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The Only SEO Strategy You Need (2018)

Posted by on Jul 12, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Only SEO Strategy You Need (2018)

The Only SEO Strategy You Need (2018)

Looking for an SEO strategy that will actually increase your traffic in 2018?

You came to the right place.

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I do have a warning for you though… This strategy isn’t easy, glamorous, or fast.

And that’s not even the bad news. The bad news is:

You will have to work hard to see results using this strategy.

Frightening, right?

Well, I know most people have left this guide by now because any sign of hard work will spook them.

But I also know you aren’t like most people because you’re still here!

Because you stuck around, I will tell you the good news:

Although this SEO strategy isn’t easy, it will increase your traffic and get you an amazing ROI in the long run. Why?

Because what you’re going to learn today is an evergreen SEO strategy.

That means your traffic and SEO results won’t be effected by silly algorithm updates.

Sound good?

All you need to do is follow what I show you, take action, and watch your traffic grow.

Let’s jump in.

4 Pillars of an Effective SEO Strategy

The best strategies are simple.

To paraphrase Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

That’s how we approached the development of our SEO strategy.

Through lots of testing, thought, and experience, we broke our SEO strategy down into four pillars:

Please Your Users
Satisfy Search Intent
Build Your Web
Optimize and Amplify

This strategy has helped us generate millions of new organic search visitors for our clients, niche sites, and Gotch SEO itself

Here are some recent examples of growth we’ve achieved with this strategy:

You can see this type of growth if you follow this strategy and put in the work.

Sound good? Let’s begin.

Want to know what Google’s algorithm values more than anything else?

The searcher experience.

Google wants to serve its searchers the best results.

So, what defines a result as being “the best”?

First, it must fulfill the search intent behind the query.

Meaning, if someone is searching for a “buy backlinks”, they should see results that are about buying backlinks.

I know this seems elementary, but it’s critical to understand.

That’s why Pillar #2 is dedicated to understanding this.

But as you can imagine, simply satisfying search intent is not enough to rank well for your target keyword phrase.

The next piece of the puzzle is all about the quality of your page and website as a whole.

I’ll be explaining what it means to create a “quality” page in Pillar #2.

But, what I want to dig into right now is your website quality as a whole.

Listen:

You don’t have much time to make a first impression online.

In fact, according to Nielsen, the average website visitors will leave your page in less than 20 seconds.

Time magazine conducted their own research and found that most users leave within 15 seconds. So, if we take both of these studies, we can estimate that the average user will stay on your site for less than 20 seconds.

That means you need to do everything you can keep them on longer.

There are some exceptions to this rule (which I’ll be explaining in Pillar #2).

But for the most part, it is an intelligent objective to try to increase user dwell time on your website.

Here’s why:

Longer Dwell Time = More Conversions?

A longer dwell time implies that users are interested and engaged on your website.

Engaged users are more likely to convert into an email subscriber, lead, customer, or may even share your content on social media.

Longer Dwell Time = Positive User Signal

The positive side effects of increased dwell time on your business are obvious. But what many don’t realize, is that it can improve your SEO performance. When a user dwells on a single page for a long time or visits more than one page, it is positive signal.

Now, you’re probably thinking… How would Google have access to such information?

Simple.

If you have a Google Analytics script installed on your website, they are tracking user behavior.

If you are using Google Chrome, the browser is tracking your behavior.

If you are using any phone with Google technology, they are tracking your behavior.

But here’s the main takeaway:

Increase your page and website dwell time (exceptions to this rule in Pillar #2).

Now that you know why it’s important to increase dwell time, how do you actually do it?

That’s a good question and that is why I dedicate an entire Module to this process in our Gotch SEO Academy course. I won’t go into every single thing you can do in this article because it would insanely long.

But with that said, here are a few macro and micro changes you need to make to increase dwell and improve the experience on your website:

1. Become addicted to speed

Not the drug, but your website loading speed. It’s crazy how many websites still don’t take this seriously. You need to make it a priority to increase your website loading speed.

I honestly can’t think of anything more annoying than waiting for a page to load.

I usually battle through it, but most Internet users won’t.

They will bounce if your website is slow.

Use this resource from ConversionXL to increase your website loading speed.

2. Mobile. Friendly. Design.

I feel like a broken record, but please, for the love of God, make sure your website is mobile friendly. The majority of Google searches are done on mobile devices.

Although this does vary based on your sector (for example, many B2B searches are on desktop), there’s no good reason to not have a mobile-friendly design.

My one recommendation is to make sure your mobile design is responsive.

Don’t create a separate mobile website because this will steal authority and link equity from your primary domain.

Read this to learn how to transition to a responsive, mobile design.

3. Build a Fluid Site Architecture

Your site architecture should be built for users. Not for search engines.

Here’s the weird part:

Your site architecture will be effective for search engines when you build it with user experience as the priority.

An “effective” site architecture will do three things:

1. It helps users seamlessly move through your website. The keyword here is “seamlessly”. That means your navigation and architecture should be simple. If your user has to think about or try to figure out what to do next, you have lost. They shouldn’t have to think when moving through your website.

2. It helps search engines discover and index all the pages on your website. Search engine crawlers should have the same ease of movement as a real user. This is possible when your architecture is built well.

3. It helps build your overall website authority. Your website authority is one of the most important factors for ranking well in Google. Building an well-thought out architecture can flow link equity and authority to your most important pages.

Plus, a effective site architecture will spread precious link equity through your entire site.

This builds your OVERALL site authority.

This quote (often attributed to JFK) explains this concept well: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Or from an SEO perspective, “a rising website authority lifts all pages”.

Check out this resource from ConversionXL and this one from Search Engine Land to improve your site architecture.

4. Fix Micro Technical Issues

If you increase your site loading speed, develop a beautiful mobile-friendly design, and structure your website for users, you will see a positive impact on your SEO performance.

Focus on these big three first.

Then, after that, you should target some of the micro issues that may hurt user experience on your website such as:

Broken links and 404 errors
Redirect issues
Duplicate content
Thin content

Each of these issues can be identified by doing an SEO audit.

Now that you understand the importance of pleasing your users, let me you Pillar #2 in this SEO strategy.

Understanding how to satisfy search intent is a fundamental SEO skill.

In fact:

You could have Stephen King write an article for you and it still wouldn’t rank if you don’t properly satisfy search intent.

That’s how important it is.

Not only that, what you’re about to learn will dispel the generic advice that every page you want to rank in Google “needs at least 1,800 words!”…

Slapping ~1,800 words on a page isn’t how you rank in Google.

In fact, a page with a high word count is practically worthless if it doesn’t satisfy search intent. And no, it won’t matter how backlinks you get either (if you get search intent wrong).

So, what do I mean by “satisfy” search intent?

Let me break it down.

The first step to satisfying search intent is to pick a keyword phrase to target.

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Here are five ways to find keywords:

1. Use the Google Keyword Planner

Google has recently changed how you can use the Google Keyword Planner. Before, everyone who signed up could see the search volume for keywords. Now, it only shows estimates. There is a way to get around this. You need to create a Google Adwords campaign. The amount you spend doesn’t matter. After you do that, you will regain access to the search volume.

With that out of the way, here are the steps you need to take to find keywords using Google’s Keyword Planner.

Click on “Tools” and then click on “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category:

Enter an idea you have into the box. For the example, I’ll be using the keyword “how to use creatine”:

After you’ve entered your keyword, go down and click “Get Ideas”

Click on the “Keyword Ideas” tab.

