Must-Have Affordable SEO Services for Small Business

 

If it was to draw the line at the most important ones, in general, for all types of websites and businesses, it would be this:

 

Keyword Research: You can’t have an effective SEO strategy without proper keyword research.
Well optimized titles: People ignore the basics more often than you’d think. Make sure your titles are properly optimized.
Google MyBusiness: GMB is a very effective tool and it’s also free. Spend some time optimizing it and it will bring good results.
Copywriting & Blogging: Content is still very important, and copywriting can greatly help you increase sales, which is your goal in the end, isn’t it?
Social Media Posts: Social media can help you promote your website easily, even without paying for it. With a little bit of talent and some knowledge, you can generate decent traffic.

 

However, in some cases, many better others apply. The best thing you can do is get in touch with an independent SEO consultant to get some tips.

 
How to Pick The Right SEO Company to Work With

 

If you’re looking for affordable SEO services, that’s an indication you’re already looking to invest money, so you’re probably looking for an SEO firm.

 

While I can’t provide a list of companies (there are too many factors to take into consideration, such as language, location, type of website and others) I can provide some tips on how to how to find a good one.

 

To be honest, the secret here isn’t finding the best service at the lowest price, but to avoid bad/destructive cheap services. 
Here are some questions you can ask SEO companies to avoid being tricked. 

 

Cheapness and quality is a rare combination, so if you’re on the hunt for it, you have to be very well prepared with knowledge.

 

There are many reasons cheap services can be bad: spinned content, cheap links or PBNs, for example.

 

If an SEO company offers affordable SEO packages on a monthly basis, be suspicious.

 

It’s not that companies that offer packages aren’t good, but it’s a good indication they are automating everything, which leads to patterns, which can lead to penalties.

 

 

You should talk to one of the SEO experts in the company before signing.

 

If you just purchase the package and receive the “SEO audit” via e-mail a few days later, be sure that it was automated.

 

They should be asking questions about your business. How else would they know how to properly promote you if they don’t know anything about you?

 

First, ask them if their strategies are what most search engine marketers would call ‘white hat’ or safe.

 

If the answer is no… I think you know what to do.

 

If the answer is yes, then you should also follow up with these important questions:

 

Do you use Spam?
Do you use PBNs?
Do you use automation tools? If yes, which ones?

 

If the answers to those questions are yes, you might want to avoid the company. Some automation tools, such as ones for e-mail newsletters or for scheduling posts are fine, but others such as scraping content or spinning it are not.

 

Additionally, you should ask the SEO firm:

 

How long have you been working in the field?
Can you give me some examples of websites you’ve optimized before? What strategies have you used on them?
Will a real person perform an audit or at least analyze it?
Who will write the content on my website?
How will we measure the performance of the SEO campaign?
Can you tell me what exactly my money will go to? Will you execute all the work or do you outsource?

 

If you get a competent and clear answer to these questions, it’s a good indication that who you’ll work with knows what they’re doing and are well-intended.

 

Ultimately, it’s up to you who you sign with but, hopefully, by now you have a better understanding of how to choose good affordable SEO services for your small business.

 

What affordable SEO services for small business do you think are the best? Let us know in the comments section.

The post Affordable SEO Services for Small Business – The 2020 List appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Here’s What You Should Do When Your Search Rankings Drop

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Here’s What You Should Do When Your Search Rankings Drop

Here’s What You Should Do When Your Search Rankings Drop

If you’ve ever done SEO, you know how good it feels to see your rankings go up.

You put a ton of hard work into moving up in the SERPs and it finally pays off.

But then the unexpected happens. Your rankings drop.

Few things in SEO are more discouraging than a fall in the rankings. It makes you feel like everything you did was useless.

You wonder what went wrong or if you made a mistake. You beat yourself up for not doing it right.

You’re back to square one again, and you have to start all over.

Or do you?

In my experience, that’s not always the case.

My rankings have dropped more times than I can count. At first, I panicked.

As I learned more, I found out that it’s not the end of the world if you go down a position or two. It’s obviously not ideal, but there’s a lot you can do to fix it.

That’s what I’m going to show you today. Even if your rankings are where you want them to be, you need to be aware of how to bring them back up when they drop (because they will).

Analyze the drop

Before you take action to raise your rankings, you need to track your rankings, ideally on a daily basis so you can see if they are increasing or decreasing.

The reason you want to track your rankings on a daily basis is that Google makes 3200 algorithm changes per year, which is a bit more than 8 algorithm changes per day.

Hence you don’t really have a choice but to track your rankings daily.

So how do you do that?

First, you’ll want to head to the Ubersuggest dashboard and click on “Add Your First Project”.

It’s as simple as adding in your URL.

Then select the locations you do business in and want traffic from.

Then add in the keywords you currently rank for or want to go after.

And of course, set up your traffic preferences. Make sure you select “daily” rank tracking and you turn on mobile rank tracking.

And then you’ll be good to go.

Then you will be notified via email when your rankings go down (or up) as there is no way you are going to have the time to manually check every day.

Or when you log into your Ubersuggest dashboard you’ll see an updated view of your site:

And then when you drill down into your rankings you’ll see a report of what is increasing or decreasing.

Now when looking at your rankings it is normal for them to fluctuate a few spots here or there… but if you see all of your rankings all of a sudden drop, then you know you need to do something.

Did you get penalized?

In most cases, your site has not been penalized and you don’t need to worry about this.

If you didn’t do anything fishy like “buying links” you don’t really need to worry about a penalty.

If you are unsure, read through this list and ask yourself if your site is guilty of any of these SEO sins. If so, identify the problems and take steps to fix them.

Even if you haven’t done anything on that list, you could still have gotten a penalty. Google’s algorithms are updated frequently, and they’re incredibly complex.

They take hundreds of factors into account when considering ranking. One day, your site might not deserve a penalty, and the next, it might.

It’s important to understand the types of penalties: manual and algorithmic.

Source: Slideshare.net

Manual penalties are given out by Google’s webspam team when they get alerted of suspicious activity.

This could be the result of having unnatural links, or someone could have filed a spam report against you.

If you’ve received a manual penalty, you should have gotten a notification in Google Webmaster Tools. Here’s an example of a message about unnatural links:

The other type of penalty is an algorithmic penalty.

These penalties are harder to track because there’s no definitive way of knowing you received one.

To determine if you’ve gotten an algorithmic penalty, you have to understand how Google’s algorithms work.

If you find that you’re doing something an algorithm doesn’t like, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten a penalty. But you also have to think about new penalties.

If your rankings dropped randomly, check Moz’s handy directory of Google’s algorithm updates to see if there’s a new one at work.

A new algorithm could be the reason why you’re seeing lower rankings. If that happens, research the algorithm and find out what it’s penalizing.

One cool way to keep track of new penalties (and a bunch of other Google-related stuff) is to follow Gary Illyes, John Mueller, and Google Webmasters on Twitter.

