How to Remove WordPress Malware From Your Site

Posted by on Sep 17, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Remove WordPress Malware From Your Site

b {font-weight: 700 !important;}

If you own a WordPress website, it’s essential to make sure that it’s well-secured. A vulnerable site will become an easy target for cybercriminals. They can harm your website in many ways, such as infecting it with malware.

Malware can’t be taken lightly as it continues to develop and increase each year. You can take preventive measures from this problem, like updating your site regularly, for instance.

Other than that, you should also equip yourself with WordPress and web-related insights to help you know what’s right for your site. There are plenty of articles and knowledge bases to learn from on the internet, such as HostingWiki.

However, if your website is already infected, don’t panic just yet. This article will explain what malware is, how you can remove it from your site, and prevent future attacks.

What is Malware and Why is It Dangerous?

Malware stands for Malicious Software. As the name implies, it’s a piece of software that is intended to cause harmful effects, such as stealing information or damaging a website.

It takes on many forms, and each can cause a specific problem. Here are several common types of malware that you should look out for:

  • Adware – automatically shows unwanted advertising materials on your site.
  • Spyware – steals sensitive information by gathering data discreetly.
  • Trojans – disguises as real software to trick people into executing a dangerous program. In some cases, it might change your site’s appearance and content spontaneously.
  • Virus – contains malicious code to corrupt files and replicates itself across a site. It usually comes with a sudden rise in server consumption.
  • Ransomware – locks a site until someone paid a specified amount of money.

If your site has one of the symptoms mentioned above, it might be a sign that you are experiencing a malware attack.

Furthermore, it can harm your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking. Google will show a warning message on sites that are considered harmful – including the ones that are infected by malware.

That’s why protecting your WordPress website from malware infection should be nothing less than a priority. It’s also important to know how to remove it, which will be covered next!

How to Remove Malware From Your Site?

Now that you’re familiar with malware let’s get on to the steps of removing it!

Put Your Site in Maintenance Mode

This is to make sure that you’re the only one who has access to the site during the fix-up process. The easiest way to do it is by using a plugin.

One of the most popular plugins for this task is SeedProd. It allows you to create a coming soon page in minutes. You can also customize the page’s fonts, colors, and layout to fit your site’s style. To cap it all off, it provides over 500.000 background images and over 50 themes for you to choose from.

With a visually appealing maintenance page, your site will look more professional. If you’re interested in using the plugin, it’s free to download. For more additional features, you can purchase the basic plan for $29.60/per year.

Perform a Site Backup

It’s essential to back up your files before making any changes so you won’t lose any data if the process doesn’t go as planned. There are several ways to do it.

You can start with your hosting provider. Some providers offer an automatic backup feature, which can be scheduled to daily or monthly based on your hosting plan. Or, you can export the site through a backup plugin.

However, if you lose access to your dashboard, you can try the manual backup through phpMyAdmin. You just need to log in to your hosting panel, then enter your phpMyAdmin dashboard.

Afterward, you can proceed by choosing your database, and click on the Export tab.

Now you can choose the quick option or the custom option. If you want to get a better view of all the data that will be exported, you can pick the custom one. Then, phpMyAdmin will send you the exported database in a .zip file.

Do Some Scanning

When you’re done backing up your data, you can start scanning your site. As a starter, use an anti-malware program – such as Malwarebytes to prevent the malware from spreading to your computer. Scan the exported database as well to make sure that it’s free from the infection.

Aside from scanning your computer, you should scan your website using a site security checker like Virus Total or Quttera. These tools will show you which security issues that your website is facing. It’ll also tell you whether search engines have blacklist your site due to malware.

The tools will also give you some suggestions to increase your site’s security. For example, installing a cloud-based WAF (Web Application Firewall) if your site is vulnerable to website hacks and DDoS attacks.

Change The Passwords of Your Hosting Panel and FTP

It’s essential to change the passwords of your hosting panel and FTP account to prevent malware from taking over your database.

If you’re using cPanel, you can change the account’s password on the Preferences section. Then go to the Files section to find your FTP account and reset the password there as well.

To make things more secure, you can also change the MySQL password by entering the Database section in your panel. Don’t forget to update the password in the wp-config.php file – by using an FTP client like FileZilla. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect the database.

Make sure that the updated passwords contain more than eight words, numbers and special characters – such as exclamation mark (!) or ampersand (&). Then, save it somewhere safe just in case you forget it.

Eliminate Malware Infected Files

This is the most crucial part since you have to remove all the infected files thoroughly. To do that, you should enter the File Manager in your control panel. Then, click on the public_html folder, which contains WordPress installation files.

You will see plenty of files and folders. To check which files that are potentially harmful, you can sort them based on the modification date. If the files show unwanted changes, it might indicate that they have been infected.

To clean the core files, you need to delete everything within the public_html folder. However, you must leave the wp-config.php file and wp-content folder untouched since we’ll deal with them later.

It’s because the wp-config.php file contains essential information, such as the username and password of your WordPress database. The wp-content folder, however, consists of three essential folders: themes, plugins, and uploads.

Now, let’s clean up the wp-config.php file. Open both the file and wp-config-sample.php at the same time. Compare them, and remove any differences by making sure that the wp-config.php file is free from unwanted codes.

How to Remove WordPress Malware

Next, you can fix the wp-content folder. First, check the plugins folder, list all the plugins that you’ve installed, then delete the folder. Then, do the same with the theme folder. Don’t forget to remove the index.php file as well.

Last but not least, you should open the uploads folder and delete all the .php files in it. If there are any unusual files in the folder, you can remove them too.

Download and Install the Latest Version of WordPress

After cleaning your website, you can restore the infected files by installing a brand new WordPress. If your hosting provider has a one-click installer feature, you can install it right from the control panel.

On the other hand, you can do it manually. You just need to download the latest version of WordPress and install it through an FTP client.

When you’re required to create an admin password, it should be different from your previous one. Do make it harder to guess as well, such as adding numbers and special characters.

Re-Install Themes and Plugins

Remember that you’ve deleted the themes and plugins folder? Now is the time to get them back. You can install them one by one by referring to the list you’ve made.

Never upload your old themes and plugins from the exported database – unless you’re totally sure that it’s free from malware. You can use them as a reference to build your customized theme from scratch.

Restore Public Access

Now that your website is finally clean, you can make it open to the public. If you’re using a plugin for showing the maintenance mode page, simply go to the admin dashboard and disable it.

However, it might not be available to the public right away. You can check whether your hosting provider is blocking access to your site. If they are, you can request them to re-scan your website and restore its access afterward.

Show Google that You’re Not Infected

Last but not least, it’s important to remove the warning label from your site so Google can index your website in the search results page.

There are some steps you need to do to recover your site in Google:

  1. Open Google Search Console
  2. Add your website
  3. Open the Security Issues Report, and select Request a Review
  4. When submitting the review, don’t forget to mention what you did to remove policy violation on your site
  5. Once the review is done, you’ll get a notification about the result in your email

How to Protect Your Site From Future Malware Attacks?

Once your website is running normally, you have to make sure that there won’t be any malware attacks harming your website again. Here are some methods that you can do to strengthen your site’s security:

Use a Security Plugin

This is one of the easiest ways to secure your site. Simply go to the WordPress plugin directory, and install a security plugin for extra protection!

Here is a decent security plugin that can protect your site from malware attacks:

  • Wordfence Security – has a scanner that checks core files, themes, and plugins for malware, bad URLs, and code injection. You can also get a real-time firewall rule and updates for malware signature if you purchase the premium plan, which starts from $99 per year.

Don’t Forget to Update

It’s also crucial to keep your WordPress site up-to-date to get the latest security patches. Usually, you will be given a notification if your website needs an update

How to Remove WordPress Malware

Aside from the WordPress update, you should also look out for your themes and plugins. Outdated themes and plugins are potentially vulnerable. You should keep them up-to-date as well by checking the Update tab in the left sidebar of your admin dashboard.

The update page consists of three sections: WordPress, Plugin, and Theme updates. If some of your plugins or themes need an upgrade, tick the boxes next to the plugins or themes, then click the Update buttons.

You can even install an automatic update plugin such as Easy Updates Manager. It will automatically update your WordPress site, themes, and plugins with a single click.

It’ll also automatically backup your site before an update – which is essential if you want to do a major upgrade. You can get the automatic backup feature if you purchase the premium plan, which starts from $29 per year.

Keep in mind that you should check the compatibility of your plugins or themes with WordPress before an update, mainly if your site depends on third-party themes or plugins.

Backup Your Site Regularly

Backing up your site is essential to make sure that you won’t lose all your data if anything terrible happens. Now that you can access your dashboard let’s try to do a backup using a plugin!

There are three kinds of backup that are usually offered, make sure your plugin has three of them:

  • Database backup – lets you only backup the database.
  • Scheduled backup – allows you to schedule a backup so that it can run automatically at a specific time.
  • Complete backup – lets you backup the whole site.

So, which plugin has all three features? Here are some of the best backup plugins on the market:

  • UpdraftPlus – provides complete and scheduled backups on their free plan. You can upgrade it to one of the paid plans which starts from $70 per year. You’ll be given additional features such as advanced reporting and database encryption.
  • BackWPUp – offers database backup, which comes with database optimization. If you want to get additional features such as backup encryption and premium support, you can upgrade to the pro plan, which starts from $69 per year.
  • Duplicator – allows you to manually backup your whole site or parts of the website. However, if you want to do scheduled backups, you’ll need to upgrade it to one of the paid plans which starts at $59 per year.

Ready to Secure Your Site?

Now that you understand how to remove malware infections from your site and how to prevent its attacks in the future. Let’s quickly recap on the steps of malware removal:

  1. Put your site in maintenance mode – you can use a plugin like SeedProd to do the job.
  2. Perform a site backup – if you can’t access your admin dashboard, back up the database via phpMyAdmin.
  3. Do some scanning – use a site security checker like Sucuri Site Check to detect malware infection within your site.
  4. Change hosting panel and FTP passwords – enter your hosting panel and change the passwords for better protection.
  5. Eliminate malware-infected files – clean your public_html folder.
  6. Download and install the latest version of WordPress – restore your site by installing a brand new WordPress.
  7. Re-install themes and plugins – get your themes and plugins back.
  8. Restore public access – disable maintenance mode and ask your hosting provider to open your site for public access.
  9. Show Google that you’re not infected – request a review to Google to remove the warning label on your site.