Scroll down and scan through the keyword ideas. Copy any ideas that are relevant to what your website is trying to achieve.

In my example, I would copy “creatine reviews”, “creatine loading”, “does creatine work”, and “creatine ethyl ester”.

All you are trying to do right now is find ideas. You will validate ideas through the competitor analysis tactics I’ll show you later in this guide.

But for now, list all ideas you come across.

2. Use UberSuggest

UberSuggest is one of my favorite tools for finding content ideas. It’s also a perfect alternative to using Google’s Keyword Planner if you don’t want to go through the trouble of creating an Adwords account. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Go to UberSuggest and enter a keyword idea:

2. Scroll down and export the keyword ideas (and add them to your master list):

You can also take this list and run it through Google Keyword Planner to see the search volume. Be careful not to chase search volume. Not every good content idea will have corresponding search volume. Use your best judgment.

3. Use SEMRush

SEMRush is great for extracting keywords and content ideas from your competitors. Here’s how you to do it:

1. Go to SEMRush.com and enter a competitor’s URL

2. Click on “Organic Research” and “Positions”, scroll down to “Organic Search Positions”, and sort by “Pos.” to find long tail keywords they are ranking well for:

Add these ideas to your master list.

4. Use Forums

Forums are a goldmine for finding qualified content ideas. That’s because you have real people asking real questions. Here’s how to find content ideas using forums:

1. Go to Google and search “your niche + forums”

Click into one of the categories and examine the threads. Right away, I’m able to find some great content ideas:

Dig through all the forums you can find and add all content ideas to your master list.

5. Use Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a neglected tool, but it can be a treasure chest of content ideas. Keep in mind that this is only an effective tactic if you are already getting traffic. Otherwise, there won’t be any data for you to extract. With that said, here’s what you need to do:

Go to Google Search Console and the “Search Traffic” section and click on “Search Analytics”

Checkmark “Position” and scroll down and click show 500 rows. Scroll back up and sort the list so that the lowest ranked keyword is at the top

Now that you know a few methods for finding keywords, the next step is validate those keywords.

The first step is to perform a Quick Competitor Analysis.

Here’s are the first two steps:

Install the Moz toolbar
Copy your target keyword and enter it into Google.com

For the example below, I’ll use “how to use creatine” as the keyword again.

Checkpoint #1: are there are any websites ranking that have a DA below 50?

If you see websites with DA 50 or below, then it’s likely an uncompetitive keyword. There are three websites that have less than 50 DA in our example below. This a good sign.

Checkpoint #2: are there big brands ranking for this keyword?

Look for Amazon, Wikipedia, ESPN, etc. These authority sites aren’t impossible to beat, but it is more challenging. The one advantage you have is that your content will be more keyword-focused. Big brands rank completely based on their site’s authority. Not because of an awesome piece of content.

In our example, the biggest authority websites are Men’s Health, Bodybuilding.com, and Men’s fitness. Notice that there are three bodybuilding.com results. This is a sign that they are ranking because of their site authority. Not because of the depth or quality of their content.

Checkpoint #3: are there any pdfs, Q&A sites (yahoo answers, quora), forums, web 2.0s, press releases, Ezine articles, Hubpages, or ehow pages ranking?

These types of pages are a good sign that the keyword is uncompetitive.

In our example, there is a YouTube video ranking. You can usually outrank YouTube with a quality, text-heavy content asset.

If the target keyword passes these checkpoints, then it’s time to move onto the Deep Analysis.

Deep Competitor Analysis

You will need a few tools for what I’m about to show you:

Moz Toolbar
Ahrefs, Majestic, or Open Site Explorer
This competitor analysis template

Here’s how you do it:

1. Go to Google and enter your prospective keyword.

For this example, I’m going to use “how to gain weight for women”. Export the top 10 results using the Moz Toolbar and open up the file.

2. Copy the titles, landing page URLs, PA, and DA and paste it into the sheet.

3. Go to Ahrefs, “Tools”, and click on “Batch Analysis”. Enter your URLs and make sure you select “URL” from the dropdown.

4. Export the report.

5. Copy and paste Referring Domains into the “RDs” column.

6. Copy and paste the Google +, Facebook, and LinkedIn shares into their appropriate columns.

7. Use this tool to gather the site age of each competitor and paste the results into the sheet.

8. Use this tool to get the word count for each target page

9. The next step is to manually analyze each competitor’s ranking page.

First, analyze how well they are leveraging media in their content. “Media” includes images, videos, infographics, templates, etc. Make notes in the column for each competitor.

In this example, the #1 ranking page has images, but it doesn’t have video. So, in the competitor analysis template, you should write “No videos” under the “M” column.

10. Now you want to analyze the quantity of outbound links.

Quality outbound links improve the trust and quality of content. If a competitor is ranking without using outbound links, it becomes a leverage point for you.

The #1 results for our target search phrase has 0 outbound links.

11. Now you need to analyze how well the competitor’s page is optimized for the specific seed keyword.

Google will always value the most relevant page for a search query. As I mentioned earlier, pages will rank because of their site’s authority, not because of their keyword targeting (or content quality). A good example is the #1 ranking page in the example template.

Both their title: “20 Proven Tips for Skinny Girls to Gain Healthy Weight” and URL: “http://livingfit.co/20-proven-tips-for-skinny-girls-to-gain-weight/” are not optimized well for the keyword “how to gain weight for women”.

So, under the “KW Targeting Quality” you would give this page a score of around 3. That’s because you can create a page that is better targeted and more optimized.

12. Next, you want to look at is the timeliness of the content.

If the content is outdated, then put an “N” for “No” in the “Timeliness” column. In the example, fundamentals for losing weight don’t change, so I have to put “Y” for timeliness.

13. The next element you need to judge is the design of the content.

Is it easy to digest? Are there distracting elements that take away from the content?

The #1 ranking page in our example has advertisements above the fold.

This is something Google’s Panda algorithm doesn’t like. That’s because it pushes content further down the page. This hurts the searcher experience.

There are a few other advertisements within the content and at the end, but they likely don’t negatively impact UX. The content itself is well-formatted, but it’s not great.

Good for Ad CTR, but bad for UX.

14. The last element of the target page you need to analyze is the thoroughness of the content.

Can you expand on the content? Can you inject case studies and research to improve the quality of the arguments?

There is room for improvement in the example. In this case, I would give it a 6/10.

15. After you have entered these details into the template, you need to average out the columns.

The reason for doing this is because it creates a baseline and goal for you. For example, if the average word count is 2,000, then you know you need to exceed that. If the average linking root domains are 15, then you know you need a comparable amount to get to the first page. Of course, the quality of links can alter this, but you get the point.

Click to Expand

This is a comprehensive approach, but it’s necessary for understanding your competition. Let your competitors benchmarks guide you.

Based on the averages from this example, this is a valid keyword to go after.

Repeat this process for every keyword that passes the Quick Competitor Analysis.

Once you have narrow your list, you need to do a Deep Competitor Analysis.

So, at this stage, you are ready to create a page around whatever keyword phrase you qualified.

Before you write a single word you must establish the intent behind the keyword phrase.

Here’s the good news:

It’s easy to figure out how to satisfy search intent.

Just examine the top 10 results for your target keyword.

What TYPES of pages are ranking?

Let me give you a few examples.

Keyword example #1: “backlinks”

In this example, “backlinks” can be classified in two searcher intent categories: problem awareness and buying. When someone searches “backlinks”, they are either A) trying to learn more about backlinks because they know how important they are to SEO or B) they are looking to buy backlinks.

So, what do you do in a situation like this?