Gary and John, in particular, give out a ton of awesome advice, and you can often find them talking with other Twitter users.

You can even ask them a question directly and get it answered… you may not get a response, but it is worth a shot.

Do you have link problems?

This is a big one.

Think of links as the currency of SEO. It’s essentially how you “gain” authority.

So it’s no surprise that a strong link profile is correlated with high rankings.

The flipside is that a weak link profile is correlated with low rankings.

I spend lots of time working with clients on SEO, and I’ve seen lots of sites that have numerous link problems.

Usually, the business isn’t aware.

That’s because weak links are the silent killer of SEO. That’s why you need to make sure your link profile is robust.

First, conduct a link audit of your site. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do that.

For the short version, use a backlink analysis tool like SEMrush Backlink Checker to see where your bad links are.

When you find bad links, contact those sites and nicely ask them to remove the link. If that doesn’t work, use Google’s Disavow tool as a last resort.

However, I’ve found that about 90% of the time, conducting a backlink audit will help you find bad links.

But there’s a problem here. Often, the reasons behind link problems aren’t so obvious.

If your link profile looks okay after an audit, there could still be problems. Here are a few of the issues your link profile could be facing.

Losing links

Did you know you can lose links? Both internal and external links?

It could be the cause of your ranking drop as well.

Yep, you can lose internal links even if it’s to content you already own.

Let’s talk about those first.

If you often relaunch, rebrand, or redesign your site, you may lose some links along the way.

Why does this happen?

It has to do with redirects and transitioning your site over smoothly.

Let’s talk about site transitions first. If you deleted an old blog post, then links to that post aren’t going to work. In turn, this will weaken the internal linking structure of your site and compromise your SEO.

You’ll have one less link, which is removing a part of your internal linking network.

This isn’t optimal because it means two things:

You’ll have to fix the linkYou’ll have less content on your site to link to. That’s why I recommend not deleting content unless you absolutely have to. You can always update it.

That’s just one example of a lost link.

Another reason you could lose an internal link is a faulty redirect.

This often happens with 301 redirects. I’ve talked about 301s before, but there’s a unique issue you need to be aware of.

Because a 301 is called a permanent redirect, lots of people assume that the redirect will always work.

But it doesn’t.

Here’s precisely how a 301 redirect works:

If you just set up a new site, you can 301 from the old domain to the new one without a hitch. The issue is when you revamp your site more than once.

That’s because redirects from older versions of a site are rarely passed on to newer ones.

On top of that, if you get a new domain and an older domain expires, it could cause a significant loss in traffic because the 301s will no longer work.

It’s messy.

If you discover a bad 301 giving you problems, you need to fix that.

First, you need to find the target links your 301s are trying to go to.

If those links are dead, you’ll most likely need to remove the link.

You could also put the old content back up or create new content to keep the link on your page. This is a good idea if the page in question gets a lot of traffic.

You need to do what’s best for your visitors. If they’ll miss out on great, comprehensive content, you should make sure that content is still on your site.

You should also check for broken links. You can use a tool like deadlinkchecker.com to do this:

Ideally, you want to see no errors:

But if you do see errors, you’ll be able to see the URLs that aren’t behaving correctly:

But what about outbound links? If you find an outbound link that no longer works, just remove it and replace it by linking to another authority site.

Finally, let’s talk about backlinks you’ve gotten from other sites.

Go here and type in your URL.

If you see your link chart going up and to the right, you are fine. If it is going down, then we have to fix it. For example, using Ubersuggest you can see which sites don’t link to your anymore.

And for those sites, you can use a template like this one to get those links back:

Hi [Name of site owner],

I hope you’re doing well!

You linked to my site a while back, and I want to thank you for that. However, it looks like the link is actually gone.

The link appeared in your [piece of content/page here], but it seems that it’s not there anymore.

Here’s the page on my site you linked to: [Link URL here]

If you could put the link back up, I’d really appreciate it. I’m a big fan of your site, and it’d be my pleasure to return the favor if I can.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Most people will ignore you, but a percentage of the people you email will link back.

Polish up your site

If all else fails, you might need to spend some time improving your site.

I’m talking about design, user experience, and speed. Each of these is integral to a site that performs and ranks well.

I’ll go over each category briefly:

Design

Having a mobile-friendly design is important as there are more searches on mobile devices using Google than there are for desktop.

If you’re not considering mobile users first, you need to start doing that.

Having a mobile-optimized site isn’t as simple as making sure your site is responsive. That’s definitely important, and you should do that, but it’s not enough by itself.

Think about making all of your content mobile-friendly.

There’s one big reason you should focus on this. Google has a mobile-first index. That alone should be more than enough to persuade you to focus on mobile-first design.

You might want to read my article on mobile usability for more information on this.

User experience (UX)

This is another reason why a responsive design is so important.

Your mobile users should have a great experience that’s designed for mobile devices. Similarly, your desktop users should have a great experience that’s designed for desktops.

If your UX is bad either way, you will lose visitors.

If you take a look at the most popular sites in your niche, you’ll notice that 9 times out of 10, they’ll have great UX.

Say you’re in SaaS. Without a doubt, Salesforce is one of the biggest SaaS players in the niche.

And sure enough, their desktop and mobile UX is fantastic.

Desktop:

Mobile:

This is what you should strive for when polishing your own site.

Speed

Search engines (and people) love fast-loading pages. In fact, 47% of customers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.

So if your site speed is longer than 2 seconds, you could lose traffic.

Yikes.

Making your site faster is a long-term strategy. You have to monitor your site and make sure nothing’s dragging it down.

Start by adding compression.

Next, make sure your server has adequate speed. It should be no longer than 200 milliseconds.

You can test your site speed by using Ubersuggest’s “Site Audit” feature. Type in your URL and click “Search.”

From there, click “Site Audit” in the left sidebar and scroll down to “Site Speed.” Here’s what you’ll see:

There are tons of factors that can cause slow site speed, so the best way to prevent slowness is to keep your site as lightweight as possible. And Ubersuggest will break down how to do that and what to fix.

As a rule of thumb, if you have anything unnecessary on your site, remove it so your speed is the best it can be.

Don’t forget about content

Through Ubersuggest we track millions of popular sites around the world to get better data insights on algorithm changes.

We know for certain that 641 sites we track are updating old content on a daily basis.

Can you guess how many of them saw a search traffic dip of 10% or more from the last algorithm update?

Only 38! That’s 5.92%, which is extremely low.

What’s crazy, though, is that 187 sites saw an increase in their search traffic of 10% or more.

So make sure you are keeping your old content up to date. Because why would Google want to rank old, stale content, when they can rank something fresh and useful for people?

Another strategy I love to deploy is to expand my content that is already ranking well.

For example, lets say you rank for the term “digital marketing”.

You’ll want to head to Ubersuggest and type in the phrase “digital marketing”. You’ll see a report that looks like this:

From there in the left navigation bar, click on “keyword ideas”.