So, what are you waiting for? Good luck with cleaning up your site!

The post How to Remove WordPress Malware From Your Site appeared first on WP Fix It.

10 Link Building Lies You Must Ignore

Posted by on Sep 16, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Link Building Lies You Must Ignore

Posted by David_Farkas

Even though link building has been a trade for more than a decade, it’s clear that there is still an enormous amount of confusion around it.

Every so often, there is a large kerfuffle. Some of these controversies and arguments arise simply from a necessity to fill a content void, but some of them arise from genuine concern and confusion:

“Don’t ask for links!”

“Stick a fork in it, guest posting is done!”

“Try to avoid link building!”

SEO is an everchanging industry; what worked yesterday might not work today. Google’s personnel doesn’t always help the cause. In fact, they often add fuel to the fire. That’s why I want to play the role of “link building myth-buster” today. I’ve spent over ten years in link building, and I’ve seen it all.

I was around for Penguin, and every iteration since. I was around for the launch of Hummingbird. And I was even around for the Matt Cutts videos.

So, if you’re still confused about link building, read through to have ten of the biggest myths in the business dispelled.

1. If you build it, they will come

There is a notion among many digital marketers and SEOs that if you simply create great content and valuable resources, the users will come to you. If you’re already a widely-recognized brand/website, this can be a true statement. If, however, you are like the vast majority of websites — on the outside looking in — this could be a fatal mindset.

In order to get people to find you, you have to build the roads that will lead them to where you want. This is where link building comes in.

A majority of people searching Google end up clicking on organic results. In fact, for every click on a paid result in Google, there are 11.6 clicks to organic results!

And in order to build your rankings in search engines, you need links.

Which brings me to our second myth around links.

2. You don’t need links to rank

I can’t believe that there are still people who think this in 2019, but there are. That’s why I recently published a case study regarding a project I was working on.

To sum it up briefly, the more authoritative, relevant backlinks I was able to build, the higher the site ranked for its target keywords. This isn’t to say that links are the only factor in Google’s algorithm that matters, but there’s no doubt that a robust and relevant backlink profile goes a long way.

3. Only links with high domain authority matter

As a link builder, you should definitely seek target sites with high metrics. However, they aren’t the only prospects that should matter to you.

Sometimes a low domain authority (DA) might just be an indication that it is a new site. But forget about the metrics for one moment. Along with authority, relevancy matters. If a link prospect is perfectly relevant to your website, but it has a low DA, you should still target it. In fact, most sites that will be so relevant to yours will likely not have the most eye-popping metrics, and that is precisely because they are so niche. But more often than not, relevancy is more important than DA.

When you focus solely on metrics, you will lose out on highly relevant opportunities. A link that sends trust signals is more valuable than a link that has been deemed important by metrics devised by entities other than Google.

Another reason why is because Google’s algorithm looks for diversity in your backlink profile. You might think that a profile with over 100 links, all of which have a 90+ DA would be the aspiration. In fact, Google will look at it as suspect. So while you should absolutely target high DA sites, don’t neglect the “little guys.”

4. You need to build links to your money pages

When I say “money pages,” I mean the pages where you are specifically looking to convert, whether its users into leads or leads into sales.

You would think that if you’re going to put in the effort to build the digital highways that will lead traffic to your website, you would want all of that traffic to find these money pages, right?

In reality, though, you should take the exact opposite approach. First off, approaching sites that are in your niche and asking them to link to your money pages will come off as really spammy/aggressive. You’re shooting yourself in the foot.

But most importantly, these money pages are usually not pages that have the most valuable information. Webmasters are much more likely to link to a page with resourceful information or exquisitely created content, not a page displaying your products or services.

Building links to your linkable assets (more on that in a second) will increase your chances of success and will ultimately raise the profile of your money pages in the long run as well.

5. You have to create the best, most informative linkable asset

If you’re unfamiliar with what a linkable asset is exactly, it’s a page on your website designed specifically to attract links/social shares. Assets can come in many forms: resource pages, funny videos, games, etc.

Of course, linkable assets don’t grow on trees, and the process of coming up with an idea for a valuable linkable asset won’t be easy. This is why some people rely on “the skyscraper technique.” This is when you look at the linkable assets your competitors have created, you choose one, and you simply try to outdo it with something bigger and better.

This isn’t a completely ineffective technique, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to do this.

Linkable assets don’t need to be word-heavy “ultimate guides” or heavily-researched reports. Instead of building something that really only beats your competitor’s word count, do your own research and focus on building an authoritative resource that people in your niche will be interested in.

The value of a linkable asset has much more to do with finding the right angle and the accuracy of the information you’re providing than the amount.

6. The more emails you send, the more links you will get

I know several SEOs who like to cast a wide net — they send out emails to anyone and every one that even has the tiniest bit of relevancy of authority within their niche. It’s an old sales principle: The idea that more conversations will lead to more purchases/conversions. And indeed in sales, this is usually going to be the case. 

In link building? Not so much.

This is because, in link building, your chances of getting someone to link to you are increased when the outreach you send is more thoughtful/personalized. Webmasters pore over emails on top of emails on top of emails, so much so that it’s easy to pass over the generic ones.

They need to be effectively persuaded as to the value of linking to your site. If you choose to send emails to any site with a pulse, you won’t have time to create specific outreach for each valuable target site.

7. The only benefit of link building is algorithmic

As I mentioned earlier, links are fundamental to Google’s algorithm. The more quality backlinks you build, the more likely you are to rank for your target keywords in Google.

This is the modus operandi for link building. But it is not the only reason to build links. In fact, there are several non-algorithmic benefits which link building can provide.

First off, there’s brand visibility. Link building will make you visible not only to Google in the long term but to users in the immediate term. When a user comes upon a resource list with your link, they aren’t thinking about how it benefits your ranking in Google; they just might click your link right then and there.

Link building can also lead to relationship building. Because of link building’s very nature, you will end up conversing with many potential influencers and authority figures within your niche. These conversations don’t have to end as soon as they place your link.

In fact, if the conversations do end there every time, you’re doing marketing wrong. Take advantage of the fact that you have their attention and see what else you can do for each other.

8. You should only pursue exact match anchors

Not all myths are born out of complete and utter fiction. Some myths persist because they have an element of truth to them or they used to be true. The use of exact match anchor text is such a myth.

In the old days of SEO/link building, one of the best ways to get ahead was to use your target keywords/brand name as the anchor text for your backlinks. Keyword stuffing and cloaking were particularly effective as well.

But times have changed in SEO, and I would argue mostly for the better. When Google sees a backlink profile that uses only a couple of variations of anchor text, you are now open to a penalty. It’s now considered spammy. To Google, it does not look like a natural backlink profile.

As such, it’s important to note now that the quality of the link itself is far more important than the anchor text that comes with it.

It really should be out of your hands anyway. When you’re link building the right way, you are working in conjunction with the webmasters who are publishing your link. You do not have 100 percent control of the situation, and the webmaster will frequently end up using the anchor text of their choice.

So sure, you should optimize your internal links with optimized anchor text when possible, but keep in mind that it is best to have diverse anchor text distribution.

9. Link building requires technical abilities

Along with being a link builder, I am also an employer. When hiring other link builders, one skepticism I frequently come across relates to technical skills. Many people who are unfamiliar with link building think that it requires coding or web development ability.

While having such abilities certainly won’t hurt you in your link building endeavors, I’m here to tell you that they aren’t at all necessary. Link building is more about creativity, communication, and strategy than it is knowing how to write a for loop in javascript.

If you have the ability to effectively persuade, create valuable content, or identify trends, you can build links.

10. All follow links provide equal value

Not all links are created equally, and I’m not even talking about the difference between follow links and no-follow links. Indeed, there are distinctions to be made among just follow links.

Let’s take .edu links, for example. These links are some of the most sought after for link builders, as they are thought to carry inordinate power. Let’s say you have two links from the same .edu website. They are both on the same domain, same authority, but they are on different pages. One is on the scholarship page, the other is on a professor’s resource page which has been carefully curated.

They are both do-follow links, so naturally, they should both carry the same weight, right?

Fail. Search engines are smart enough to know the difference between a hard-earned link and a link that just about anyone can submit to.

Along with this, the placement of a link on a page matters. Even if two links are on the exact same page (not just the same domain) a link that is above-the-fold (a link you can see without scrolling) will carry more weight.


Link building and SEO are not rocket science. There’s a lot of confusion out there, thanks mainly to the fact that Google’s standards change rapidly and old habits die hard, and the answers and strategies you seek aren’t always obvious.

That said, the above points are some of the biggest and most pervasive myths in the industry. Hopefully, I was able to clear them up for you.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

The Improved Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool. More Features. Smarter. Simply Better

Posted by on Sep 13, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Improved Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool. More Features. Smarter. Simply Better

We’re proud to share with you what we’ve been working on lately: A brand new improved version of (probably) the best tool in the content optimization field: The Content Optimizer and Keyword Tool. The tool that is perfectly adapted to the digital marketing realities and designed to help you improve what matters most: rankings.


Here, at cognitiveSEO, we like to get things done. We start improving our features and tools soon after we launch them, we constantly fine-tune what’s already implemented and we never settle for less. That’s how we’ve become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement.


Improvement and continuous development sound fantastic, right? But so does waking up early, eating healthy or reading 2 books per month. But until you actually take the first step to do those things – wake up and don’t put your alarm on snooze, choose the salad over the french fries, read the first pages – the gap between knowing what you should do and actually doing it only gets wider.

content optimizer & keyword tool from cognitiveseo


In case you don’t know about the Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool, you can check out the description below. 
For those of you who are already familiar with the tool, you can skip right to the improvements


  1. What Is the Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool?
  2. A More Suitable Name for the Improved Content Optimization Tool

  3. New Metrics for a Better Understanding of Google Search Results

  4. Content & Links Difficulty – Find Out What You Need to Rank to the Top

    1. What Is the Content Difficulty Score?
    2. What Is the Link Difficulty Score? 
  5. Keyword Search Volume & Popularity Over Time

  6. Content Assistant Gets Multiple Features 

  7. Search Intent – Get to Know What the User Wants from the Very Beginning

  8. Mobile & Specific Local Analysis Are Now Available

  9. Improved Overall Algorithm & Better User Experience


1. What Is the Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool? 


Briefly, cognitiveSEO’s Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool is, for the moment, the fastest way to boost your Google rankings


For those of you who haven’t tried cognitiveSEO’s Content Tool yet (the official name of the tool is Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool but most people refer to it as the content tool), please allow us to say a few words about what the tool does.