You should analyze the pages that are currently ranking. If the majority of pages are educational-based content, then you should take a similar approach.

Keyword example #2: “SEO checker”

In this example, the intent behind “SEO checker” will not require a long-form piece of content. Why? Because the searcher is clearly looking for a tool to solve their problem.

They aren’t looking for information at this stage. That’s why when you search “SEO checker”, you will notice that the majority of the results are tools.

Keyword example #3: “citation building service”

In this example, whoever is searching for a “citation building service” is clearly at the buying stage. It wouldn’t make sense to try to educate this person with a long-form piece of content.

This is the main point:

Analyze the competitors and see how they are fulfilling searcher intent for your target keyword. Follow the same strategy or there’s a good chance your page won’t rank well.

Now I want to tell you a quick story that will help solidify this point even further.

This story is an example of what can go wrong if you don’t satisfy search intent.

Let me start by saying that I am a practitioner first and a teacher second.

Meaning, I like to actually DO, learn, fail, and succeed in a skill before I ever attempt to show anyone else.

Being a practitioner (and not guru who pretends to know skills), I have had many failed experiments in my five years in being in business. But one failure that stands out and is relevant, is when I attempted to rank for the keyword “SEO agency”.

Not “city + SEO agency”…

Just straight up “SEO agency” on the national level.

Here’s what I didn’t consider when I created this page:

1. Search intent

The intent behind “SEO agency” is obvious… The searcher is looking for an SEO agency. Most of these searchers aren’t looking for life lessons from an SEO agency owner. Instead, they are just looking for the best SEO agency to get them more traffic and customers from Google. Plain and simple. I knew this when I created that page, but my SEO ego was too big.

2. How big my SEO ego was

Because my company has had a lot of success in SEO, I believed that search intent wouldn’t apply to me. I would just “create a better page” and push that page up with backlinks.

But the truth hit me hard in this case:

Although my article is helpful for the right audience, it ISN’T helpful for that keyword phrase. It doesn’t satisfy search intent.

This taught me an important lesson:

Just because you’ve had success, doesn’t mean you will always be successful in everything that you do.

3. Geo-targeted results

The final element I didn’t take into account was geo-targeted results. When you search “SEO agency”, Google will show you a combination of national companies AND local companies (based on your location/IP). This makes ranking for this keyword phrase even more challenging on the national level.

So, why am I highlighting a failure of mine?

Because it demonstrates how important it is to understand search intent.

The good news is that you won’t have to make the same mistake I did.

But, you be wondering:

Why is my article targeting “SEO agency” still live?

Because it’s a helpful article for those involved in client SEO.

Just because a page doesn’t perform well in Google, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have utility for other reasons.

So, at this stage, you understand how to satisfy search intent.

Now, let me show you how to actually create these pages.

There are only two types of content to create from an SEO perspective:

Keyword Targeted Content
Link Bait

Creating keyword-targeted content assets should be the focus for most websites. Here are two keyword targeting strategies I like to use:

2 Keyword Targeting Strategies That Work

There are three keyword targeting strategies that work well:

Long tail assault
Body keyword focus

Long Tail Assault

Long Tail Assault is when you create content assets around long-tail keywords. Then you focus on building the authority of your website. As your site authority grows, so will the rankings of your long tail keywords.

Create a Content Asset for Each Long-Tail Keyword

The Long Tail Assault strategy is dangerous when used wrong. That’s because of thin content. You need to avoid creating thin content because A) it won’t rank and B) Google’s Panda algorithm hates it.

Body Keyword Focus

Body Keyword Focus is when you create a content asset that focuses on a higher search volume keyword. The difference is that you won’t create individual pages for each long-tail variation. Instead, you will create one master page. This master page will attempt to rank for the seed keyword and other relevant long-tails.

For example, you would create a page targeting the seed keyword phrase: “how to use creatine”. Within the content, you will want to inject relevant long-tail and LSI keywords such as: “is creatine dangerous for teens”, “what is the best time to use creatine”, or “where can I buy creatine”.

This my favorite approach because you can focus all your effort on creating an incredible content asset. Then, you can spend the rest of your time promoting it.

Another great element of this strategy is that you can improve and update that keyword-target content asset. No content asset is perfect after you publish it. There is always room for improvement.

Now that you know two effective keyword targeting strategies, let me explain how to create content assets that actually perform well in Google.

How to Create SEO Content

After you have identified your target keywords, you need to create a page targeting that keyword. This is known as SEO content. In many cases, it makes sense to publish a blog post targeting keywords. However, you need to make decisions based on the search intent. If your target keyword phrase is “buy black Nike shoes”, then it doesn’t make sense to create a long-form piece of content.

 

Give the searcher what they want!

It sounds easy, but unfortunately, many people do not succeed.

Why?

Because they aren’t using the right strategy. There are two ways to create keyword-targeted content assets:

Create a content asset/page that is BETTER than what is currently on the 1st page of Google for your target keyword
Create a content asset/page that is DIFFERENT than what is currently on the 1st page of Google for your target keyword

Combining both tactics will get you the best results.

Let’s dive into these two strategies deeper.

What does it mean to create a content asset/page that is BETTER?
When I say your content should be “BETTER”, I mean 10x better. For example, if the average word length of the top 10 ranking pages is 2,000 words, then you should double that amount and produce a 4,000-word beast.

Writing a longer content is only the first step. To take your content to another level, you should inject video, audio, case studies, stories, helpful external links, and make sure your content is readable by using bullet points, numbered lists, and breaking up paragraphs.

A good place to start to understand this concept is with Brian’s Skyscraper Technique.

What does it mean to create a content asset/page that is DIFFERENT?
This technique is best when the first page is littered with strong content.

If every ranking page is super comprehensive, evergreen, and up-to-date, you will need to take a different angle on the topic/keyword.

Your content will need to be radically different than what is ranking.

That’s because regurgitating great content won’t get you anywhere. The only way to beat great content is to do something totally different.

For example, let’s say you wanted to rank for the keyword phrase “how to use creatine?”

Go to Google and enter the phrase. Within seconds you will see that the first page is littered with “how to’s” and guides:

This is what you would expect for this type of keyword phrase. Notice how much the video stands out for this search query. Although it’s ranking #6, it likely gets a great SERP click through rate because it’s different.

So, if you want to rank for this keyword phrase, you could create an infographic, interactive infographic, expert roundup, or even a case study. Anything DIFFERENT will be impactful.

80/20 Strategy

The two rules above apply to keyword-targeted content assets. But does this mean that every single piece of content on your site needs to be keyword-targeted?

No. This is why I recommend the 80/20 strategy for your content.

80% of your content should be keyword-targeted and 20% of your content isn’t.

Keep in mind: your goal for creating content assets should always be to attract backlinks.

Always ask yourself: “does this content asset DESERVE backlinks?”

So, now you’re likely wondering: what type of content do I create for the other 20%?

Link Bait 101

The other 20% of your content creation should focus on link bait. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few content types you should consider:

Lazy Man Method

The “Lazy Man Method” is when you leverage resources that already exist. The best example is a curated guide. A curated guide is nothing more than a list of valuable resources.

Curated guides can come in many shapes and forms, but content roundups are most common.

Here are some examples for inspiration:

This Week in Social
Links à la Mode
The Very Best Of Internet Marketing

Another type of curated guide involves recycling yours and other bloggers content assets.

A great example of this is Brian Dean’s link building guide. As you will see, Brian links to quality resources, but he also links to resources on his own site.