You should now see a report that looks like:

This will give you a list of keywords that are similar, longer tail terms that also are searched frequently.

If you rank for the main term, it is easy to also rank for the longer tail terms. So make sure you add the relevant ones to your content.

It may seem tedious, but go through 100s if not 1000s of keywords in the keyword ideas report as it will allow you to get quick traffic gains.

When adding in the new keywords into your content, don’t just stuff them in there. It has to flow naturally and make sense for your website visitor.

And if you can’t make it make sense for a particular keyword, don’t do it… put the user first. Remember you are writing for humans, not Google.

Now the strategy I broke down here may seem simple and silly, but it’s one of the big reasons on why I am getting roughly 9 million visitors a month.

Conclusion

Going down a position or two in the rankings happens to the best of us.

It’s even happened to me.

If this happens, don’t panic.

Almost every client I’ve had who’s experienced a loss of rankings got really scared when it happened.

You probably felt this way too. But you don’t need to worry.

You can easily bounce back from a ranking drop.

Don’t believe me? Give these strategies a try. These aren’t just little tips. They’re tried-and-true methods that will help you reclaim your spot on Google.

No one deserves to lose ranking when they have an amazing site that users love. What’s more, it’s easy to fix.

Don’t let the initial shock stop you from getting your ranking back.

So, when was the last time your rankings dropped?

The post Here’s What You Should Do When Your Search Rankings Drop appeared first on Neil Patel.

China Still Censoring Google, Now Globally

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on China Still Censoring Google, Now Globally

China Still Censoring Google, Now Globally

Google Gets Out of China

In March of 2010 Google announced they would no longer censor their search results for China:

earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong.

While the move was pitched as altruistic, it came only after the state put their thumb on the scales to promote domestic competitor Baidu in part by periodically blocking Google search from working.

The Value of Leaving China

By leaving China on their own accord, Google controlled the narrative for investors. They didn’t “lose” a market, they chose to not operate in a market.

If you are destined to lose due to political interference, you may as well look principled in the process. The idea of staying the course (being highly compromised while also losing) would have lowered Google’s leverage (over publishers and governments) as well as their brand value elsewhere.

Think of how long Google has kept the EU at bay in terms of their anti-competitive practices in search.

Countries like France and Australia are just now beginning to require payment to publishers from Google.

In spite of being in fifth place with about 2% search marketshare in China, one could easily argue that today Google is *still* being censored by China, except now it is global.

Official != Legitimate

Whenever there is a crisis Google has the ability to adjust their news algorithms (and rankings on other sources like YouTube) to prefer authoritative sources. If China lies but gives a direct quote that is an official response which can be reported in the media. Speculating, on the other hand, is not news, and thus is not likely to be done at scale on official sources.

The WHO parroted the official line of the Chinese Communist Party for months before sending in a team to begin investigating the virus which was quietly spreading globally in the background. This is evil (or, more charitably, ill-informed) their advice was:

Tedros said there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade,” and he specifically said that stopping flights and restricting Chinese travel abroad was “counter-productive” to fighting the global spread of the virus.

Evidence is Backward Looking

Promoting “consistent, evidence-based” risk control is utterly stupid because the evidence that you are dead only appears after you die.

It is not a game of 50/50 chance.

One outcome is death. And at the other end of the spectrum you spent $15 needlessly on a facemask.

How lowly must you view the value of a human life to determine a $15 spend on risk mitigation is reckless behavior?

Don’t exceed the global standards based on China’s misinformation. OR ELSE!!!

WHO can hold countries to account when they needlessly exceed these global standards. This is critical to ensuring the international response is evidence-based, measured & balanced to protect human health in ways that are neither over-reactive nor under-reactive.

– Dr Houssin pic.twitter.com/HaRMNXpmOb— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 30, 2020

Evidence is backward looking even if the sources are not lying scum. When lying is vital to maintaining political power many people die while waiting on the true.

Can anyone who followed official anti-warnings get a refund on their death?

Better luck next life?

Evidence

Later, as evidence emerged, we find that wearing a facemask is a great idea, in spite of early media reports they would not help you.
Later, as evidence emerged, we find the WHO sponsored doctors who published studies which showed official Chinese numbers were bogus.
Later, as evidence emerged, we learn that the CCP are lying, jackbooted thugs. They had coronavirus research destroyed, arrested doctors who mentioned the issue, and held secret internal meetings discussing human to human transmission even as the WHO stated the risk was low & there was no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission, so there should be no restrictions on international travel.
Later, as evidence emerged, we find that closing borders is a great idea – even China does it. Of course early media reports were to not be xenophobic or racist and accept this global problem: “Ultimately some pandemic responses will require opening borders, not closing them. At some point the expectation that any area will escape effects of COVID-19 must be abandoned: The disease must be seen as everyone’s problem.”
Later, as evidence emerged, we learn that Taiwan warned the WHO of human to human transmission last December.
Later, as evidence emerged, we learned that WHO representatives Bruce Aylward hung up on a journalist who brought up the topic of Taiwan. This problem got “solved” by the news organization being reprimanded.

‼️WOW‼️ Bruce Aylward/@WHO did an interview with HK’s @rthk_news & when asked about #Taiwan he pretended not to hear the question. The journalist asks again & he hangs up!

She calls back & he said “Well, we’ve already talked about China.”

ENJOY+SHARE THE MADNESS! #CoronaVirus pic.twitter.com/jgpHRVHjNX— Hong Kong World City (@HKWORLDCITY) March 28, 2020

While China’s CCP was lying to the world, the WHO shared appreciation for their commitment to sharing info.

Not Just China

Health officials the world over were guilty of the same sort of “evidence-based” stupidity.

Here is a video from February of NYC health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot advising people to go out and take the subway and live their lives, noting that city preparedness is high, their personal risk is low, and casual contact was not a large risk.

How much of a risk is the new coronavirus to New York City?

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot explains to @InsideCityHall how likely it is to transmit the virus. #NY1Politics pic.twitter.com/mUbU8F0p3N— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) February 7, 2020

You can see the stupidity in the circular logic here: “we also know that if it were likely to be transmitted casually we would be seeing a lot more cases.”

Yes we would!
Or soon would be.
And did.

Time shift that statement a couple months and lawmakers are asking her to be fired.

May you enjoy a happy Lunar New Year:

“We are very clear: We wish New Yorkers a Happy Lunar New Year and we encourage people to spend time with their families and go about their celebration,” Dr. Barbot said.

Later, as evidence emerged, we learn from serological studies that around 24.7% of people in New York City & 14.9% of New York state had antibodies for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

If you are a poor minority you are more likely to die as you have less of a cushion to do things like taking time off work and AVOID TAKING THE SUBWAY.

Thank you Dr. Oxiris Barbot!

“New York politicians are seeking answers on how to handle the growing number of corpses left by the coronavirus pandemic, after dozens of bodies were discovered decomposing in rental trucks outside a Brooklyn funeral home.”
– Ben Chapman, WSJ

Even the New York Times warned against quarantines, virtually guaranteeing the city would get one.