We created a tool that will help you take full advantage of content as a Google ranking factor. A tool like no other, a tool that understands how the keyword research and search optimization game needs to be played these days. A tool that makes no compromise in terms of quality. A tool that delivers higher rankings & increased organic traffic. 

Below you can see an explanatory video on what our Content Optimize Tool is all about.



This tool is for any marketer, webmaster, SEO Pro, blogger or content writer who needs an app that will actually yield results on a short and long term; a tool that is fully transparent and understands how the SEO landscape has evolved in the last years.


This is NOT just another keyword tool or a Google Keyword Planner alternative. While all the other tools (that we are aware of) stop at giving you keyword suggestions, we go that extra mile: we let you know what to do with those keywords by giving you the exact methodology one should follow to improve their ranks.


You can find here everything you need to know about the tool. Yet, I’d like to present you just two unique features that the tool has:


1. The Content Assistant – the personalized content optimization & content analysis tool that will give you the exact recommendation you should use so that your content will rank the highest. 


We analyze the top ranking pages in Google for the specific keyword you are interested in and, based on a complex semantic algorithm, we let you know how to optimize your content. And which are the exact keywords your content should contain to be as relevant and as optimized as possible.


The tool tells me the exact keywords I should use in my content, highlights the ones I already use and lets me know if there are keywords that I should use more often. In the event of keyword stuffing, the tool will let me know what are the words I overused and which prevent my content from performing as it should.



2. The Content Performance Score – The metric that shows you how well a page is optimized from a content point of view, on a scale from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better optimized and relevant content it is. 


The Content Performance metric is an indicator developed entirely by us, everything from soup to nuts. A lot of Google reverse engineering was involved in this, combining algorithms, ranking signals, content statistics, and concepts such as semantic search, LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), TF*IDF or  topical authority, just to mention a few.


After a keyword research, you get a content performance score for every piece of content you might be interested in, for any keyword or topic.



After we developed the Content Performance Score, we wanted to make sure that there is a connection between Content Performance and Rankings. And, without lingering for too long, we started a massive SERP research on 30,000 keywords trying to identify whether and how content performance influences Google’s top rankings. 

The higher the score on content performance, the more likely a page is to be ranked higher up.


You can check out the full research here



2. A More Suitable Name for the Improved Content Optimization Tool


When it came to our Keyword Tool & Content Assistant, I’m sure you’ve said it and heard it in different ways: the content optimization tool from cognitiveSEO, the content assistant tool or the keyword tool from cognitiveSEO. We don’t mind calling it in different ways; yet, we thought a lot about re-naming the tool so it will be more representative for its main functionality: content optimization.  


cognitiveSEO’s Keyword Tool & Content Assistant now becomes the Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool. 


The same search optimization tool, the same efficiency, now with a slightly different name.
We started with the name change as a prologue. Yet, for the advanced improvements and the brand new features, keep on reading. 


3. New Metrics for a Better Understanding of Google Search Results


Being in the SEO business for a while, we know that digital marketers & SEO Pros need and love metrics. They like to compare sites and keywords to find the best cost-efficient solution, to create reports for clients, to perform in-depth researches and so on. And to perform all these activities they need metrics and numbers they can rely on. Their intuition when it comes to try ranking for a keyword for instance, needs to be backed-up by reliable metrics. And they couldn’t be more right. You cannot start an in-depth analysis without relying on a handful of strong metrics.  


But what metrics should you actually look after? 


Take baseball. Every team has the same definition of success: winning the World Series. This requires one main asset: a good team which is made out of good players. But what makes a player good? Baseball experts used to answer this question with a handful of simple metrics like batting average and runs batted in. Yet, statisticians came up with better, new metrics. They provided teams with the ability to slice their data in new ways, find better ways of defining good players, and thus win more games (I hope you all watched Moneyball).


While we know that all metrics are proxies for what ultimately matters, we know that some metrics are better than others. 


You’re most likely familiar with the metric: keyword difficulty. It is a metric used to determine how difficult it is to rank for a keyword. Assessing keyword difficulty can help you determine whether or not it’s worth investing resources to rank on that specific keyword.  While we know how important this metric is, we are also aware of the fact that sometimes, this metric alone might not be very practical. We don’t claim to have reinvented the SEO and digital marketing metrics; but what we changed is how we look at the data.


We made the keyword difficulty metric more granular by dividing it within two more straightforward and easier to understand metrics: the content difficulty and the link difficulty


4. Content & Links Difficulty – Find Out What You Need to Rank to the Top


What does it take to rank #1 on Google? How many times did you hear that phrase and how many times did you answer with “it depends“?

What we tried to do is to eliminate that “depends” as much as possible and to give you the exact metrics you should follow when it comes to ranking to the very top.


In variable proportions, the two most important Google Ranking Factors are content and links. And this is how we came up with two metrics: Content & Links Difficulty.


content optimizer - understanding the metrics


4.1 What Is the Content Difficulty Score?


The Content Difficulty metric estimates how hard it will be to rank with well optimized content in the top 10 organic results for a given keyword in a given location.


The Content Difficulty is plotted on a scale from 0 to 100. The lower the Content Difficulty score, the easier it is to create content that ranks high. A lower Content Difficulty score means that there is less content competition on this keyword, and a higher chance to improve rankings using content.


content difficulty


And if you are still wondering if content does influence rankings, here’s a quote from Google’s representative, John Mueller. 

“Without well-optimized content, even if you clean up your website, and you fix all of the issues, it still won’t rank high.”
John Mueller SEO John Mueller
Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google

Not only will the tool let you know how easy or difficult it is to rank on a specific keyword from a content point of view, but it will also let you know what content performance score you’d need to win top rankings for that keyword. 


4.2 What Is the Link Difficulty Score?


Links Difficulty estimates how hard it will be to rank in the top 10 organic results for a given keyword in a given location, based on the number & strength of the backlinks that are currently linking to the top URLs ranking for this keyword.


The Links Difficulty is plotted on a scale from 0 to 100. The lower the Links Difficulty score, the easier it is to rank high with backlinks. A lower Links Difficulty score means that there is less competition on this keyword, and a higher chance to improve rankings by getting the recommended number of links.


links difficulty


There is no doubt that the Link Difficulty score is super useful when analyzing the search engine ranking pages or when working on your link building campaign. You want to rank high on a specific keyword, but you need to know what it takes in terms of content and links. And the tool tells you exactly this. But what is even cooler is that the tool gives you the full list of links for any analyzed page. 


link site explorer

Simply click on the number of links for each page or each domain, and you’ll be redirected to the Site Explorer where you’ll get a quick and useful backlink analysis. If you want to check your internal links as well, check our onpage SEO tool


5. Keyword Search Volume & Popularity Over Time – How to Find What the Searchers Are Looking For


The Content Optimizer already gave you info on the number of monthly searches for each analyzed keyword. What we’ve added extra now is the trend of the search query, the popularity of the analyzed keywords. 

You’ll now get: 


  • The Monthly Search Volume – the total number of searches that are performed through Google, on a monthly basis;


  • The Historical Search Trend – the popularity of a keyword in Google Search; It shows the relative interest and trending searches for any given keyword from as early as 2004.


search volume and trends content optimizer


If by now you are still wondering why is this data important, please allow me to offer you an example. 


As you can see in the screenshots below, there are two keywords analyzed: “digital marketing agency chicago” and “marketing agencies in chicago il”.
It happens (quite often unfortunately) for people to start optimizing for different keywords without making a trend or search analysis before. Indeed, in these two cases, the search volume is not very big, yet, consistent enough. Not to mention the trend. “digital marketing agency chicago” is not only searched more on Google within a month, but it also seems to have a growing popularity. On the other hand, “marketing agencies in chicago il” has a lower number of monthly searches but also a descending popularity trend. If you’re a marketing agency from Chicago, Illinois it would be good to rank well on both keywords; yet, it would be wiser to focus on the one with more searches and a growing trend popularity. 


digital marketing agency chicago content optimizer

marketing agencies in chicago il content optimizer


6. Content Assistant Gets Multiple Features 


Leaving modesty aside, you need to know that the Content Assistant tool is one of a kind in the digital marketing field. 

The Content Assistant is now even easier to use, it’s super smart and does most of the job for you.

What you already knew about the tool is that to optimize your content, you just copy-paste a piece of content, start writing a new one or import the content of a page from a URL and the tool tells you the exact keywords you should use in your content, highlights the ones you already use and lets you know if there are keywords that you should use more often. In the event of keyword stuffing, the tool will let you know what are the words you overused and which prevented your content from performing as it should.


Aside all that, allow us to highlight some of the main improvements: 


  • Get the exact questions people are asking on Google, related to your query – you can see what your readers and customers are interested in, and you can answer those questions in your content. This section is also very useful for identifying new content ideas you can write about. 


  • Better content editing features – whether you copy-paste a piece of text, you import a URL or start from scratch, it will be easier for you to edit the content within the tool. 


  • HTML toolbar included – you can edit and format your content just the way you want. You can view your content’s source and you can edit the code behind it directly or you insert pictures, videos, highlight, format or anything you need in terms of content editing. 


  • See the content performance score you should have to rank in top Google results – you will get a content performance score target based on the analysis of the pages that are ranking for the keyword you are optimizing for. 


  • Know your content reading time – you can now see how long it will take your readers to go through the article written by you. 


content asssistant improvements


7. Search Intent – Get to Know What the User Wants from the Very Beginning


Putting it simply, search intent is the why behind a search experience. In other words, why did the person make this search? What was the reason behind it? Do they want to find out something? Do they want to buy something? Do they want to navigate on a specific website?


Knowing the intent of the user is of paramount importance. If the keywords you want to rank for have clear and consistent intent behind them, you can tailor your content format and structure to be the best possible match for that intent. 