Reverse Engineering Successful Content

Fortunately, with tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can use these tools to find what content has performed best for your competition. Then you can create something better.

Unique Names for Strategies

Have you ever read my article about “The Merger Technique“? I created this phrase knowing that it would have no competition in the SERPs. If you do this right, people will end up searching for your unique phrase in Google. Also, it makes your content more linkable.

For example, let’s say someone wants to link to Brian Dean’s “Skyscraper Technique” guide. It’s much easier to say: “see Backlinko’s Skyscraper technique for more information” instead of “see Backlinko’s article that explains how to find content that has already performed well and create a similar piece of content that is 10x better.”

Which one is more click-worthy and enticing?

Results

People love reading about results. That’s because it’s one of the best ways to learn. You can read information all day, but results show you the practical application of the information. Create content showing real life results. It’s easy in my industry because results are all that matter. But this can work in other industries as well. Here are some non-marketing examples:

The 7 Things I Did To Lose 220 Pounds Without Dieting
Texas School Triples Recess Time And Sees Immediate Positive Results In Kids
Shelter Puts Rescue Dogs In A Photo Booth To Get Them Adopted. The Results Speak For Themselves!

Case Studies

Results and case studies go hand-in-hand. One way case studies can differ is that they don’t always need positive outcomes. The key to creating an effective case study is to make it as detailed as possible. Here are some examples:

TOP 10 growth hacks [case studies]
911 Case Study: Pentagon Flight 77
100 Conversion Optimization Case Studies

Infographics

Infographics are one of the best forms of link bait. They are overused in the marketing industry, but there are still opportunities in other industries. Here are some great infographics for inspiration:

This Infographic Shows How Only 10 Companies Own All The World’s Food Brands
Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees
16 Things Teachers Should Try in 20162 [infographic]

Expert Roundups

Expert roundups have been abused in the Internet Marketing industry, but they are effective for several reasons. First, you don’t have to create any content. The “experts” create all the content. Second, it is ego bait. Meaning, anyone who participated in the roundup will likely share it with their audience. Last, it is a great way to build relationships with influencers.

Here are some examples:

Flexible Dieting: The Complete Guide & Expert Roundup
90 SEO Experts Talk White Hat Link Building, Outsourcing And Scaling
9 Vegetable Gardening Mistakes Every Beginner Should Avoid: An Expert Roundup

Helpful Applications or Tools

Any type of application or tool that makes people’s lives easier can attract backlinks. Some examples include Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Asana, and Google.com (I’m Captain Obvious).

There are many other content types, but these are a great place to start.

Now you know what types of content perform well, but what now?

How to Optimize Your Content Assets

A good asset can perform well in Google without lots of optimization. But it will perform even better if you optimize it well. I’m not going to complicate this step.

Here’s what you need to do:

Place your keyword in the title (frontload it if makes sense)
Place your keyword in the first sentence, first heading tag, and last sentence of the content
Write naturally and try to keep your keyword density between 1-3%
Inject LSI keywords where it makes sense

Now that you understand how to please your users, how to satisfy search intent, and how to create content, it’s time to move onto Pillar #3 in this SEO strategy.

Backlinks are still one of the most important factors for ranking in Google.

You can get SEO results by executing Pillar #1 and Pillar #2 well, but backlinks are fuel on the fire.

Doing the first two pillars well will make the entire link acquisition process easier.

Why?

First, it’s easier to promote valuable content assets.

Second, because your website is built the right way, you won’t need as many backlinks to rank.

I say this all the time, but here it is again:

You should do everything in your power to rank and drive organic search traffic without needing backlinks.

Backlinks are FUEL on the fire.

However, in most cases, you will need backlinks to rank.

Here are a few principles you need to follow for effective (and safe) link acquisition:

Relevancy is King

Your efforts should focus on the acquisition of relevant backlinks. This is why I recommend you use the Relevancy Pyramid to qualify link opportunities.

Authority is Queen

Relevancy is the first qualifier of a quality link opportunity. The next qualifying factor is the authority of the opportunity. Since Google doesn’t update PageRank (PR) anymore, you must rely on third party metrics. I recommend you use Domain Authority (DA) from Open Site Explorer, Domain Rate (DR) from Ahrefs, or Trust Flow from Majestic to determine the quality of your link opportunities. You should use all three tools if you can.

Contextual Links Are Best

There are different types of backlinks you can get, but none are more powerful than contextual backlinks. Getting contextual links on relevant websites is a time-consuming process. Our blogger outreach service can help you save time.

Anchor Text Matters

You can get all three of the factors above correct, but you will still see little results if you get your anchor text wrong.

You Need Relationships

Acquiring quality backlinks involves outreach and relationship building. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

Here are some great guides to help you with outreach:

The Complete Guide to Outreach: 52 Curated Resources
Link Building Outreach in a Skeptical World
19 Link Building / Outreach Strategies that WORK

Now, let’s move onto the final pillar in this SEO strategy.

Executing the first three pillars well is more than enough to see SEO results. Pillar #4 is designed to take your SEO game to another level.

The first piece is to remember this important point:

Sending more traffic to a website won’t fix conversion issues.

You need to make sure your website is built to convert all of your new organic search traffic.

The reason is simple:

The majority of your website visitors will never return.

That’s why you need to have systems in place to convert as many as possible.

You also need to consider that most new website visitors are NOT ready to buy.

Knowing this, your two primary conversion vehicles should be to build retargeting lists and to convert visitors into email subscribers.

Building retargeting lists is the easiest thing you can do. Even if you don’t have any intention to pay for advertising at this moment, you should still build retargeting lists. Retargeting lists are ASSETS for your business.

Having the ability to remarket to relevant prospects at any time is powerful.

At the very minimum, you should install a Facebook Pixel on your website and create a Custom Audience for all your website visitors.

The second conversion method you should use is converting visitors to email subscribers.

Email marketing is the single best way to build trust and rapport with prospects. Since most visitors aren’t ready to buy, it’s important to get them on your list. Then, you can nurture them and hopefully, turn them into a buyer.

The best way to get people on your email list is to offer free value. This can come in the form of a course, tool, template, checklist, etc. Anything that adds value can work as a lead magnet for getting new email subscribers.

That’s all I’ll talk as far as conversions because it’s a deep topic. But for now, start building retargeting lists and start trying to convert your visitors into email subscribers.

So, that is an SEO strategy at a 30,000-foot view. This guide could be well over 10,000 words, but I’ll save some of the nitty gritty details for future posts.

Do you want your business to make more money without any new traffic?

Join our new SEO 101 course. It’s free to enroll.

13 Google Search Tips to Help You Find Everything

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 13 Google Search Tips to Help You Find Everything

13 Google Search Tips to Help You Find Everything

We use Google every day for everything or almost everything.

But have you ever have that moment 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?

If your answer is yes, perhaps you need some tips on how to search.

So here are 13 Google search tips to help you find anything and everything across the web.
1. Minus operator to exclude a term 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 an asterisk 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 simply 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 operator 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 operator 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 operator to search specifically in the body, and use quotes when your term is made up of more than a word.

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

Use this operator 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

While 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: to discover similar sites

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

Other than searching for information, Google can also show you some handy tools.

1. Flip a coin

Can’t decide on having fried chicken or pizza? What not ask Google to flip a coin to decide? Heads for some fried chicken, tails for a box of pizza.

2. Roll a dice

I’m not sure on what occasion you need to roll a dice other than during a game. But in case you need to roll a dice without a dice on hand, Google got you covered.

3. 1 + 1= ?