And for a cherry on top of the stupidity cake, New York City only closed their subway system during off hours from 1AM to 5AM for daily cleanings on April 30th, *AFTER* months of letting the virus spread across the city & many blog posts like this one were published. A quarter of their population had to contract the virus before cleaning the subway regularly seemed like a good idea.

We should always in all cases everywhere blindly trust the experts:

just last year, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses . … Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release.

Protecting Yourself from Dr. Oxiris Barbot & the CCP

How many billions of dollars do people spend buying lotto tickets?

A high-quality facemask was a $15 lotto ticket that might save you from death. But buying one was ill-informed & xenophic & antisocial and and and.

Back in January I saw a video on Twitter of a guy walking down the street in Wuhan and then just fall over and die. Upon seeing that, I quickly ordered facemasks for my wife, our babysitter, my wife’s parents, my mom, and my siblings.

My mom thought I was crazy for spending hundreds buying so many masks, but it was a fairly simple calculation. Whatever China was saying was hot garbage as they were literally welding apartment complexes shut.

Ongoing Disinformation Campaign

The CCP accosted doctors who warned of the pending pandemic, locked down millions of people, and held internal briefs about human to human transmission was happening while lying externally about it. China then pushed some garbage about how the US Army created the coronavirus which caused COVID-19, then they both claimed it was racist to state the disease came from China while also claiming it originated in Italy.

That’s the CCP – literally zero shame.

You can be against the jackbooted CCP while not hating Chinese people. I would rather be wrongly called a racist and not die of coronavirus than virtue signal my way to death via Italy’s “Hug a Chinese” day.

As a general rule of thumb, life is more important than the feelz.

My wife took a DNA test and a big part of her ethnic background is Chinese. When she and I are in the Philippines many people think she is a foreigner. When I was walking with my wife in Hong Kong years ago a local street vender started talking to her in Chinese thinking she was a local. And there’s nobody in the world I love more than her, but that does not mean she or I are planning a trip to Wuhan anytime soon or wanted to end up as statistics as a side effect of virtue signaling.

To this day China is using their ability to purchase foreign debts & infrastructure across weaker European countries to push the EU to understate the culpability of the CCP:

“Bowing to heavy pressure from Beijing, European Union officials softened their criticism of China this week in a report documenting how governments push disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents, emails and interviews. Worried about the repercussions, European officials first delayed and then rewrote the document in ways that diluted the focus on China, a vital trading partner … China moved quickly to block the document’s release, and the European Union pulled back. The report had been on the verge of publication, until senior officials ordered revisions to soften the language.”

Maintaining The Illusion of Stability

The doom scenario for China would be one where the disease spread widely across their society while not directly impacting other economies. Currencies float and trade can eventually be re-routed if supply chains are unreliable. If a place where repeated coronavirus outbreaks happen has massive hidden debts in their shadow economy the propped up currency peg would likely fall as those debts go bad and their economy crashes. Hot money has been rushing out of China for years: their companies buying foreign companies, individuals buying foreign real estate, short domain names, Bitcoin, life insurance policies, etc.

China already faced sharp food price inflation last year as African Swine Flu killed a lot of their herd. When people can’t afford to eat they are more likely to push for political change. Hyperinflation is the reciprocal of political stability. Maintaining a stable food supply is a core requirement of staying in power.

Masks might make no difference, but if I spend a fraction of a percent of my income protecting my immediate and extended family even slightly then that is a good investment.

What is the price of a single needless death?

That is the calculation one should use when adopting simple & cheap life changes that can protect their families and society as a whole.

The mainstream media not only downplayed Covid-19 to pitch Trump as xenophobic & neurotic, but after the most important story they got entirely wrong was revealed as the disaster it was, they also warned about the wrong people hoarding much needed supplies.

If people would have rushed to buy masks in January it would have sent the market signal to make more. Virtue signaling was considered more important than life.

Instead of any attempts at truth we got communist-fed false assurances to provide the illusion of stability. Lives lack value when compared against maintaining political power:

In 1989, when Chinese citizens raised a Goddess of Democracy on Tiananmen Square, some pinned their hopes on the People’s Liberation Army: Surely the people’s army would never fire on the people. In fact, PLA soldiers proved quite adept at firing on the people. And to this day Beijing refuses to come clean about how many it killed at Tiananmen.

Communism has always been far more about Lenin than Marx—that is, about getting and holding power, rather than any economic arrangement. And it’s extraordinary how consistent the lies and violence have been across time and geography, given the many different flavors of communism.

Fake News About Fake News

As China was lying to the world, setting hundreds of thousands of people up for death & destroying the global economy, we suggested the problem was not lies from the CCP or the disease that spread globally in part due to their lies, but rather we should fight “fake news”

The rise of “fake news” – including misinformation and inaccurate advice on social media – could make disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic currently spreading in China worse, according to research published on Friday.

The WHO shills for the CCP:

The lengths to which the WHO went to sacrifice its scientific- and health-related mission for political considerations relating to China were at times both absurd and trivial. For example, in the Coronavirus Q&A that was first posted to its website, the WHO maintained multiple versions. The original English language version of the Q&A counseled that there were four common myths about preventing or curing a COVID-19 infection: smoking, wearing multiple masks, taking antibiotics, and traditional herbal remedies. The original Chinese version omitted ‘traditional herbal remedies’ as a myth. Then the WHO took down ‘traditional herbal remedies’ in both languages. Politics over health. Politics over science. At even the smallest, silliest level.

As the WHO praises the CCP we learn fake news is anything which counters the WHO.

德情報局揭秘:習近平親自要求譚德塞壓下疫情訊息

German intelligence agency reveals Xi Jinping personally asked @DrTedros to downplay the severity of the #WuhanPneumonia outbreak in Chinahttps://t.co/PTu3e8mg3B— (@GEthba37Cgks) May 9, 2020

And to protect people globally and fight sources of fake news Google is working with … the WHO:

WHO is also battling misinformation, working with Google to ensure that people get facts from the U.N. health agency first when they search for information about the virus. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tencent and TikTok have also taken steps to limit the spread of misinformation and rumors about the outbreak.

YouTube is also removing medically substantiated content about coronavirus.

Now that the coronavirus is widespread the idea of keeping the economy perpetually shut down with healthy people quarantined is idiotic & runs counter to science. Those who shelter in place have less exposure to viruses and bacteria from their surrounding environment, which over time leads to weakened immune systems. Add to that all sorts of other issues like: doctors and nurses furloughed while hospitals are idled awaiting a pandemic that never came to most places, economic incentives to misclassify deaths as COVID-19 while ignoring other issues, missing routine treatments that would have diagnosed other health issues that are going undiagnosed for months, loss of job, loss of income, loss of purpose/meaning/ability to provide for family, depression, raging alcoholism, increased domestic violence globally & increased divorce rates in China.

Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi expressed concerns about many of the above types of issues (video interview & presentation here) and were swiftly shot down as YouTube pulled the video.

Even the China Uncensored video about the CCP’s coverup has a COVID-19 learn more banner redirecting attention back to official sources if you watch the video on YouTube.

Now there are some horrible and ridiculous official statements being made & a whole bunch of crazies spreading “eat aquarium cleaner, protect yourself from COVID-19.” I even read a story about a guy who committed suicide because he feared he had COVID-19. All that stuff is horrible, but any and all attempts to defuse those horrible issues & clean them up should come with a note about how the CCP lied broadly, extensively, and is to not be trusted in any way, shape or form.

The AP report continues…

Chinese officials are increasingly speaking out.

And so should we! At least while we still can:

Where possible, China wants to criminalize any speech … any social media … that does not follow the official party line. Where it’s not possible to criminalize that speech, China wants to ban it through the cooperative censorship of global tech and media platforms. Where it’s not possible to ban that speech, China wants to shame it into the shadows by getting us to reject it as “fake news”.

And if you don’t see that the United States is about two minutes behind China in doing the same damn thing, then you’re just not paying attention.

And while the WHO has tech companies censor “fake news” the CCP releases puppet theatre cartoons about the coronavirus which has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Once Upon a Virus… pic.twitter.com/FY0svfEKc6— Ambassade de Chine en France (@AmbassadeChine) April 30, 2020

Yes that video is real. And yes, they really are that scummy.

The puppet theatre video makes no mention of police going after doctors for mentioning the virus, Taiwan reporting the virus to the WHO, the WHO ignoring Taiwan, internal briefings to Xi while the public was left in the dark, or any of the other disconnects between inside and outside voices.

The CCP disinformation campaign is widespread. They buy ads for content use cute animals to promote their absolute propaganda:

Anything that diminishes the power and prestige of the CCP is worse than death:

The biggest threat facing the U.S. is not the new virus, but rather right-wing populists who are intent on creating trouble with their strain of political virus.

The above statement only serves to confirm the following:

Communism has always been far more about Lenin than Marx—that is, about getting and holding power, rather than any economic arrangement. And it’s extraordinary how consistent the lies and violence have been across time and geography, given the many different flavors of communism.

Luckily China does not have a monopoly on political cartoons and they have not yet managed to classify the following as some form of fake news or hate speech to be censored.

pic.twitter.com/gcUjnNvZZM— The Laughing Man (@laughingmantwit) May 14, 2020

“This is the Chinese Communist Party, with their callousness, their deceitfulness, their inhumanity, and their disregard for any values. This has come to the forefront. That’s what this pandemic has done. It has exposed to the world exactly who they are, what they are, what they will do and what means they will use to get to the ends they want. … [China’s lap dogs are] a combination of the city of London and Wall Street and global corporatists, and even certain media outlets. … They knew they had community spread no later than the third or fourth week of December 2019. They prosecuted many of the heroes of Wuhan who tried to get word out to their fellow citizens. As you know, they prosecuted Dr. Li [Wenliang, the early whistleblower who died of Covid-19 at the age of 33] and other heroes. And they made them sign rumor mongering confessions, which is one of the worst things you can do in China. … The University of Southampton in the United Kingdom did a study that showed that had they just come forward in the last week of December or the first week of January and admitted that they had human-to-human transmission and community spread that 95 percent of the the deaths, 95 percent of the agony, 95 percent of the economic destruction could have all been avoided. … they were hiding things. They wanted to make sure that nothing came up before they signed the trade deal [January 15, 2020]. They wanted to make sure nothing exposed them during Davos [January 21-24, 2020], where they had organized their biggest contingent ever to Davos. But if Lunar New Year had not been in those weeks, if this had happened in, let’s say, in October or November, we have no earthly idea how long they would have tried to suppress this. … We now know that Xi Jinping took personal responsibility starting on January 6 or 7. We know that the World Health Organization put out its press release on the 9th. Then the tweet on the 14th said that after consultation with China’s Ministry of Health that there is no human-to-human transmission or community spreading. That’s all a lie. We also know they [China] restricted travel shortly thereafter, or in China domestically. But they did not stop traveling throughout the world, particularly to Europe and the United States. … They’re engaged in economic warfare.” – Steve Bannon

Categories: googlepublishing & media

How to Rank For a Keyword for Newbies

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Rank For a Keyword for Newbies

How to Rank For a Keyword for Newbies

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) became the best way to reach a broad audience within the shortest possible time some time back. Even so, it has only recently gained immense popularity among most organizations.

Though several things have changed over the years to suit different technological advancements, following multiple major search algorithm updates, keywords remain one of the primary elements that determine your position on search engines.

Picking the best keyword for a specific business is only half the battle in achieving handsome returns in online marketing. Ranking for the keyword is the most challenging part of your advertising. Thankfully, this is not altogether impossible with the right strategies and tools to guide your choices.

The following are a few guidelines on how to rank for a keyword fast and at the very top of search engines.

Conduct Keyword Research

This is the start of everything.

And also extremely important, so we’ll be spending more time talking about this.

Determine which keyword you want to rank for, and identifying its related keywords to use in the content is the first step of your SEO effort.

Your keywords should be the leading ones used by your target market and be well-aligned with your business values.

Though a particular keyword might be meaningful to you, it might not do much for your rank on search engines. Guesswork will only waste your time and the cash you spend on online marketing.

Refer to the keywords your competitor is ranking for

You can use any tools you like, but here at SEOPressor, we use BiQ’s Rank Intelligence tool to discover our competitors’ ranking keywords.

It’s really simple to use, I just type in the website URL and the tool will run for a few minutes and voila, there’s the list of keywords the website is ranking for.

Which you can then steal, cough, I mean to refer to as your own keywords.

Just type in the website URL of your competitor or the industry’s leading company and let the tool run to get the keywords they’re ranking for. 

Higher search volume, higher competition, go for long-tail keywords

Research for the keyword with just enough search volume for your site so that you make informed decisions.

Some people go for keywords with the highest volume, but these might be too competitive more so for new websites.

You should also ideally start with long-tail keywords, so you build a website’s reputation before moving to short-tail ones as you grow.

Long-tail keywords in short, is keywords specific to your business, or what you’re selling, or the topic you’re talking about, they can be perhaps 3 or 4 words long, they tend to not have explosive search volume, but the search trend is steady and you go for the long and steady win the race kind of strategy.

Using LSIGraph to discover valuable keywords to rank

One of the best tools for your keyword research effort is the free LSIGraph tool.

This tool helps you discover keywords that are related to the one you want to rank for so you can build an outline for your long-form content.

LSIGraph can help you to determine which keywords to target, and what are the closely related keywords that can help you push up the ranking.

Use a Catchy Headline

People nowadays are in a rush.

They want to skim through your article fast to get what exactly you are offering and decide whether or not it is relevant to them.