Let’s say, for instance, that your search is related to sunglasses. Based on the exact words you use, the search engine might interpret your query as having different intents behind it:


  • informational (if you search for “how to clean polarized sunglasses”);
  • navigational (if you search for the name of a particular brand of sunglasses);
  • transactional (if you search for “buy polarized sunglasses” or “sunglasses on sales”);


But sometimes, figuring out the intent of the user is not that easy. That’s why we fine-tuned our SEO content optimizer tool so you can see from the very beginning what is the search intent for the keyword you want to optimize for. This way, you’ll know exactly what type of content to create for it. 


user search intent cognitiveseo


A search for “how to make tiramisu” will be classified by the tool as being “informational” from a search intent point of view. To rank on this keyword, it’s likely you’re going to need a “how to” type of SEO content or an user guide to draw attention and, given the context, a blog is probably the best type of page to host this content. On the other hand, with a search like “iphone 10 vs samsung galaxy 10”, you would fully expect for the first page of results to be filled with comparative review type pages from specialized review websites.


8. Mobile & Specific Local Analysis Are Now Available


An online presence is highly valuable for every business, no matter if you are located in a single place or have lots of offices around the globe. And search engine optimization should be applied both locally and globally.


Businesses that want to optimize for mobile and local SEO should have all the necessary tools and knowledge to fulfill their goal. Now more than ever, Google is focused on offering a personalized experience for each user, thus local optimization plays a crucial part in the play. Understanding this, we now offer you the possibility of creating the perfectly optimized piece of content at a mobile and local level. Choose the exact location you want to rank on, and see what it takes to rank be in top Google results. 


mobile local content optimizer 


9. Improved Overall Algorithm & Better User Experience


You already know it: today, publishing content is more important than ever. It is the one thing that is going to make the difference in a really hectic noisy market place.

But content marketing doesn’t happen overnight, especially with its continuous reinvention and advancement of technology. You need the right tools to keep up. 


And although the monthly search volume for your query, keyword suggestions filtered by relevancy, number of words, etc. are important metrics for you to follow, they are not enough. 

Do you know how the content of your website actually impacts your search engines’ rankings? Or do you know the exact key elements your content needs to have in order to rank in Google’s top results?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that would tell you the exact things your content is missing to rank in top 10 results?

Good news, we’ve invented that tool and we’ve also improved it: Content Assistant – the personalized content optimization tool that will give you the exact recommendation you should use so that your content will rank the highest.


What was a trendy and efficient technique a couple of months ago, now it might not work anymore as Google have changed their algorithm. This is why we know that in order to have a tool that brings real result we need to keep on improving it. The digital marketing evolves, but so does our tool. 


We’ve updated the complex algorithms that make the Content Optimizer work efficiently .

improved content optimizer

The content performance score is now even more accurate and the keywords suggestions offered by the tool are clutter-free.


Any algorithm has a false positive ratio. Yet, we try to keep that ratio at the lowest possible level. The improved version of the content assistant will offer you zero (or as close to zero as possible) unrelated keyword suggestions or keywords you should focus on. You will now be able to concentrate only on the keywords that will make your relevant content rank in top search result or even in Google’s answer box. 


Keep in mind that the Content Optimizer is a learning machine, based on real-time search results.  It is not just a database, but an instant Google SERP analyzer.  A lot of Google reverse engineering was involved in this, combining advanced algorithms and concepts such as semantic search, LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), TF*IDF or topical authority, just to mention a few.

We hope you’ll enjoy the improvements just as much as we do. If you’re already using the tool, please let us know what you think about the new additions. If you’re new, take the tool for a spin and tell us how you like it. 

The post The Improved Content Optimizer & Keyword Tool. More Features. Smarter. Simply Better appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

WordPress Hack Prevention

Posted by on Sep 13, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress Hack Prevention


Updating everything on WordPress sounds daunting but can be done automatically! Insert this into your wp-config.php:

” define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true ); “

Don’t forget to put this in your functions.php:

” add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ ); ”
” add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ ); “


Simply choose plugins that have at least 40,000 installs and has a rating of at least 4/5. Make sure, however, to see if its latest update is only a few months old; otherwise it’s much easier to hack into.


Make sure none of your users have access to the site that you don’t want. Also delete any old users wherever you can.


File editing through WordPress is a quick and easy way to make edits, but is also rendering your site susceptible to attacks. It’s best to disable this unless you don’t have FTP access by inputting the following into wp-config.php:

” define(‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true); “


You should rename your wp-login.php page so that brute force attacks are practically ineffective. “All in One WP Security” does this for you for free!


This just means you either get a text or email notification sent to you so that nobody can get in unless you let them. You simply have to fill out a verification code sent to you.


Brute force attacks commonly use the username “Admin” to get into your site. Simply rename it so they have no extra way to get in.


SSL’s really simple to setup as long as you have a CloudFlare account and you have your DNS pointed there. Many hosting services are also starting to provide a free SSL to boot.


“All in One WP Security” does this for you too! If a hacker has too many wrong answers when trying to login, they’ll be locked out for a certain period of time.


WordPress databases almost always start with “wp-“. Much like “wp-login” and “admin”, this makes your site easier to hack. Just rename it to something else through your hosting control panel.


Do this for free using the plugin “BackWPUp”!

September SEO Updates – Has Google gone too far with ads placed on the SERP?

Posted by on Sep 13, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on September SEO Updates – Has Google gone too far with ads placed on the SERP?

September SEO Updates

  1. Algorithm Updates
  2. Google Announcements
  3. SERP Updates
  4. Local SEO and Google Maps Update
  5. Other Interesting News

Welcome to a new month! Hope you’ve been enjoying our weekly updates and would look to hear your thoughts on the series so far. Leave us a message below even if it’s just a HELLO!

Now let’s jump right in to see what’s happening in the SEO industry this week.

Algorithm Updates

04/9/2019 – Suspected link quality updates by the Mary Haynes team.

SEO expert Mary Haynes observed a spike in organic traffic for sites that has previously disavowed bad links following the team’s suggestion. While the opposite happens to some of the sites who did not follow through with the same advice.

Though it is still too early to be sure, the team advise webmasters to review their backlink profile and disavow any bad links in the case that organic traffic starts dropping last week.

They recall that John Mueller from Google affirms the usefulness of disavowing bad links and maintaining a clean and organic backlink profile earlier this year.

To quote Mueller: “So it’s something where our algorithms when we look at it and they see, oh, there are a bunch of really bad links here. Then maybe they’ll be a bit more cautious with regards to the links in general for the website. So if you clean that up, then the algorithms look at it and say, oh, there’s– there’s kind of– it’s OK. It’s not bad.”

Google Announcements

9/9/2019 – Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines gets Updated on September 5th

Google has updated the Google Search Quality Rater Guideline handbook on September 5th – that is four months after it has last updated the guidelines on May 16, 2019.

The live guideline document is now one page thicker than last time at 167 pages, and you can read the full document here.

But long things short – here’s everything you need to know about the changes in Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines updates:

1. Google has placed a huge emphasis on Original Content

In several places, the QRG has changed to emphasize the importance of having original content.

This correlates with one of Amit Singhal’s 23 questions on Google Webmaster that concerns a site’s quality, which is:

Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research or original analysis?

Quality Rater Guidelines for news

2. Google sees the use of Original Images and Videos as a Sign of High Quality

In the “Very High-Quality Main Content” section, it reads:

Currently, a search query of “natural cancer cures food” displays different results on Google whereby Google search shows trusted websites like Healthline and WebMD while the same query on image search shows more alternative health websites.

Based on this update, it would seem that moving forward that Google will most likely start applying E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) filters to an image search for YMYL queries.

3. Clarification on what YMYL – Your Money Your Life – means

Google also made a few clarifications on YMYL pages, describing them as “type of pages or topics that could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety.”

There’s also differences in terms of YMYL examples and one important info for shopping/ transactional websites:


This statement may possibly show that Google will put more emphasis on reviews that come from actual users of your products.

12/9/2019 – Google adds two new link attributes – “sponsored” and “ugc”

BIG News. Google yesterday has revealed two new link attributes – rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc” in addition to the rel=”nofollow” link that was introduced in 2005.

Here’s the description for each link attribute:

Google new link attributes

Basically, the two new link attributes serve further clarity to the rel=”nofollow” link attribute that lets Google identify if the content is a paid placement or user-generated content. But what, we SEOs don’t understand is why?

More specifically, we don’t understand what are the incentives for making these changes in the site, and it most certainly did not help when Danny Sullivan added that it is perfectly fine to leave your nofollowed links as they are and just ignore the two new options.

So, in most cases, nothing has changed. Still, SEOs speculates that the most important part of the whole announcement is not adding the new link attributes but that Google is treating rel=”nofollow” as a hint now, which might be taken into consideration.

SERP Updates

05/09/2019 – With mobile first indexing, Google more likely to show the M-DOT version of your website on desktop search

John Mueller from Google touched on the topic of M-DOT sites on this week’s Google webmaster hangout video.

He phrased it as an “unstable situation” where sites having mobile first indexing may be shown their M-DOT site, even when the search is done on desktop and not mobile.

To fix that, Mueller suggests redirecting desktop users to the correct desktop site, so Google can better understand the situation in the case they didn’t catch it at first.

At the end of the day, Google still recommends adopting responsive design to handle desktop and mobile users.

Here’s the video of Mueller discussing the issue.

Local SEO and Google Maps Update

05/09/2019 – Google My Business retiring distance-based service area

Previously, business owners can set a service area based on a distance around their physical location. But now, Google is retiring that option and business owners will have to choose a closest named area instead.

Listings still using the distance based service area will be automatically converted to the closest named areas.

The move of retiring the distance based area was started since last November, so business owners are actually given ample time to edit and update their GMB listing.

Nevertheless, Google will be sending out notification emails about the change.

Other Interesting News

04/09/2019 – All is fair game in Google Ads

Base Camp CEO Jason Fried tweeted his dismay on having to compete for his own company name for SERP real estate.

Making users scroll through not one not two but four paid ads before getting to the company website they are specifically searching for is probably stretching the term – efficient user experience.

Though we understand that such ads are handled by the GoogleAds team, it’s still disheartening seeing companies having to compete for their own brand name. Though easily solved with some dollar bills.

The GoogleAds team did try to offer an olive branch, but it only fuels more witty pokes from the enraged.

Fair game the big G said.

06/09/2019 – Google adds new structured data documentation for movie

New structured data incoming! Google is constantly pushing for the implementation of structured data and also keen on providing tools and new markups to help webmasters to get a little bit more edge in the SERP.