Have a math question? Type that into the Google search bar and you’ll get your answer. Handy when you don’t have a calculator on hand.

4. Quick translation

Not sure what that hot French model mean by bisous? Try typing bisous in English in the search bar, and you’ll get your translation in a millisecond.

5. Measurement conversion

How many miles is a kilometer? How many millimeters is a gallon? As long as the metric and imperial system still lives side by side, you can rely on Google when you need a little conversion.

6. Currency conversion

Other than length or volume, Google can also convert your currencies. Just type in any of the variations for 50 USD in CAD and you’ll get your conversion window at the result page.

7. Timer and stopwatch

Type in the search bar “countdown 5 minutes” and Google will start counting down using their timer and stopwatch.

8. Weather location

Type in the word weather followed with the name of the city or if you have a postcode and you’ll know whether you need to take the umbrella out.

Now we know Google search can help you find whatever you want, provide you with some handy tools, what about using search to have some fun?

9. Soccer

With the world cup running now, you can access all the scores and schedules of the event by simply searching for soccer or football if youre English.

10. Askew

Let the search engine show you in action what askew is.

11. Zerg Rush

Need to kill some time? Play a game of Zerg Rush on your Google result page and click your way through the little o before they clear off your screen.

12. Do a barrel roll

Type in either do a barrel roll or “z or r twice” and get ready for a second of motion sickness.

13. Atari Breakout

If you need to kill some time and have some fun, but the only website you can access is Google. Go into their image tab and type in Atari Breakout for some good old arcade game.

14. Google in 1998

Ever wonder how Google looks like 20 years ago? Search for Google in 1998 will literally bring you to Google in 1998.

Your Best Tool Yet For Keyword Planning: LSIGraph

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Your Best Tool Yet For Keyword Planning: LSIGraph

Your Best Tool Yet For Keyword Planning: LSIGraph

Your Best Tool Yet For Keyword Planning: LSIGraph

When you start writing a piece of content, you start with a main keyword right?

How do you know what supporting points you’ll need?

What do you need to elaborate on to make sure that you’re creating the most relevant content that will rack up the most views?

How do you know for sure that you’ll rank?

This is where LSI keywords come in handy.

What makes LSI keywords different from just keywords?

LSI keywords stands for Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. Think of it as a list of related keywords under the main keyword’s umbrella.

Now, instead of having just one or two main keywords, you can also have a list of related keywords with just as much search volume and stack it up to build a rank pulling article.

“The more LSI keywords you embed into your content — the better Google understands what your page is about.” Brian Dean – Founder of Backlinko

The point is when you have LSI keywords in your article it increases relevancy. This way, search engines can better understand what your article is about thus ranking it better.

LSI keywords is the key point of your ranking formula.

How can I get started on LSI keyword research?

Well, the obvious path would be to search for your keyword on Google and take note of the related searches.

Those are the terms that you can be sure that Google associates with your main keyword.

But doing that isn’t practical in the long run nor does it gives you much information other than a confirmed association from Google.

There is a unique keyword research tool on the market now that focuses strictly on LSI keywords. Let me give you a run through.

What is LSIGraph?

LSIGraph is our sister site who has a database of 22 million (and counting) LSI keywords.

Simply type in your main keyword and you’ll be served with a list of related keywords. With their premium features you’ll also get access to keyword search volume, cost per click (CPC), competition and LSV.

Let’s break these down into English.

Search Volume – You can know how frequent the phrase was searched in the last 12 months. This is important to make sure your keywords are up-to-date and relevant to your audience’s interest.

Cost-per-click – Not only content creation needs keyword planning, ads need it too. The CPC data is extracted from Google AdWords so you can be sure of how valuable a keyword is.

Competition – This shows you how difficult or how easy it is to rank for this keyword.

Latent Semantic Value – LSV takes into account the search volume, keyword competitiveness and traffic potential from LSIGraph’s database from over six years of service. They created this algorithm that can tell you precisely how valuable an LSI keyword is. The number ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best and 0, the worst. Keywords with a high LSV will be easy to rank, relevant and draws in a bunch of audiences.

How can LSIGraph Premium help me?

It can help you rank and rank high.

LSIGraph a lifetime access to LSI keywords.

Now with a premium access, you can have unlimited searches. Not only that, they will offer you features that uncover all the accompanying data.

What this means is, you can use it for your content planning, your ads planning and serve it to all your clients too.

Upgrade to LSIGraph Premium account to unlock all these cool features.

It is not only a keyword research tool, it is also your keyword planning tool that can help you organize your list of keywords for each content and project you’re outlining.

Get premium access to all these features.

LSIGraph Premium Features

Unlimited LSI keywords searches 24/7, so you can get extensive data on all the keywords’ you’ll need to rank.
Search volume data for the past 12 months of each LSI keywords.
Latent Semantic Value (LSV) that shows you the most valuable keyword to rank. More importantly, attracts those traffics that can turn into leads.
Export your hand picked keywords as PDF & CSV file, no more scribbling down on a notebook or relying on Google Keep.
Endless exclusive white label reports which gives you free reign to customize the report as you like. Yes, you can call these data yours.
Project manager for your every projects and client, so you won’t need to frantically dig through your notebook to recall details for a March 2017 project.

The only semantic focused keyword planning tool in the market

With Google switching to full semantics search, extensive LSI keyword planning will be needed if you want to rank high.

Imagine knowing exactly what you need to write for your content to rank!

With LSIGraph premium you’ll have access to the secret vault of valuable keywords that please your audience and search engines.

The tool can be accessed for free, but the best features are only available with the premium membership.

A tip though. Since they’re launching the premium features now, early birds who sign up get a special discount!

Check out the free version to see the power of LSI keywords for yourself. And if you decide that you like it, it’s never too late to explore it further.

Discover the power of unlimited LSI Keywords

5 Tips – How to Write an SEO Friendly Blog Post That Engages Consumers

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Tips – How to Write an SEO Friendly Blog Post That Engages Consumers

Do you want your blogs to appear at the top of the page one of Google search results? Well, for that, you would have to create blogs that are not only good for search engines but also meaningful for your readers.

Now, how do you do that?

To wrap it up in a few words, you will have to optimize your blogs for both your readers and search engines in order to improve your SERP ratings and increase web traffic and conversion rates. But it’s easier said than done!

Almost everyone who is into writing blogs is aware of the benefits of blogging. If you take the stats into account, you can notice that businesses that create blog posts on a regular basis tend to generate 67 percent more leads than the businesses that haven’t started to invest their faith in content marketing. Today, blogging can give you thirteen times more ROI. Companies that believe in maintaining active blogs get 97 percent more links than the companies that don’t blog at all. And not just that! It is more likely for the websites with blogs to have 434 percent more indexed pages.

Did you see those benefits? You can reap these benefits and more if you have an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy for the blogs you create. If you don’t have that strategy, you’re clearly doing your business a huge disservice.

Given that blogs are a huge catalyst for businesses when it comes to improving online engagement, you can create blogs for your business and use them for its benefit. All you have to do is master the art of SEO. And that’s what this article intends to do. We have compiled a list of techniques that will help you with the optimization of your blogs for search engines. So let’s delve into the details.

1. Get Rid of Stock Images

Every blog that you create must have one good image included in it. Consider it a must. The more attractive you make your blog look with the help of images, the stronger impression it will have on the reader. One image is just the minimum limit per blog. You can use as many images as you want. But the one thing that spoils the visual appeal of your blog is stock images. That’s the reason why the most interactive blog creators invest their time and energy in creating their own images. That’s a wise trick to increase traffic through image search.