It is essential to include catchy headlines that will boost the odds of people getting interested in your articles and reading or viewing it.

A research carried out by BuzzSumo concluded that emotional headlines for online articles were the best for driving engagement. If you intent on making your clients curious about your content, go for keywords that induce voyeurism.

The number 10 and list posts in headlines were also proven by the research to be extremely powerful for SEO.

To start, you can head over to Blog Title Generator to insert your keyword, pick if it’s a generic keyword, or is it a brand, or something else. And you’ll be presented with 10 headlines which can serve as your starting point to crafting your own catchy headlines.

Blog Title Generator can instantly generate a list of headlines for your keyword that serves as a good starting point to craft your own catchy headline.

Build Links

Having a varied and strong backlink profiles is one of the ways to push your domain, and serves as a boost to all the keywords you’re trying to rank for.

When someone links to you, it proves to search engines that your content and your domain are authoritative because people will barely link to mediocre sites.

Other than this, people trust sites with backlinks since these show that your content is exceptional enough to be shared with others. This will, in turn, build online traffic to your website and generate a lot of exposure in the right circles.

Building links is, however, not an easy task.

A good way to build your online presence to attract people’s attention to your website and in the way attract some backlinks is by sending out a press release.

At SEOPressor we use MarketersMEDIA. They have great reach to premium news sites like USAToday and Yahoo Finance, the price is not terribly expensive like other famed newswires in the industry, but it gets the job done.

All in all, press releases reach a broad audience within a short time and are among the best choice you have to make a bang for your site online quickly to gain those backlinks.

Repurpose Your Site’s Content

You need not use different types of content to reach clients on different platforms.

You can research on the article that is performing best on one platform then share it on other platforms to reach clients looking for something different. The content can also be linked to each other, voila, backlinks!

You, for instance, can repurpose text contents like a blog post into videos and photos for YouTube and social media platforms.

This is because people on these platforms barely pay attention to long, wordy, thousand words posts.

Videos and photos, on the other hand, can be changed to long text posts and slideshows for the LinkedIn audience.

Google Search Console is the best tool when repurposing your content.

This tool analyses the impressions, traffic amount, and performance of the content on different platforms. This way, you can pick the best articles to repurpose and link to your site to maximize your returns in online marketing.

Do a Competitor Research

To gain insight into what works and does not for your industry, you should know what your competitors are doing.

Researching the content your competitors are using and how well it is working for them is your ideal approach in this case. You can then use your findings to inform what content to steer clear of or replicate then refine to become the best-performing content.

Not everything in your research will be relevant.

Focus on the URLs and domain that competitors are using and how well their title tags apply keyword use. You should also consider what business sizes are ranking best for specific keywords.

If, for example, you are a small brand, it would make little sense to use the same keyword as a huge brand in your field.

Again, for competitor research, BiQ is one of the best tools out there.

This is a suite of tools, including keyword, content, and ranking intelligence and rank tracking of the keywords and content that people in your industry are using. There are different pricing models for BiQ to suit your marketing budget and give you some crucial insight into the elements on which you should center your marketing content.

BiQ has a flexible payment plan that can suit different needs and is also excellent for competitor research.

Pay Attention to the Elements of On-Page SEO

Most online marketers are excessively focused on getting backlinks and drawing traffic to their sites that they forget their on-page SEO.

Once you get relevant traffic to your website, you should know how best to keep them there and convince them to take some desired action. Things like slow-loading pages, broken inbound links, and duplicate content only drive away clients.

To optimize your on-page SEO, use GDoc SEO Assistant.

This is a free writing tool that automatically calculates the SEO score of your article as you write and point out any issues that might affect your on-page optimization.

The tool also guides you on the best way to guarantee that search engines will understand your content better and, in so doing, rank your site high.

Other than that, make sure to link from one post to another.

This is called interlinking and it can make a huge difference in helping the search engine, like Google, to understand your website, as a whole, better. Remember, the better Google can access and understand your website, the bigger chance you have to rank high.

Conclusion

Ranking high on search engines is the only way to actualize profits in the current competitive world of online marketing.

Few people will, after all, proceed to the second and third pages on search engines once they type in their query. If, therefore, your article does not show up within the first pages of search engines, your chances of making profits are significantly low.

Fortunately, the above guidelines will give you the best head start to know the keywords you should use and how best to apply them to optimize your SEO position. Keyword optimization for SEO not only applies to your website but also your social media sites. This way, you are sure to gain your desired position on search engines and social media platforms within the shortest possible time.

Let us know how you like our tips, or if you have your own little tip to rank high, fast. Now, good day and I’ll see you in the next blog post.

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[CASE STUDY] The Best Strategies to Rank Your Content on Google

5 Effective Ways to Drop Your Content Bounce Rate
7 Surprising Results that Actually Affects Google Ranking
Rank Your Content with Not Just One, but Multiple Keywords

How Big Is the Gender Gap Between Men and Women in SEO?

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How Big Is the Gender Gap Between Men and Women in SEO?

How Big Is the Gender Gap Between Men and Women in SEO?

Posted by NicoleDeLeon

To anyone working in SEO, it’s fairly evident that this is a male-dominated industry. Although there are powerful women SEOs in the field (like Moz CEO Sarah Bird, for example), if you glance at a conference speaker lineup or peruse the bylines on search-related blogs, you’ll see that those who identify as female are few and far between. A recent list of the 140 most influential SEOs featured 104 men and just 36 women. 

So how big is the gender gap? And how does it translate to tangible things like pay and job titles? To find out, we mined the data from our State of SEO 2020 survey, which featured 652 SEOs in 51 countries. Here are some of the things we learned.

But first, a mea culpa. If SEOs who identify as women have an uphill climb in this industry, there’s no doubt that female-identifying SEOs of color have a hill that is steeper still. I deeply regret not asking demographic questions on race and ethnicity which would have allowed us to analyze the disparate impacts that bias plays on BIPOC women SEOs. It was a missed opportunity. That said, we are currently running a survey on BIPOC in SEO that aims to cover those issues and more as we continue to take an introspective view of our industry.

Men outnumber women by more than 2 to 1 in SEO

Of the 652 SEOs who participated in the study, 191 identified as women (29.3%) and 446 identified as men (68.4%). Additionally, one identified as non-binary and 14 preferred not to say. Data was collected on a SurveyMonkey form. We reached out to our own database, purchased lists of SEOs around the world, and promoted the survey on social channels for respondents. We offered no compensation or reward for participating. Non-binary, persons who chose not to identify a gender by choosing “preferred not to say”, and SEOs from the African continent were underrepresented mostly due to the outreach database itself. Finally, respondents selecting non-binary and “preferred not to say” were not calculated in the men/women percentages. 

A voluntary survey is not a scientific sampling, but those percentages mesh with previous studies by Moz that found those who identified as women made up 22.7% of SEOs in 2012, 28.2% in 2013, and 30.1% in 2015. In all four studies, men outnumbered women by more than 2 to 1. 