They announced the new markup via Twitter, check out the documentation here if you’re interested.

float: left;
margin: 0;
width: 100%;
max-width: 654px;
height: 100%;
#optin-template-3 .container{
float: left;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
text-align: center;
background: #fff;
border: 0px solid #4a78bd;
padding-bottom: 16px;
#optin-template-3 .top-row{
display: inline-block;
width: 88%;
padding: 3% 6% 0%;
#optin-template-3 .top-row h2{
margin: 5px 0 0;
font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
font-weight: 600;
text-align: center;
padding:0px 0px 5px;
#optin-template-3 .left-column{
display: inline-block;
width: 100%;
max-width: 270px;
min-width: 270px;
height: 100%;
vertical-align: top;
padding-top: 32px;
#optin-template-3 .ebook-img{
width: 100%;
height: 330px;
background: url(;
background-size: cover;
#optin-template-3 .right-column{
display: inline-block;
width: 60%;
min-width: 250px;
max-width: 305px;
padding: 24px 4% 32px;
#optin-template-3 .bodycopy ul{
text-align: left;
padding-left: 0;
#optin-template-3 .bodycopy ul li{
font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
margin-left: 20px;
#optin-template-3 .optIn-form{
display: block;
bottom: 0;
#optin-template-3 .email{
display: block;
width: 100%;
border: 0;
padding: 8px 0;
font-size: 18px;
text-align: center;
border: 1px solid #4a78bd;
#optin-template-3 .submit-button{
display: block;
margin-top: 4%;
width: 100%;
padding: 8px 0;
font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
font-weight: 400;
color: #fff;
background: #4a78bd;
font-size: 21px;
border: 0;
outline: 1px solid #4a78bd;
cursor: pointer;

Best Strategy To Rank Your Content On Google

  • 3 In-Depth Research On Ways To Get Ranked On Google
  • 5 Effective Ways To Drop Your Bounce Rate
  • 7 Unexpected Results From The Case Studies
  • Rank Your Content With Not Just One, But Multiple Keywords
  • Best Practice To Bring Back Your Lost Traffic

The Ultimate Guide To LinkedIn B2B Marketing Strategies

Posted by on Sep 13, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Ultimate Guide To LinkedIn B2B Marketing Strategies

The Ultimate Guide To LinkedIn B2B Marketing Strategies

The Ultimate Guide To LinkedIn B2B Marketing Strategies

Why you need to be on LinkedIn for your B2B business

If you own a B2B business, you need to be on linkedIn, here’s why.


Every single second you spent reading this line, there is one new account being created on LinkedIn.

It is a rapidly growing platform that has huge potential, potential to bring you more customers.

You might think why do I need LinkedIn? I’m not looking for a job, I’m not looking for someone to work for me either.

Here’s the point that you miss, realized how you said job and work automatically when you mention LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is widely viewed as a platform for jobs, for professionals. When you’re running a B2B business, who’s your customer? Other businesses of course and people in those other businesses ARE professionals.

Professionals who most probably has their own LinkedIn account.

Forget Facebook, forget Twitter, LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than either of those platforms.

What’s more, those leads will be the kind of people you want. People in a business or in a position where they can say, hey there’s this product I saw on LinkedIn that might be useful for our company. Leads that can actually convert.

50% of LinkedIn members are the decision makers of their company. They hold the power and is at the position where they can actually buy your product or service for company use.

If this can’t convince you enough I have more stats coming in.

LinkedIn generated leads for 59% of B2B marketers and not only that, 38% of them also generated revenue.

Marketers are saying they got real leads, real customers and real revenue from LinkedIn.

You can get em too.

How to get on LinkedIn and get those leads coming in

If you already have a LinkedIn account, that’s great! You already nailed the first step.

Make sure you set up a personal profile that is up to date.

Now I’m sure LinkedIn will guide you through all the jazz. Adding a profile picture, adding your alma mater, adding connections et cetera.

Those are all good, follow all those steps to make your profile look like someone living and breathing and EAGER is actually behind the profile. Don’t look like a half-finished profile that probably hasn’t been logging in since the day it was created, we don’t want that, no one wants that.

Having a personal account is not enough, it is only the very first step. What you need to set up next is your company account.

Set up your company page. After following all the guidance from LinkedIn in filling up your business profile, here are some extra tips.


You need keywords in your company profile. Now now, keyword is not some fancy SEO magic that can only be accomplished by gathering moondust and phoenix feather in the cauldron and stir it anti-clockwise for 3 and a half circles.

What is your business?

Where is your business?

How can you help your customers?

Answer those 3 questions, and you get your keywords. Think of it from your customer’s point of view, what will they type into the search bar when they want to find your business?

Make sure you answered these 3 questions in the first TEN ish lines, cause that’s how much everyone can see without expanding the box. Also while you’re at it, make sure they will want to expand that box, because that is where they can see the link to your company homepage.

LinkedIn only shows the first ten-ish lines before clicking on expanding, so fit in your important stuff there.

Pretty much like Facebook, you can publish posts on your company page.

Use keyword driven, and relevant content that addresses the pain points of your targeted audiences.


Use tools like LSIGraph to get keywords that can fit in naturally to your profile.


Now that you have your business page on LinkedIn, you can and should go ahead follow the company page.

Not only that, you can also connect to your company page by adding it in your Experience tap saying this is the company you’re currently working for.

Here is one important tip to get a wider connections web. Ask all your employees or co-workers to follow these two steps. That is follow the company page and list it as your current employer.

What this does is, you’re basically amplifying your existence on the platform.

Every employee is a connection to your business, and every one of them has their own connections that will be looking at your employee’s profile page and see that oh, ok this is the company he or she is working at.

They might be curious and click it and be lead to your company page. Again, they might look at the page and think, well, this seems like a nice company that has useful and professionals posts that can help my own professional life, and they might click follow.

You see, by simply having someone list your company in their profile, they are endorsing you to their own connections. On the other end, you’re endorsing them too, you’re telling everyone on the platform that this is your employee.

Add your company to your experience tab and encourage your employees to do the same to amplify your business network.

So, people who are interested in your business, they might be intimidated to just go ahead and interact with you directly, they might find one of your employees and look at their profile first.

You want to be building a network, a map where people has an easy access to find you, your business, or anyone who works for you.


The most important part of your business’s online presence is probably your website homepage. Link that on your LinkedIn business profile.

Don’t forget to boost your LinkedIn page on your company website too. Create a little follow button to encourage your visitors to go ahead and follow your LinkedIn page.

If your company website runs a blog, link those blog posts on your LinkedIn page too.

Post a little sneak peek on your post then link them back to your blog for the full thing. Or if you like, create original content to post on your LinkedIn page, then link them back to some related blog posts for further reading.

The thing is, treat your company page, not like a homepage, you already got your website for that. Instead, you want to treat it like a landing page and a navigation page.

Consistently update your company page and link out to your website for more valuable articles or informational pieces. That way you can broaden your exposure while maintaining an active page at the same time.

Bring your content marketing right into your LinkedIn page

When someone logged into LinkedIn, they’re logging in as a professional. Not a mom checking out how her son is doing at the college town, but as a career woman, eager for some professional advice or leader insights on an industrial problem.


Your content works for you even when youre not, and LinkedIn is a great platform to let your content work.

LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, that’s why we have decided that you need a LinkedIn presence for your B2B business at the first place right?

So how can you translate this into your content marketing strategies?

One rule, keep it professional.

On LinkedIn, more than any other place, you need to post contents that are focused, informative and insightful. You may crack a joke and use a meme on Twitter, but please refrain on LinkedIn.


I know we talked about how 50% of LinkedIn members are positioned high enough to be decision makers in their company. But in smaller companies, the line may be blurred.

Professionals holding different positions in the company have different concerns when they’re looking for purchasing a B2B service or product.

Many transactions, in fact, most in B2B, don’t have a single buyer. For that reason, one piece of content might do a great job of reaching one person, while not performing well with other decision makers. This is why we need an overlapping persona analysis when building out content. — Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz, Moz

What you need to do is this, think hard and long on who you want to be targeting. In your industry, your niche, who will be the one making the decision on a purchase? What will be their concern?

You need to address their concerns, from the developer’s to the board member’s, and tell them the exact outcome that concerns them IF they buy your product.

This is why, when you’re planning a buyer persona you also need to check for overlapping personas. You want to be able to appeal to, and impress these people of different levels that they need your product and how it will benefit the company as a whole.


Professionals are so busy all the time, why would they want to read my thousand words content? They won’t if it’s irrelevant.

The thing is, they are professionals, they already know a lot about what they need to know.

But, stay with me, if you can tell them MORE about something they already know, you’ll be getting their attention. And things like that can’t be done in a hundred words.

So long form contents, in this case, is really more in depth and detailed contents. Case studies are especially always a welcomed sight.

New data and new case studies are the kinds of long-form content that provide values to someone who is already a veteran in a field.

What’s more, your own service and own product is the perfect tool to create such kind of long-form contents.

That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone by creating valuable long-form content and showcasing your product at the same time.


Posts with images have six times the engagement compared to a post made up of only text, while posts with video got 3 times the links compared to your good old text post.

There’s nothing wrong with text posts, I’m saying you can make them even better by sprinkling in an image here and there.

Images can actually be useful in a couple of ways. Use an image to summarize the points, draw attention to a certain point, evoke emotions, present data and more.

The most important role of images when you’re creating an in-depth, long-form content is really to show the readers, how things are.


Link your audience to the post back at your website and attract them using images.

Especially when you’re making a case study, showing them directly what happened is the most straightforward way to showcase your project.

Your readers will also be more interested in looking at the situation first hand instead of trying to imagine what it’s like by piecing together the words you’re weaving.

Reaching your audience on LinkedIn

Now that you know why you need to be on LinkedIn for your B2B content marketing, you know what kind of content you need to make it work, the most important question is, how can you reach all those powerful LinkedIn users and turn them into leads and finally convert them into customers?

Now let’s start with the first step, looking for those who fit into your targeted persona.


One strength of LinkedIn is how their search bar functions, you can filter your search by location, companies they have served, or currently employed, the industry they’re working in, and their profile language.

And that’s only for a free profile if you upgrade to one of their premium plans you can further filter your search to look for those who fit your targeted persona the most, like what positions they held in their company.

No other social sites let you search for users this way, this is a powerful tool for you to identify your potential leads.

LinkedIn has a search filter system that is perfect to look for your potential customers.

Once you have found them, them as in your potential leads, you can ask to connect with them directly.