2. Use SEO Plugins

When it comes to writing a blog, SEO plugins can help you optimize it for search engines. You need to choose plugins that do not make your website slower by any means. The best SEO plugin you can use is Yoast SEO plugin. It has certain factors according to which you can review your blogs until it’s optimized in a way that is ideal for the purpose of SEO.

3. The Art of Using Keywords

Knowing what keywords you will use in a particular blog is not enough. You need to know how and where to use those keywords in order to boost your Google search engine ranking. The following tips will help you while dealing with SEO algorithms:

  • The best way to incorporate keywords into your writing is to use them naturally without stuffing them. Make sure the topic of your blog and your keywords are aligned decently. If you want some examples of writing content with keywords, then blog posts of Neil Patel, a content marketer, are the best to follow. His blogs are near-perfect examples of using keywords without forcing them into the content.
  • Try to use organic keywords that are easy to read. Avoid using harsh and jarring words as keywords that might make search engines deem your content spammy.
  • Most of the content writers don’t do this, but it’s really fruitful to use keywords in the title of your blog and its headings and subheadings. It makes your blog several times more SEO friendly if you throw in a keyword or two in these areas of your blog without harming the flow of the content.
  • Using the same keyword over and over again is not a very good idea. It would get repetitive. Try using similar words and subtle variations of the keywords you have used. Search engines, especially Google, is very smart when it comes to recognizing the variations in keywords. If you employ this technique, your blog will get you the benefits of SEO.

4. SEO – Structure Is Extremely On-Point

According to Exposure Ninja, a digital marketing service provider, SEO has another meaning. It also stands for Structure Is Extremely On-Point. The truth is there will never be one perfect way to write a blog that is perfect from all perspectives. However, there are several guidelines pertaining to the structure of your blog that bloggers can follow in an attempt to make their content more engaging and SEO friendly.

Before we discuss those guidelines, there’s one thing you must keep in your mind when writing a blog – presentation matters… a lot! It has the power to impress search engine algorithms.

  1. Feisty Title – There are more than a hundred ways of giving your blog a catchy, engaging, and SEO friendly An ideal title should be of about 55 to 70 characters (including spaces).
  2. Subheadings – Blog is not meant to be a body of plain text. You have to break your content into headings, subheadings, and bullets where necessary and possible. It increases readability, makes the content concise and it’s pretty much what SEO algorithms look for.
  3. Blog Length – Continuing to write blog posts of the same word count is bound to harm your blogs’ SEO rankings. Instead of regularly posting blogs with the minimum word count of 500 words, try increasing the word count every once in a while. It avoids patterns to form in your written work. Moreover, lengthier and in-depth content lands a better SEO ranking. Studies show that a blog of 1,800 to 2,000 words ranks better than the blogs of lesser word counts.
  4. CTA – A call to action at the end of your blog goes a long way. First of all, it provides you with an opportunity to use or introduce your company name to the readers and makes it easier for you to convince the readers to take an action in favor of your business. Asking the readers to request a quote from the company via call or email, or making the readers signup for a newsletter are all engaging ideas for a CTA.
  5. Meta Data – Yeah, they still work. Meta title and description is a great way for you to tell search engines what your blog post is about and to tell your audience why they must click on it to give it a read.

5. Links Matter Too!

When you’re bound by a word limit, you can’t write all there is to write about any given topic. That’s where links come into use. Using links within the content is common these days for a good reason. Links can work miracles for your blog’s SEO ranking.

But that doesn’t mean you shall incorporate one link in every sentence.

  1. External Links: When you link your blog with credible external sources to substantiate what you’ve written in your blog, it spikes your blog’s SEO ranking. It validates your facts and provides corroborative evidence. Make sure you don’t provide links to spam websites. Just stick to reputable sources, like BBC News, Guardian etc.
  2. Internal Links: Direct your readers to other important pages of your website. When giving a CTA, you can use a link to your Contact Us page or perhaps to your online store. It just makes it a lot easier for your readers to perform actions you want them to perform. Also, it reduces the bounce rate of your site.
  3. Anchor Text: You know what site to link, but knowing where to link it from is equally important. Remember, search engine algorithms analyze the text you use as anchor text. The best idea for selecting anchor text that links text with other web pages is to pick relevant words. You can do that and you can use a few keywords as anchor text as well. This will improve the status of your blog’s SEO ranking

When you write a blog in WordPress and use links in the text, there’s an option to open those links in a new browser tab. Do not forget to enable this option. It allows your readers to read all there is in your blog before they check out the links that pique their interest.

SEO is nothing but your constant struggle to satisfy the search engine algorithms that have the power to decide the ranking of your web pages when people search for the related content. Taking these guidelines into consideration would surely bring a remarkable change in your blog’s SEO ranking and will do your business some good!

7 Points on The Impact of Social Media on Marketing Strategies

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on 7 Points on The Impact of Social Media on Marketing Strategies

Marketing isn’t the same as it used to be 10 to 15 years ago!

A drastic change in marketing strategies was evident ever since the advent of social media. As of now, as expected, social media has revolutionized the dynamics of marketing. It has helped evolve conventional marketing practices for the good.

Today, thanks to the various platforms of social media, an apparent change has occurred in the way marketers and consumers used to view consumer products and services. The way consumers now perceive a brand is more sophisticated than before because people have become more aware of products, brands, their uses, merits, and demerits. This is why the trend of impulse buying and trigger marketing is gradually diminishing. In short, modern consumers are making informed decisions because of social media!

It’s not as if traditional marketing concepts and tools have gone extinct. They still exist. But the truth is that social media has opened new doors and has created numerous exciting opportunities to engage consumers and sell all kinds of products and services.

This article extensively studies the ways in which social media has altered the conventional marketing strategies. How it has influenced companies to focus on social media marketing and why is it so important for brands to have an effective social media marketing strategy.

1. Consumers Now Have the Power!

Social media is such a pervasive force that it has given consumers the power to control brands. Yes, it sounds a bit strange but that’s what has happened. With social media, dissemination of information has picked up the pace. It has empowered consumers to share their brand stories with the rest of the consumer base. You can very well imagine that this means the fate of brands now lies in the hands of consumers. Or should I say in the hands of consumers who have had not so good brand experiences. Modern marketers admit that the control over brands has slipped out from the hands of companies. Consumers now own brands. They literally have the power to modify your brand perception. All they have to do is share content on social media!

2. The Broadest Customer Base

Social media platforms provide marketers the broadest customer base to target. Their communication can reach billions of people within minutes. Today, there is no other way to reach out to an audience that big and diverse. All marketers have to do is share a post on social media and it gets viral among the audience connected through families, friends, and common interests.

3. The Influential Use of Human Voice

A modern consumer of today understands how traditional marketing used to work. Companies used to engage consumers by the means of advertising that showcased the emotional and functional benefits of a product or service. In most of the cases, those highlighted benefits turned out to be a trick to sell a brand. But not anymore! Now, consumers trust other consumers. Social media allows human voice and words to come into play and build a brand’s perception. Consumers don’t have to trust what companies have to say about their brands. They barely pay any attention to the sanitized messages of the corporate world.

4. Immense Improvement in Customer Service

One of the key areas of marketing is customer service. And social media is like a bridge between corporate management and consumers. Consumers can now reach out to companies whenever they want, and companies cannot get away without responding to consumer feedback. This exchange of communication via social media has shifted the rules of customer service big time. Not only social media facilitates easy communication but also builds a stronger relationship between consumer and corporate management. Companies are now in a better position to tackle customer issues.