Importantly, the new results suggest the gap hasn’t narrowed over the past five years.

This was not a surprise to many female-identifying SEOs who participated in the study.

“I started out in the SEO industry about 10 years ago. Compared to that, I do see more women at conferences, on online platforms, and in the day-to-day work with clients,” one said. However, she added that she hasn’t seen much progress in the last 5 years. “It’s like we are kind of stuck. I suspect it’s at least partly a visibility issue: Men have been there forever, building their reputation and expertise. It is hard to keep up with that if you had a late start.”

We interviewed more than a dozen female-identifying SEOs, most of whom asked not to be named. Although a few had supportive bosses, clients, colleagues, and mentors along the way, many shared experiences of being passed over for promotions, having to fight to be heard in meetings and, in some cases, being paid less than men for the same work.

“I think you can sum up the SEO industry by looking at speaker panels of all the major conferences. There is no equality. Are you a white male and 50+? You must be an expert! Are you a woman, 40, who’s been doing this since 2004? Oh, honey, go sit down. We have an expert already,” said one woman. She said she spent 13 years at a website development company being “constantly overlooked” before moving to a digital marketing agency where she is respected and valued.

The gender gap is widest in Latin America

Global internet usage has boomed over the past two decades, with more than 59% of the world’s population now online. Although internet penetration is highest in Europe and North America, more than three-quarters of global users live elsewhere. These growing markets are served by robust communities of SEO professionals on every continent.

Our study reached SEOs in 51 countries, which we grouped into 11 large regions. Participation was highest in the U.S. with 269 SEOs responding, but we also surveyed 113 SEOs in Western Europe, 85 in the U.K., 43 in the Eastern Europe/Balkans region, 39 in Australia and New Zealand, 30 in Asia, 21 in Canada, 18 in Scandinavia, 16 in the Middle East, 12 in Central and South America, and 6 in Africa.

We found that the gender gap is most pronounced in Latin America (83.3% who identified as men to 16.7% who identified as women) and Australia/New Zealand (82.1% who identified as men to 17.9% who identified as women). 

The gender gap is least significant in Africa (although with an admittedly very small sample size due to the small number of African SEOs in our database) and Canada (52.6% who identified as men to 47.4% who identified as women). Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-professed feminist who appointed a gender-balanced cabinet, Canada has made gender equality a priority, but progress has been uneven at times. 

When it comes to gender diversity in SEO, the U.S., Asia, and the U.K. all trail behind Europe, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.

Female-identifying SEOs are more likely to freelance and specialize in content

Generally, the three most common career environments for SEOs are serving as an in-house expert at a single company, working in an agency setting, or operating independently as a consultant or freelancer. Each path has its own pros and cons. We found some interesting gender differences in where SEOs are working. 

Male-identifying and female-identifying SEOs are equally likely to work in-house, with about 40% of both genders working inside a single business. And as we discuss below, both genders reported being satisfied with the working conditions and level of support they received in their roles.

Among those who practice their craft externally, men are slightly more likely to work in agencies than women (49.7% vs. 42.5%). 

The biggest gap was among freelancers. Female-identifying SEOs are almost twice as likely to be contractors or freelancers as those who identify as men (17.7% vs. 10.6%). However, it’s unclear if female-identifying SEOs are heading out on their own because they don’t feel they can get a fair shake working for others, or if they’re drawn to the freedom and flexibility of freelance work.

Full-time freelancing has grown steadily across the economic landscape in recent years. It also tends to draw more women than men. Part of the appeal may be flexibility around childcare, but control over income was also a factor for some of the SEOs we interviewed. 

“I think a lot of women choose to do freelance because they want to be paid what they deserve, frankly,” said one 25-year-old female SEO in East Anglia, U.K.

However, another woman who works as an in-house SEO said, “When I got my start in marketing, most of the jobs offered to me were contractor roles, and it wasn’t clear how to become full time. It wasn’t by choice; it was what was available to me.”

Many female-identifying SEOs said it was hard for them to get hired or promoted, even with stellar track records. 

“I’ve seen loudmouth, no-record, no-proof men be hired. It’s absolutely aggravating. At my old company, I was skipped by two men who had half the knowledge for supervisor positions. Each man left within months to different companies to the next title,” said a 41-year-old female SEO in Minnesota. She subsequently changed companies and found a much more welcoming environment.

In addition to career paths, there are noteworthy differences in the areas of the industry that male-identifying and female-identifying SEOs are most likely to specialize in. Most SEOs consider themselves generalists, but among those who profess a specialty, women are twice as likely to be content experts (17.6% to 7.7%).

On the other hand, male-identifying SEOs are nearly twice as likely to be technical experts (21.5% to 12.6%). It’s unclear if this is a result of choice, fallout from the gender gap in STEM occupations generally, or if those who identify as women feel unwelcome among tech SEOs.

Among the female-identifying SEOs we interviewed, several said they think early gender stereotyping played a role, from the toys little boys and girls are given to what each gender is encouraged to pursue as a career.

“It’s similar to why women are not often involved in engineering jobs. Technical roles are historically associated with developer training, and women are more likely to transition from the marketing side than the programming side,” one said.

Several women also said technical SEO, in particular, is a “boys club.” 

“I participate in online forums for general Tech SEO and Women in Tech SEO, and the vibes are much different,” one woman said. “The male-dominated general forums are competitive. The female groups are more supportive, but again, we are trying to bring along and encourage women in the field.”

Another tech SEO who worked at an agency and in-house before going out on her own as a contractor said the culture can be intimidating: “I find that men are quicker to hop on and attack people about technical knowledge than women.”

Female-identifying SEOs generally charge less than men for their services

To find out more about the dollars and cents of SEO, we asked the agency and contract SEOs who participated in our study about their pricing models. In all, 261 SEOs were willing to share how they price their services and how much they charge. 

The three most common pricing models are monthly retainers, per-project pricing, and hourly rates. Although there was a wide range of rates among male-identifyng and female-identifying SEOs, the medians were consistently lower for those who identified as women.  

Among agency and contract SEOs, men are more likely to price their services with monthly retainers (59.1% of men vs. 39.4% of women). Women are more likely to charge per project (31.8% of women vs. 18.2% of men). About a quarter of both groups use hourly pricing.

But before we talk about prices…

Before we get into the details of how much male- and female-identifying SEOs earn, it’s important to note that we didn’t ask who actually set the prices. Depending on the size of an agency, SEOs who work there may have very little control over the pricing structure. 

The agency’s rates might be standard, or they might vary depending on who does the work. One can assume that freelancers choose their own rates, although they might be responding to signals about what the market will bear and what clients are willing to pay. 

Some studies have suggested that a variety of psychosocial factors lead female-identifying freelancers to charge less than their male counterparts. For instance, a Hewlett-Packard study identified a confidence gap in which women tended not to apply for a promotion unless they met all the qualifications, but men would go for it if they met 60 percent of the job requirements. 