Your connections are automatically served their connections, which in this case, your posts on their LinkedIn homepage.

Some people don’t welcome connecting with people they don’t know though, so here comes the second way.


There are hundreds of groups on LinkedIn where conversations and discussions go on for days.

Find groups that are relevant to your business and start mingling with other members to establish yourself and build a bigger network.

Look for groups specific of your niche, and don’t just join any groups, you want to make sure they are active groups, where the members are actually checking in and engaging with each other.

Join one, or a few, if you’d like. Join their conversations, mingle with the other members. Now you can start filtering members who has the potential to be your prospects.

Since you’re active in the same group as them and have probably interacted with them a couple of times, they are more willing to accept your invitation to connect.


Now, you have your optimized profiles, you have your optimized content, and your prospects in your connection. Paired with a consistent update and effort you can start seeing those leads trickling in.

float: left;
margin: 0;
width: 100%;
max-width: 654px;
height: 100%;
#optin-template-3 .container{
float: left;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
text-align: center;
background: #fff;
border: 0px solid #795548;
padding-bottom: 16px;
#optin-template-3 .top-row{
display: inline-block;
width: 88%;
padding: 3% 6% 0%;
#optin-template-3 .top-row h2{
margin: 5px 0 0;
font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
font-weight: 600;
text-align: center;
padding:0px 0px 5px;
#optin-template-3 .left-column{
display: inline-block;
width: 100%;
max-width: 270px;
min-width: 270px;
height: 100%;
vertical-align: top;
padding-top: 32px;
#optin-template-3 .ebook-img{
width: 100%;
height: 280px;
background: url(;
background-size: cover;
#optin-template-3 .right-column{
display: inline-block;
width: 60%;
min-width: 250px;
max-width: 305px;
padding: 24px 4% 32px;
#optin-template-3 .bodycopy ul{
text-align: left;
padding-left: 0;
#optin-template-3 .bodycopy ul li{
font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
margin-left: 20px;
#optin-template-3 .optIn-form{
display: block;
bottom: 0;
#optin-template-3 .email{
display: block;
width: 100%;
border: 0;
padding: 8px 0;
font-size: 18px;
text-align: center;
border: 1px solid #795548;
#optin-template-3 .submit-button{
display: block;
margin-top: 4%;
width: 100%;
padding: 8px 0;
font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
font-weight: 400;
color: #fff;
background: #795548;
font-size: 21px;
border: 0;
outline: 1px solid #795548;
cursor: pointer;

Platform Analysis: Breaking Down The Social Media Big Six

We did the research on the 6 most popular social media platforms so you don’t have to!
Read the detailed overview.
Match it to the type of business you’re running.
Discover which fits best!


Use Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines To Assess Site Quality

Posted by on Sep 12, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Use Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines To Assess Site Quality

What are Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines?  

To make sure that Google’s search engine is returning the right answers, Google regularly uses human contractors to evaluate search results to make sure that the latest algorithm is returning the kind of results they want. Google’s Quality Evaluator Guidelines are the instructions that they give these evaluators.


How can Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines be used to help websites?  

The guidelines that Google gives Quality Evaluators give us insight into what Google is aiming for. Even if Quality Evaluators don’t visit the site, meeting these criteria will help organisations match what Google believes is a good quality website. Jennifer Slegg’s piece does a good job of detailing the 2019 update to the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

We’ve created a checklist that distills Google’s Quality Evaluator Guidelines and aims to give us more information to succeed in search.

This post and accompanying checklist will allow you to:

  1. Gain insight into what a website and organisation is doing well and could be doing better, in terms of facilitating a good user experience and the creation of quality content.
  2. Provide a platform for a website to perform well in search, by aligning with Google’s perceived quality attributes.
  3. Get internal buy in. The checklist is consistent, independent, quantifiable and based on Google’s guidelines. It could be filled out by internal teams or used as part of user testing.
  4. Make sure content is optimised for launch. The checklist can be used for internal stakeholders to go through before publishing new content, website features or most things that could impact the UX of a website and content quality.


Creating the checklist

We took Google’s 164 page Search Quality Evaluator documentation, Distilled’s previous Panda survey and Google’s guide to building high quality websites and condensed it down to the 10 most important topics. 

We then took the questions that Google is trying to answer in each topic and turned them into Pass/Fail items in our survey.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the principle of what Google believes constitutes a high quality website hasn’t changed too much throughout the years, although the qualifying criteria have certainly become more robust. 

Weighting of questions

We decided how important a question should be based on wording in Google’s documentation.

For example, Google rates pages “lowest quality” if there is intent to deceive users or search engines. 

Under section 7.6 Pages that Potentially Deceive Users, Google writes:

“We will consider a page to be “deceptive” if it may deceive users or trick search engines. All deceptive pages should be rated Lowest”

Google then goes on to describe misleading titles as a form of deception.

Section 7.6.1 Deceptive Page Purpose:

“A webpage with a misleading title or a title that has nothing to do with the content on the page. Users who come to the page expecting content related to the title will feel tricked or deceived”.

As a result of this wording in Google’s documentation, where they deem deception to be indicative of “lowest quality” pages, we have assigned strong relative importance to questions that pertain to deception. 

If your site fails the question below, it will fail that entire portion of the checklist, because of the importance that Google has placed on accurate titles.

Does the title in Google Search accurately describe the topic of the page?

How to use the checklist 

Pagetype questions

When you are filling out the checklist, there are some questions which should be asked about multiple different types of pages. The page types include:

  • Homepage
  • Product pages
  • Blog pages 

Applying topics to different page types will give a broader view of the overall UX and content quality and help pinpoint strengths and weaknesses.  

Of course, some page types may not be relevant to an organisation. For instance, publications don’t have product pages, so asking questions about a product page is not applicable.

Sitewide questions

Over the last year or so Google has really focussed on the profile of organisations and content authors in their search algorithms, with August’s 2018 medic update being of particular note.

The E-A-T (Expertise, Trustworthiness and Authoritativeness) of organisations and content creators is seen by Google to be indicative of quality and value. Importantly, Google places more weight on the external evidence of E-A-T, rather than an organisations’ or content creators’ self-endorsement. 

We’ve created specific questions that focus on identifying external reputation, with the idea that external reputation represents the potential E-A-T of a website.

We also created questions that focussed on more hygiene aspects of a website, specifically the adequacy of information on a business/content creators and how the design of a website affects the overall UX.

How you would use insight gained from the checklist

There could be many actions that could be taken from the checklist. Some insights we’ve provided for clients when running our checklist include:

Customer concerns/complaints on third party websites

External reputation information of a brand is important for both Google and users. 

So by identifying negative sentiment towards a brand and/or product on an influential industry related website, we convinced our client to not only review concerns on said website, but commission an off site review investigation for many other related websites.  

Content creators lacking perceived expertise

Google says that the E-A-T of content creators is indicative of content quality. Our checklist highlighted that content creators, despite being experienced within the vertical they work in, didn’t have an online presence. 

The outcome of this insight was to plan guest writing opportunities on industry publications to enhance employees perceived expertise.

Lack of information on content creators 

Users want to learn more about and validate the legitimacy of content creators. Our checklist highlighted that individual content creators didn’t have bio pages. 

The outcomes of this insight was to develop individual bio pages, with information on their experience and expertise.  

Product page insights

Some common insights include:

  1. Not fully understanding the purpose and/or benefits of a product: often a common issue on B2B websites, this can be the result of jargon heavy content, long-winded descriptions that don’t make the benefits clear, or a lack of FAQ’s.  
  2. Page design: content is sometimes difficult to digest. This can be the result of bunched up blocks of text, blurry or broken images, or key content placed near the bottom of the page.

Blog page insights

If executed properly, an organisation’s blog is key in driving top of the funnel traffic. This checklist highlights areas such as:

  1. Inaccurate headlines:  users need to have an accurate  understanding and expectation of the benefits/knowledge they could gain by reading a blog post. We certainly don’t want to mislead readers in any form.
  2. Fact validation: to enhance the authority of your content, you should link to reputable third party sites to validate facts when possible and appropriate.
  3. Unique content: create more in depth and potentially data driven pieces of content to encourage bookmarking/sharing.

The 10 questionnaire topics and what they mean

Does [PAGE TYPE] have a beneficial purpose?

The goal of page quality rating is to evaluate how well a page achieves its purpose and objectives. The way a page is measured on “beneficial purpose” is dependant on the page type.

Under section 2.2, What is the Purpose of a Webpage? Google writes:

“As long as the page is created to help users, we will not consider any particular page purpose or type to be higher quality than another.”

For example, the purpose of a product page is to inform the user about the product, such as the features and benefits of the product. 

If a product page fails to achieve this objective then it lacks a beneficial purpose and would be considered a low quality page and in theory not perform well in search results.

Is the main content on the [PAGE TYPE] created with substantial effort, time and talent/skill?  

Google needs to understand whether content provides enough informative, unique information, to be deemed high quality.

Under section 5.1, Very High Quality MC, Google writes:

“We will consider the MC of the page to be very high or highest quality when it is created with a high degree of time and effort, and in particular, expertise, talent, and skill—this may provide evidence for the E-A-T of the page”

Content that is vague and lacking in detail is unlikely to perform well, especially if other sites produce more comprehensive and useful pieces of content.

We’ve excluded questions that specifically tackle the E-A-T of the content creators in this section, with the aim to focus on evaluating the usefulness of existing content.

Not every business will be, or have industry experts producing content, but that shouldn’t detract from assessing the quality of content that is actually being produced. 

Google states that smaller businesses are likely to have a smaller web presence and a lack of external evidence of E-A-T is not an indication of low page quality. 

Under section 2.6.5, What to Do When You Find No Reputation Information, Google writes:

“Frequently, you will find little or no information about the reputation of a website for a small organization. This is not indicative of positive or negative reputation. Many small, local businesses or community organizations have a small “web presence” and rely on word of mouth, not online reviews. For these smaller businesses and organizations, lack of reputation should not be considered an indication of low page quality.

However, for “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages, such as medical, or financial information websites, the reputation of the website and/or the individual content creator is just as important as the potential usefulness of content.

Evaluating the E-A-T of a website and/or content creator will be addressed in the topics “Would you trust information from this website’s authors?” and “Would you trust information from this website?”.

Does the [PAGE TYPE] on this site have obvious errors?