One of the best features of social media is that it turns complaints and negative feedback into a positive conversation. There are so many companies, like Delta Airlines, that use their Twitter account to communicate with their customer base. Whenever the management makes amendments in its strategies, a lot of upset customers begin to protest on the company’s Twitter page. If you look at Delta Airlines’ newsfeed, you’ll see how often the company solves consumers’ problems and apologizes for the inconveniences caused. Thus, social media provides companies an opportunity to establish the image of a caring brand. This was not possible with the conventional marketing tools.

5. Social Media Has Improved Segmenting and Targeting

The very basics of marketing involve segmentation of the market to determine the target audience for a particular brand. The traditional methods of marketing included time-consuming ways for that, like market research. But with social media, segmentation and targeting have become easy and more effective. Moreover, social media has proven to be quite effective for micro-segment and niche targeting because it’s easier to reach out to an ultra-specific audience and collect data pertaining to demographics, psychographics, and purchase behaviors.

6. Social Media Has Made Marketing More Creative

The environment that social media provides for communication purposes is very comfortable for both customers and companies. It’s creative and flexible as well. Here’s how social media has impacted marketing:

  • Quality Insights – owing to social media, marketers have access to an unimaginable amount of data and valuable insights coming in from consumers. Marketers use that data wisely for analytical purposes to make inferences that were not possible before. In other words, social media has provided marketers with an opportunity to study consumer behavior for long periods of time with almost no disturbance. Marketers can gauge consumers by their profile information, liked posts, and shared content. All this is done to devise highly effective marketing campaigns.
  • Highly Organic Marketing Campaigns – The best marketing campaign is the one that doesn’t remind consumers it is a promotional activity. In the past, it was a difficult tactic to master. But with social media, marketers are able to devise ubiquitous campaigns which don’t feel like advertising at all. If truth be told, with social media, brands have become an active part of consumers’ social experience.

These days, social media and marketing are considered synonymous to the extent that many companies have made departments for social media marketing. The job of these departments is to interact with more and more consumers on different social media platforms on a regular basis.

7. The Impact of Social Media on Advertising

Marketing has never been considered complete without convincing and impressive advertising. And guess what, social media has altered the norms of advertising as well. Someone who has the basic knowledge of marketing would know that traditional marketing used to play with the famous and well-known 4 Ps – Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. Social media has added another P to the list, i.e. People.

Social media platforms have a global reach. And platforms like Facebook and Twitter have so much useful and informational data that marketers can safely invest millions of dollars in running meticulously targeted advertising campaigns on these platforms. Today, Facebook is no longer a fun place to hang out. Not since 2013, when Facebook partnered with data brokers like Epsilon, Datalogix, and Acxiom. Courtesy of these partnerships, Facebook has more than 500 million active users with each user having an average of 1,500 data points. Thus, Facebook has a huge audience worth advertising for.

If a user just got married, Facebook would know. If a user is jobless and looking for opportunities, Facebook can easily inform you. If a user is suffering from cancer, Facebook is definitely aware. There’s no limit to what information Facebook has about its users. And for advertisers, it’s like a dream come true.

Do you see how social media has changed the advertising game?

Advertisers can select the niche on Facebook they want to target and advertise their product or service to that carefully selected niche. For instance, a fancy toy store owner in New Jersey can now display its ads to parents living in California who earn $45,000 to $70,000 annually and have children between the ages of 6 to 13.

If this isn’t a game-changer, what would be?

The Future of Social Media Marketing

As social media continues to evolve and become stronger with each passing day, the one thing that’s certain is that factors like consumer influence on brands and interconnectivity will be focused upon more in the modern marketing mix. With new video-based social media platforms, like Snapchat and Periscope, gaining a lot of traction these days, video marketing is expected to become the latest standard for customer service and advertising.

Another cool thing about social media is that it’s highly unpredictable – in a good way! The only direction social media is expected to move in the future is forward. That much we know. But it’s difficult to predict what kind of advancements it will bring in the world of marketing and advertising. All we can say at the moment is that social media has grown to become extremely vital and necessary for businesses. It’s about time businesses realized the importance of social media and invest heavily in this highly rewarding medium.

#1 – How to Spend Less Time Doing SEO

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on #1 – How to Spend Less Time Doing SEO

Hey guys, in the first episode of The SEO Life Podcast I’ll be explaining how you can spend less time doing SEO. Mainly, how you can spend less time on tasks that have little, or no impact on your results.

If you enjoyed this first episode please subscribe on Soundcloud. Thank you for listening!

11 Huge Reasons to AVOID Blogspot

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 11 Huge Reasons to AVOID Blogspot

11 Huge Reasons to AVOID Blogspot

If there’s anyone who can advise you against Blogspot, it’s me. That’s because I started my first blog using Google’s free Blogger platform.

Why did I do it?

Well, because I was a newbie and I was dead broke. So, it made sense at the time to take advantage of a free blogging platform.

My first blog was in the baseball pitching niche and it had the traditional ugly “website.blogspot.com” subdomain. I eventually saw the light and moved to a custom domain, which ended up being a nightmare. More on this in a second.

With that said, here’s why you should Blogspot at all costs:

1. You’ll Hurt Your Brand/Credibility

If you’re trying to build a company or trying to make a living as a blogger, then you need to avoid Blogspot. All you need to do is examine whatever industry you want to enter. Do any of the successful companies or bloggers have Blogspot blogs? I can predict that the answer is no.

You need to host your blog on your own custom domain. I recommend WordPress because I believe it’s the best, but there are some other options out there such as Wix, Medium, or even Shopify.

You need to think long-term about your decision.

Are you serious about building a company?
Are you serious about making money as a blogger?

If the answer is yes, then you need to act accordingly.

I’ll admit that I was scared back in 2011 when I start my first blog. I didn’t know if what I was doing would actually work out. So that’s why the took a cowardly approach and built my blog on a free platform like Blogspot.

Don’t emulate what I did.

Trust me… If I could go back, I would have never wasted my time with Blogspot.

Instead, I would have just bitten the bullet and purchased my own custom domain and web hosting. With that said, avoid Blogspot blogs if you’re serious about building a brand (or personal brand).

As an SEO, I feel it’s borderline criminal to use Blogspot because…

2. They Don’t Perform Well in Google

This isn’t a hypothesis. Just go to Google and search for ANYTHING and let me know when you find a .blogspot.com ranking.

I’ll wait…

Okay, just kidding.

I won’t wait because I know you won’t find any! At least not for any worthwhile, non-branded keywords.

It’s actually ironic that blogs created on Google’s own blogging platform don’t perform well in Google.

SEO is already challenging enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself/impossible by using Blogspot.

One of the biggest factors for performing well in Google are backlinks.

Blogspot will fail you on this front as well.

3. It Will Be Challenging to Acquire Backlinks

I can tell you now that most bloggers are NOT willing to link to Blogspot blogs. Bloggers are skeptical about linking out in general. So, their already engrained skepticism plus your .blogspot.com subdomain is a recipe for low conversion rates on your outreach.

And sadly, if you can’t acquire backlinks, you’re really going to struggle in organic search.

But wait… there’s more:

4. You Won’t Build Website Authority

One of the most important objective of link building and SEO in general is build website authority. That’s because building your website’s authority makes ranking much easier.

This is why websites like Forbes can rank on the second and even first page within hours of publishing. Since most bloggers won’t link out to Blogspot blogs, you’ll struggle to build website authority.

Naturally I’ve decided to focus on the SEO reasons why you should avoid this free blogging platform.