Conventional wisdom holds that women are more cooperative and men are more competitive. Whether or not that’s true, men initiate negotiations more readily than women and tend to ask for higher compensation.

In a future study, we will certainly ask who determined the service pricing. For now, we can only report what male-identifying and female-identifying SEOs told us they charge.

Retainers for those who identify as male are 28.6% higher than for those identifying as female

Our respondents included 138 agency and contract SEOs who use monthly retainers as their primary pricing model. These retainers ranged from less than $250 a month to more than $25,000 a month, but overall they were higher for men. At the midpoint of the ranges on our survey, those identifying as male charge a median retainer of $2,250 a month while those identifying as female charge a median of $1,750.

When we looked at agency SEOs and freelancers separately, the median for freelancers was much lower, but it was the same for both genders: $750 a month. However, the sample size was quite small. There were only 19 freelancers in the study who primarily use retainers. Among the 119 agency SEOs who use retainer pricing, the median retainer was $2,250 for those identifying as male and $1,750 for those identifying as female. 

Project prices for men are 66.7% higher than for women

Our respondents included 54 agency and contract SEOs who typically charge on a per-project basis. The scope and cost of projects varied greatly, from less than $250 to more than $100,000. But the data showed that overall, men charge more per project — a median of $5,000 vs. $3,000 for female-identifying SEOs. 

We decided to dig deeper and found an interesting exception when we looked at agency SEOs and freelancers separately. 

The price gap was more than three times as wide among those who work in agencies. Our sample included 36 agency SEOs who use per-project pricing. Male-identifying SEOs reported that their agencies charge a median of $8,750 per project while those who identify as women said their agencies charge a median project fee of $2,250. 

The reverse was true among independent SEOs. The sample size was small, so we’re not sure what to make of it, but among the 18 freelance or contract SEOs we polled who charge by the project, women had the edge. Female-identifying freelancers charge a median fee of $3,750 per project to $1,750 for male freelancers. 

One contractor in her 50s hypothesized: “I think women may be more detail-oriented and spend more time with their project. Maybe men may charge less because they have more clients?”

Median hourly rates for male-identifying SEOs are 16.8% higher than for female-identifying SEOs

Our respondents included 57 agency and contract SEOs who typically bill by the hour. Among this group, the median rate is $125 for male-identifying SEOs vs. $107 for female-identifying SEOs. In this case, the difference is largely attributable to more women working as freelancers. The median rate for men and women SEOs at agencies was $125 an hour, and the median rate for both who work as contract or freelance SEOs was $88 an hour. 

Many of the female-identifying SEOs we interviewed said women tend to undervalue themselves and need to be more assertive in negotiating prices.

“I think confidence and not being scared to charge what you’re worth comes into play for the higher rates,” said digital marketing and content specialist Kristine Strange.

Both men and women feel equally supported as in-house SEOs

Some good news for in-house SEOs: When asked about working conditions, frustrations, and pain points, both men and women had very similar responses. Both reported strong levels of interdepartmental cooperation and support for SEO priorities.

Female-identifying SEOs are slightly more satisfied than male-identifying SEOs with in-house SEO resources

The resources available to in-house SEOs are largely dependent on the size and fiscal health of the company that employs them. 

Among in-house SEOs, women are as likely as men to work for enterprise-level companies. We found that 27.1% of male-identifying in-house SEOs and 24.8% of female-identifying in-house SEOs work for companies with more than 250 employees. And 72.9% of male-identifying and 75.2% of female-identifying SEOs work for companies with 250 or fewer employees. 

In-house SEOs across the board rated engineering support as their biggest challenge. Female-identifying SEOs were generally more satisfied than their male peers with the expertise of their teams and their staffing levels. They were equally satisfied with other elements of their SEO programs.

Conclusion

Although there are some very prominent and talented female-identifying SEOs, they are still underrepresented. And when they do enter the field, they are often compensated at lower rates than men. There is no single solution to broadening the talent pool, but we have a few thoughts.

Welcoming industry: The overwhelming number of  women who spoke to us about these findings wished to remain anonymous. We can only assume that means female-identifying SEOs do not feel safe openly discussing issues of gender within an SEO workplace. Silence only serves to bolster the status quo. We must foster an industry culture that does not punish the whistleblower but instead seeks to listen, understand, grow, and improve opportunities for all its members.

Training and mentoring: More than in many other industries, there isn’t one clear path to becoming an SEO. The STEM fields are one training ground, but many other SEOs learn the craft from mentors. To achieve more diversity, which is good for the industry and outcomes, it’s important for girls and those who identify as girls to be supported and welcomed into STEM classes during their student years. 

As an industry, we need to take the job of mentorship seriously. Experienced SEOs can do more to mentor young talent, particularly those who identify as women. Agencies can do more to recruit and hire people with different backgrounds.

Several women whom we interviewed mentioned the importance of mentors and allies:

“I sit in countless calls where I say something and until my CTO repeats what I say, some clients don’t hear me. My CTO is so supportive and wonderful, and he will literally say, ‘She’s right when she says, ‘Blah.’ She’s got 20 years under her belt… .’ Then their light turns on.”

“I’m good at learning complex software and doing complex technical tasks but wasn’t encouraged in this until my recent job — and even then, it wasn’t until I got a female manager that I was recognized for this ability and assigned those kinds of tasks on a regular basis.”

“I spent the first two years double- and triple-checking all my work, backing everything with links from male experts in the industry. One day the CTO told me I didn’t need to do that. He trusted me. I found myself in the bathroom in tears. It took me a long time to stop sending links. (Sometimes I still send links, but only if I think he needs to read them to keep up with me!)”

Transparency about pay and pricing: The taboo about discussing fees and compensation keeps inequities hidden. It’s time to shatter that norm. Independent SEOs should run their pricing plans by mentors of all genders for perspective. Agencies should be sure that skill and experience, not gender, is the driving factor in pay and pricing. 

Don’t undersell yourself: If negotiation doesn’t come naturally to you, spend extra time preparing proposals. Research your competitors and talk with mentors. Focus on the value you’re adding. Be sure to factor in your skill level and experience as it grows. Don’t fall into the confidence gap trap. Even if you don’t tick all of the boxes, if you have most of the qualifications, forge ahead to apply or submit a proposal.

I want to acknowledge the important role that several female-identifying SEOs played in the making of this article. First, I have the privilege of working with some amazing women every day in my SEO agency. Thanks to Cindy Glover, without whom I could not have produced this study. I also want to thank Areej AbuAli whose work in creating the Women in Tech SEO community has been an invaluable resource to the SEO industry and in particular, SEOs who identify as women. Women in Tech SEO not only helps to amplify the voices of those identifying as women within the community, but also helps connect them to each other.

If you wish to explore your own possible implicit bias around issues of gender and career, check out Harvard’s Gender-Career implicit bias test.

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