This topic is about identifying errors on a website, with a focus on recognising unmaintained and/or defaced pages.

Under section 7.2.9, Unmaintained Websites, and Hacked, Defaced, or Spammed Pages, Google writes:

“Unmaintained websites should be rated Lowest if they fail to achieve their purpose due to the lack of maintenance.

Unmaintained websites may also become hacked, defaced, or spammed with a large amount of distracting and unhelpful content. These pages should also be rated Lowest because they fail to accomplish their original purpose.”

Although not explicitly mentioned in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, other signs of unmaintained websites are broken links and images as well as obvious missing blocks of main content.

If a website has a large number of glaring errors, it could compromise user experience and suggests the website may be insecure. Failing this topic indicates a website will likely struggle to perform well in search results.

Does the [PAGE TYPE] contain excessive adverts, or pop-ups?

Over the last couple of years, Google has been increasingly targeting websites that excessively contain adverts and/or block users’ access to content with pop-ups.

Under section 7.2.7, Obstructed or Inaccessible Main Content, Google writes:

“MC cannot be used if it is obstructed or inaccessible due to Ads, SC, or interstitial pages. If you are not able to access the MC, please use the Lowest rating”.

Google also suggests ads don’t need to fully obstruct a page to be distracting to receive a “low” rating. Under section 6.4, Distracting Ads/SC, Google writes:

“…some Ads, SC, or interstitial pages (i.e., pages displayed before or after the content you are expecting) make it difficult to use the MC. Pages with Ads, SC, or other features that distract from or interrupt the use of the MC should be given a Low rating”.

Whilst Google does state that ads can contribute to good user experience, they should be used  in moderation and not negatively impact the experience of consuming main content.

Sites that contain excessive adverts and obstructive pop-ups run the risk of penalisation, which will impact online visibility. 

This topic is particularly pertinent for mobile devices where screen space is limited.

The questions in our checklist for this topic also reflect Google’s firm stance on excessive advertisements. Any “Failed” question in our checklist will fail this entire topic.

Is [PAGE TYPE] deceptive?

Earlier, we mentioned how misleading page titles can be a means of deception, but Google cites other forms of deception. 

For example, under section 7.6.2, Deceptive Page Design, Google states the following are forms of deception:

  • Pages that disguise Ads as MC. Actual MC may be minimal or created to encourage users to click on the Ads.
  • Pages that disguise Ads as website navigation links.
  • Pages where the MC is not usable or visible.
  • Any page designed to trick users into clicking on links, which may be Ads or other links intended to serve the needs of the website rather than to the benefit of the user.

Pages that are misleading or attempt to cause harm in some way are deemed the “lowest” quality of page and will negatively impact the perception of the organisation and hurt online visibility.

Is there adequate information about the business and/or content creators?

Google wants websites to provide adequate information about a business and/or authors.

Under section 2.5.3, Finding About Us, Contact Information, and Customer Service Information, Google writes:

“There are many reasons that users might have for contacting a website, from reporting problems such as broken pages, to asking for content removal. Many websites offer multiple ways for users to contact the website: email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, web contact forms”

Google adds that contact information is particularly important for websites that handle money.

“Contact information and customer service information are extremely important for websites that handle money, such as stores, banks, credit card companies, etc”

When it comes to individual content creators, Google doesn’t specifically mention that authors should have biography pages on a website. Google also state the E-A-T of authors should be primarily judged on external evidence; however, there is sound logic in providing an option to view biography pages on a website that demonstrate the E-A-T of authors.    

Under section 6.1, Lacking Expertise, Authoritativeness, or Trustworthiness (E-A-T), Google writes:   

“Low quality pages often lack an appropriate level of E-A-T for the purpose of the page. Here are some examples:

  • The creator of the MC does not have adequate expertise in the topic of the MC, e.g. a tax form instruction video made by someone with no clear expertise in tax preparation.
  • The website is not an authoritative source for the topic of the page, e.g. tax information on a cooking website.”

Ultimately, users want to be able to contact and learn more about an organisation/content creator. A website that provides adequate and reliable information that demonstrates E-A-T will foster trust and credibility.

Would you trust information from this website?

Google is emphasising the importance of websites and organisations having credible external reputation. 

Google has stated they will trust external sources of reputation information over internal information.

Under section 2.6, Reputation of the Website or Creator of the Main Content, Google writes:

“…for Page Quality rating, you must also look for outside, independent reputation information about the website. When the website says one thing about itself, but reputable external sources disagree with what the website says, trust the external sources.

Google wants to evaluate the external reputation information of an organisation using credible third party sources like external news articles, blog posts, or even Wikipedia pages. 

Under section 2.6.2, Sources of Reputation Information, Google writes:

“Look for information written by a person, not statistics or other machine-compiled information. News articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations can all be sources of reputation information. Look for independent, credible sources of information.” 

By identifying various sources of external reputation information, Google can better evaluate E-A-T. 

Content that is written by websites/authors who meet a high level of E-A-T is deemed to be of the “highest quality” and in theory should perform better in search results. This is particularly important for YMYL websites/topics, such as health and safety, finance and news and current events. 

Interestingly, for the September 2019 Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines update, Google adds “Shopping” as a type of YMYL. Under section 2.3, Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Pages, Google defines “Shopping” as:

“information about or services related to research or purchase of goods/services, particularly webpages that allow people to make purchases online”   

Under section 5.2, Very Positive Reputation, Google writes:

“For shopping pages, experts could include people who have used the store’s website to make purchases; whereas for medical advice pages, experts should be people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation”.

This suggests customer reviews for an organisation’s products/services can be used as a valid source of external reputation information for ecommerce and B2B websites. 

As part of our checklist, we’ve included questions to evaluate online reviews for a brand, which could also encompass specific review information on a brand’s products/services. 

Would you trust information from this website’s authors?

Like evaluating the E-A-T of a website/organisation, Google also wants to evaluate external reputation information for individual content creators.

Under section 9.2, Reputation and E-A-T: Website or the Creators of the Main Content?, Google writes: 

“You must consider the reputation and E-A-T of both the website and the creators of the MC in order to assign a Page Quality rating.”

“The reputation and E-A-T of the creators of the MC is extremely important when a website has different authors or content creators on different pages.

Sometimes a website/organisation will be creating content and other times it will be individual content creators. Either way, evaluating the E-A-T for both types of content creators is important can be equally important.   

Does the design of the website make it difficult to use?

This topic focuses on the functionality of the website and in turn, user experience. 

Under section 7.2.3, Lowest Quality Main Content, Google writes: 

“The Lowest rating should also apply to pages where users cannot benefit from the MC, for example:

  • Informational pages with demonstrably inaccurate MC.
  • The MC is so difficult to read, watch, or use, that it takes great effort to understand and use the page.
  • Broken functionality of the page due to lack of skill in construction, poor design, or lack of maintenance.

The design of a website plays a pivotal role in functionality and since Google rightfully views bad functionality with a grade of “lowest rating”, the design of a website deserves its own topic.

A website with a good design and functionality will contribute to high quality pages and in theory convert better and potentially perform better in search results.

Would you trust this website with personal details?

This topic is the culmination of all the previous questions. If the overarching results are positive then users could be more likely to hand over personal information, such as credit card details and email addresses, which is an objective for most businesses. 

How to use the checklist

Access the Search Quality Evaluator checklist for free.


There will be an option to select “TRUE”, “FALSE”, or “OKAY” for each question in the checklist. 


The importance (necessity) of each question will determine whether a section will “Pass”, or “Fail”. In the screenshot above, the question “Is it clear and easy to understand what the website offers?” is a necessity to pass and because the answer is “FALSE”, the section has “FAILED”.

You can view the necessity of each question by unhiding columns C-E but these additional columns can be confusing for people who don’t understand what the sheet is doing, so I would keep them hidden most of the time.

There are also two additional columns, “Ideal answer” and “Achieves ideal answer”

Ideal answer

“Ideal answer” determines what the “ideal” statement should be for each question. 

In some cases you want the statement to be “TRUE”. In other cases, you want the statement to be “FALSE”.

For instance, we want the statement to be “TRUE” for the question “Is it clear and easy to understand what the website offers?”.

However, the “ideal” answer for the question “Is the content too short, insubstantial or unhelpfully vague?” would be “FALSE”. “FALSE” states that the content is in fact not short, insubstantial, or unhelpfully vague.

Achieves ideal answer

Achieves ideal answer” is determined by whether the “Grade” column matches the “Ideal answer” column. 

Using the above screenshot, we know the “Ideal answer” for the question “Is it clear and easy to understand what the website offers?” is “TRUE”“. 

However, because the answer given is “FALSE”, the ideal answer has not been achieved;  therefore, “FALSE” is the statement given for “Achieves ideal answer”.

This allows us to see all “Passed” and “Failed” sections of the checklist located in the“Passed and Failed section” tab.

We’ve also added a description and/or instructions and references column in the checklist questions tab to help explain questions, provide instructions and add context. Feel free to add to, or iterate the content found in these columns. 


You’ll also find references of “[ADD BRAND]” in the “Checklist questions” tab. You’ll need to update these references to reflect the organisation the checklist is being run against.   

The tab “Website content” concatenates example URLs and example titles to help make this checklist a little more efficient to use.

The easiest way to see how all of these fields work is just to fill them out with information from your brands first, and then notice how the questions have changed as you go through the checklist.

Who should use the checklist?

As we’ve mentioned, our Search Quality Evaluator Checklist can be used by a range of people.

  1. SEO professionals: filling out this checklist is a great way to evaluate the UX and website quality of a client. It will allow you to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and help you deliver priority recommendations.
  2. Internal stakeholders: the checklist can be used by internal stakeholders to go through before publishing new content, website features or most things that could impact the UX and content quality. The checklist could also be filled out by internal stakeholders as a way of getting them on board with SEO priorities.
  3. The public: if you want to get a true understanding of how users perceive your website and brand, then why not ask your potential customers? 

Members of the public NEED TO fill out all sitewide questions, but you should split page type questions to avoid a horribly long survey that they’ll give lazy answers to. For instance, get a respondent to only answer questions for the homepage, blog pages, or product pages. Distilled’s original Panda Survey post contains some advice and guidelines on running a survey, including collecting data from respondents. 

Our other checklists

We like using checklists here at Distilled and if you do too, get your hands on our technical SEO audit checklist, Google Analytics audit checklist and our PPC audit checklist.

How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone

Posted by on Sep 11, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone

Brian McCullough, who runs Internet History Podcast, also wrote a book named How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone which did a fantastic job of capturing the ethos of the early web and telling the backstory of so many people & projects behind it’s evolution.

I think the quote which best the magic of the early web is

Jim Clark came from the world of machines and hardware, where development schedules were measured in years—even decades—and where “doing a startup” meant factories, manufacturing, inventory, shipping schedules and the like. But the Mosaic team had stumbled upon something simpler. They had discovered that you could dream up a product, code it, release it to the ether and change the world overnight. Thanks to the Internet, users could download your product, give you feedback on it, and you could release an update, all in the same day. In the web world, development schedules could be measured in weeks.

The part I bolded in the above quote from the book really captures the magic of the Internet & what pulled so many people toward the early web.

The current web – dominated by never-ending feeds & a variety of closed silos – is a big shift from the early days of web comics & other underground cool stuff people created & shared because they thought it was neat.

Many established players missed the actual direction of the web by trying to create something more akin to the web of today before the infrastructure could support it. Many of the “big things” driving web adoption relied heavily on chance luck – combined with a lot of hard work & a willingness to be responsive to feedback & data.

  • Even when Marc Andreessen moved to the valley he thought he was late and he had “missed the whole thing,” but he saw the relentless growth of the web & decided making another web browser was the play that made sense at the time.
  • Tim Berners-Lee was dismayed when Andreessen’s web browser enabled embedded image support in web documents.
  • Early Amazon review features were originally for editorial content from Amazon itself. Bezos originally wanted to launch a broad-based Amazon like it is today, but realized it would be too capital intensive & focused on books off the start so he could sell a known commodity with a long tail. Amazon was initially built off leveraging 2 book distributors ( Ingram and Baker & Taylor) & R. R. Bowker’s Books In Print catalog. They also did clever hacks to meet minimum order requirements like ordering out of stock books as part of their order, so they could only order what customers had purchased.
  • eBay began as an /aw/ subfolder on the eBay domain name which was hosted on a residential internet connection. Pierre Omidyar coded the auction service over labor day weekend in 1995. The domain had other sections focused on topics like ebola. It was switched from AuctionWeb to a stand alone site only after the ISP started charging for a business line. It had no formal Paypal integration or anything like that, rather when listings started to charge a commission, merchants would mail physical checks in to pay for the platform share of their sales. Beanie Babies also helped skyrocket platform usage.
  • The reason AOL carpet bombed the United States with CDs – at their peak half of all CDs produced were AOL CDs – was their initial response rate was around 10%, a crazy number for untargeted direct mail.
  • Priceline was lucky to have survived the bubble as their idea was to spread broadly across other categories beyond travel & they were losing about $30 per airline ticket sold.
  • The broader web bubble left behind valuable infrastructure like unused fiber to fuel continued growth long after the bubble popped. The dot com bubble was possible in part because there was a secular bull market in bonds stemming back to the early 1980s & falling debt service payments increased financial leverage and company valuations.
  • TED members hissed at Bill Gross when he unveiled, which ranked “search” results based on advertiser bids.
  • Excite turned down offering the Google founders $1.6 million for the PageRank technology in part because Larry Page insisted to Excite CEO George Bell ‘If we come to work for Excite, you need to rip out all the Excite technology and replace it with [our] search.’ And, ultimately, that’s—in my recollection—where the deal fell apart.”
  • Steve Jobs initially disliked the multi-touch technology that mobile would rely on, one of the early iPhone prototypes had the iPod clickwheel, and Apple was against offering an app store in any form. Steve Jobs so loathed his interactions with the record labels that he did not want to build a phone & first licensed iTunes to Motorola, where they made the horrible ROKR phone. He only ended up building a phone after Cingular / AT&T begged him to.
  • Wikipedia was originally launched as a back up feeder site that was to feed into Nupedia.
  • Even after Facebook had strong traction, Marc Zuckerberg kept working on other projects like a file sharing service. Facebook’s news feed was publicly hated based on the complaints, but it almost instantly led to a doubling of usage of the site so they never dumped it. After spreading from college to college Facebook struggled to expand ad other businesses & opening registration up to all was a hail mary move to see if it would rekindle growth instead of selling to Yahoo! for a billion dollars.

The book offers a lot of color to many important web related companies.

And many companies which were only briefly mentioned also ran into the same sort of lucky breaks the above companies did. Paypal was heavily reliant on eBay for initial distribution, but even that was something they initially tried to block until it became so obvious they stopped fighting it:

“At some point I sort of quit trying to stop the EBay users and mostly focused on figuring out how to not lose money,” Levchin recalls. … In the late 2000s, almost a decade after it first went public, PayPal was drifting toward obsolescence and consistently alienating the small businesses that paid it to handle their online checkout. Much of the company’s code was being written offshore to cut costs, and the best programmers and designers had fled the company. … PayPal’s conversion rate is lights-out: Eighty-nine percent of the time a customer gets to its checkout page, he makes the purchase. For other online credit and debit card transactions, that number sits at about 50 percent.

Here is a podcast interview of Brian McCullough by Chris Dixon.

How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone is a great book well worth a read for anyone interested in the web.


Ubersuggest 5.0: Generate 1 Million Keyword Suggestions in 7 Seconds (Seriously)

Posted by on Sep 9, 2019 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Ubersuggest 5.0: Generate 1 Million Keyword Suggestions in 7 Seconds (Seriously)

Ubersuggest started out as a tool that provided suggestions through Google Suggest.

And although that’s great, everyone these days is using
Google Suggest to come up with keyword ideas.

There have to be more keyword ideas out there that get more search volume and aren’t competitive, right?

Well, there are, and now with the new Ubersuggest, you’ll get access to them.

Here are the 2 big changes I am making with this release…

Introducing a new keyword database

Because we have results in our database for more than a billion different keywords, I thought it would be fun to tap into it and provide you with even more keyword suggestions.

Now when you perform a search on Ubersuggest for any keyword, you’ll see a “related” tab with even more suggestions.

And each tab shows you how many keywords are in that group.

As you can see for the term “digital marketing”, just in the United States there are over 30,000 keyword recommendations.

And for terms like “dog”, there are over 1 million keyword recommendations.


Don’t worry though, results from Google Suggest are still there under the “suggestions” tab but you can now see even more search terms if you click on “related”.

What’s cool is that you can even export all of the keywords via CSV.

And if you want to leverage the filters to fine-tune the results, you can easily do so.


For example, I used the filters setting to find keywords with a minimum search volume of 400 searches a month and a maximum SEO difficulty of 50. Ubersuggest then fine-tuned the results to 489 keywords related to “digital marketing” that I should consider target instead of me having to manually go through 30,000 plus recommendations.

And with the CSV report, it adjusts as the settings with the filters change. So you can export the keywords that you want and ignore the keywords you aren’t planning to target.

Ubersuggest now has local search

Another big change that we made to Ubersuggest is that we
introduced local keyword research.

You can now pull up keyword stats and ideas on any city, county, region, or country.

For example, if I want to know the search volume and keyword
recommendations for West Hollywood, California, I can now do so.

From there, Ubersuggest shows keyword search volume, keyword recommendations, and even content ideas for a blog post.

On top of that, when you head over to the “keyword ideas” report, you’ll also notice that the SERPs results, which shows all of the sites that rank for that term, are now adjusted to also show the ranking sites within that region.

So, what’s next for Ubersuggest?

Well, speaking of keyword research, you’ll start seeing keyword recommendations based on questions, comparisons, and prepositions like Answers the Public within a month.

And, of course, as I promised earlier, next Tuesday I am releasing the rank tracking and dashboard features on Ubersuggest.

If you haven’t already, head on over to Ubersuggest to give the new keyword database a try.

And if you are trying to use the local SEO features, you may find that they only work once you are in the app.

I haven’t been able to make the changes to the main
Ubersuggest landing page yet, but once you type in a keyword and test it out,
you can then switch your location to any city.

So, what do you think of the changes?

PS: Make sure you test Ubersuggest out.

The post Ubersuggest 5.0: Generate 1 Million Keyword Suggestions in 7 Seconds (Seriously) appeared first on Neil Patel.

Google Search Tips That’ll Help You Find Everything

Posted by on Sep 7, 2019 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Search Tips That’ll Help You Find Everything

Have you ever had this situation where no matter what phrase you type into the search box, no matter how deep you dig into the result page, you just can’t get what you’re looking for? You might need some tips on how to search if so.

So here are a few Google search tips to help you find anything and everything across the web.

1. Minus operator excludes terms in the result

Use the “-“ operator to exclude the term from appearing in result.

This is especially useful for terms that are used in pop culture. In my example, if you search for ‘stitch’ without the minus operator you’ll probably be greeted by a blue alien pet dog from Disney.

2. Plus operator to include a term in the result

You can also use a “+” sign if you want the result to include another term.

3. Quotation marks for exact match

If your search term is made up of more than one word, the results might not be accurate because the search engine returns results where the terms appear separately.

So use quotation marks to get results with the exact math.

4. OR to combine searches

Use the OR (yes, in capital letters) when you want to combine search queries. This is useful in a situation where you’re looking for two terms that are similar in nature.

5. Wildcard – use asterisks to match on any words

I use this when I want to treat the targeted term as a theme, and have the result include whatever that comes along with it.

6. Search site using site:’siteurl’

When you need to search on a site but their own search function is ineffective, consider using Google instead.

7. Two dots between numbers to get a result between those numbers

Instead of typing out “from 1994 to 2001” you can just replace it with two dots, like this “1994..2001” and you’ll get results between those numbers.

8. Intitle: search only in the page title

Use this to search specifically in the title, and use quotes when your term is made up of more than a word.

9. Allintitle: search only in page title using all the terms

Use this to search specifically in the title, but using all the words in your search term.

10. Intext: search only in the body of a page

Use this to search specifically in the body, and use quotes when your term is made up of more than a word.

11. Allintext: search only in the body of a page using all the terms

Use this to search specifically in the body, but using all the words in your search term.

12. Filetype: search for a specific file type for a term

Searching for more technical or scholastic terms there are often search results that trigger a pdf download when clicked. The filetype operator can be used to specify the filetype you want to avoid such a problem.

13. Related: discover similar sites

You can use this to look for similar or related sites for the site you want. It only works on bigger websites though.