However, there are some non-SEO reasons to avoid it as well.

5. You Don’t “Own” Your Blog

That’s right. Blogger.com owns your content. That means you can spend months or even years creating SEO content and it can be erased in a second.

This alone should be enough to make you avoid this platform.

The beauty of a custom domain and self-hosted blog is that you actually own your content.

You’re not restricted by another company’s terms and conditions. Bringing me to my next point…

6. You Must Follow Blogspot’s Terms and Conditions

Because Blogger owns your blog and all your content, you must follow their rules. Meaning, by even signing up, you are agreeing to their terms.

If you do something they deem “out of line”, they can delete your blog in an instant.

But let’s say you follow the terms and you start seeing some traffic growth from your Blogspot blog. Well, unfortunately, there’s more bad news…

7. You Can’t Monetize

Blogger.com is extremely restrictive about how you can monetize your blog. You can use AdSense on your blog, but there are restrictions against services and product sales.

Once again… why get into a situation where your brand is tied down? This can be avoided at the onset.

So, you know that Blogspot sucks for your SEO and your freedom, but it also sucks because:

8. Customization is Limited

There are endless design and UX possibilities with a WordPress blog. The same isn’t true for Blogspot. They have a limited selection of themes and customization is a struggle if you aren’t a web developer.

Trust me. I tried custom designing my first blog and it was an embarrassment.

Not only that, I wasted SO MUCH time trying to tweak the design and aesthetics.

Just ask my wife. She thought I was insane in college when I tweaked the design 5-10 times a day, trying to get it “just right.”

I cringe thinking about how much time I wasted messing with Blogspot blogs.

A part from all the reasons I’ve listed, there’s something else that no one talks about:

9. Many .Blogspot Blogs Are Brutalized with Spam

Creating web 2.0s for link building purposes is a popular grey hat method.

That means grey hat link builders will create a free Blogspot blog, throw some content on there, and link to their actual website. This is an easy way to score a backlink (although it’s artificial). I would say that building out web 2.0s is one of the most overused grey hat link building tactics there is.

Do you really want to host your blog on a platform that SEO use for spam?

I know I wouldn’t.

And if I’ve given any ideas about using web 2.0s for link building, please listen carefully… You CAN get penalized for using web 2.0s if the sole objective is to host a backlink.

How do I know?

Because I’ve gotten several manual actions removed for clients that abused this tactic. As soon as we got the Blogspot links removed, they manual actions were revoked. Don’t mess around. Seriously. Now I mentioned earlier that moving from Blogspot to a custom domain is a nightmare. Here’s why.

10. Moving to a Custom Domain is a Nightmare

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people starting Blogspot blogs do not have experience with site migrations or web development.

The reason I’m making this assumption is because that was true for me back in the day.

When I realized I was headed down a dead-end, I had the daunting task of migrating my Blogspot blog to a custom domain.

So, what did I do?

I copy and pasted one page at a time. Not my proudest moment.

The good news is that I’ve done enough stupid stuff, so you don’t have to.

Not only is migrating a huge headache, but it will also negatively impact your SEO performance (if you had any).

301 redirect are suppose to pass 100% of the authority and backlink equity. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to happen in practice. That means that even if you perform your migration correctly, you site’s SEO performance will likely suffer for awhile.

This can all be avoid if you just start your blog on a custom domain.

But I have one last reason why you should avoid Blogspot and it has nothing to do with marketing, branding, or anything technical. At the end of the day, if you choose to create a free blog, it shows that…

11. You Aren’t Fully Committed

You need to have skin in the game. Nothing puts more fear into people that losing money. How do I know? Because that was me. I was so scared when I transitioned into buying a domain and paying for hosting every month.

I’m not trying to give you financial advice here. I just know from personal experience that when you commit money, it changes your entire mindset.

Especially when you’re paying for hosting every month. It lights a fire under you because you don’t want to continue being in the red every month.

That means you’ll figure out a way to grow your traffic and income. It’s the push that most people need in my opinion. It worked for me.

Last Words About Blogspot

Sorry for being a negative Nancy, but I hate seeing people waste their time.

Building a Blogspot blog is a waste of time and resources.

Bite the bullet and commit to buying a custom domain. You can thank me later when you don’t have to go through all the garbage I did.

Do you want more people to visit your blog?

Enroll in my new SEO 101 course. This course will first show you how to convert the traffic you’re already getting. Then, it will show you how to explode your organic search traffic by leveraging the power of SEO.

It’s free to enroll, so you have nothing to lose.

Enroll Today!

UX: what is it and why does it matter?

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on UX: what is it and why does it matter?

UX: what is it and why does it matter?

Why are we talking about UX?

Put simply, UX is important in every part of our daily lives, probably more than most of us even notice. Let’s walk through an example.  

The 2000 U.S presidential election was extremely contentious. Here are the results:

Pay attention to the highlighted “Electoral vote” and “Popular vote” statistics. In the United States, the president wins by getting a majority of electoral college votes. Each of the 50 states has a number of electoral college votes and whichever candidate wins your state gets all of the electoral college votes from your state. The election that year came down to the state of Florida and its electoral college votes. George Bush won the state by 537 votes out of almost six million votes. Crazy!

It gets even more interesting. Here is what a ballot looked like in a county in Florida that year:

If you were voting for George Bush, which button would you press? The answer is the button marked with an A. Easy.

What would you press if you were voting for Al Gore? Well, he is second on the list so you would press the second button labeled B. Wrong. Pressing B would send your vote to the Reform candidate Pat Buchanan. If you wanted to vote for Gore, you would need to press the button labeled C. If you are confused, so were many voters in Florida.

The small margin of victory and this confusing ballot lead to a recount of votes and a U.S Supreme Court decision.

This is a clear example of poor UX. The design choices for the ballot lead to confusion and error and impacted the result of a U.S election.

Why does any of this matter for SEO? Let’s talk about it.

How does this matter for SEO?  

In one phrase: Machine Learning.

Machine learning algorithms are taking over SEO. Google still uses traditional SEO signals (links, keywords) but machine learning adds another layer to their algorithm.

Google uses traditional SEO signals to show initial results but then uses machine learning to iterate on those results based on user feedback. If Google displays a page, a user clicks and lands on that page, the user then immediately bounces back to the SERP, Google’s machine learning algorithms will know not to display the result.

When a user does not engage with a page, that sends a very clear signal to Google. This is why UX has become crucial if you want your site to rank.

Is UX hard to measure? It sure is. We at Distilled have been talking about this for years.

Here is an article that explains our approach to quantifying UX and quality signals. Google has human testers who go onto sites and manually rate them on quality and UX. Our survey emulates Google’s human testing and gives us information on UX related issues.

How else can you know that UX is a problem for your site? Think about how many of the following issues your site can relate to:

You have done a full technical audit and there is nothing (or very few) technical issues with your site
You are not hit by any manual penalty
Your site decreased in rank (and traffic) around the same time Google announced quality updates
Your domain authority is relatively high compared to your competitors and your backlink profile is in a good place

If all or most of the above sounds familiar to you and your site does not rank competitively in its space, UX is a huge potential opportunity.

UX has several components and as Google’s algorithms continue to advance, sites who take care to emphasize UX will reap the benefits in the SERPs.

Whether or not you are designing a ballot for a presidential election or making a site to sell t-shirts, UX matters.

Ok, UX is important. I get that. I still don’t know what it is and what I can do?

You

What is UX?

The phrases UX and UX Design get thrown around a lot. Often, if a website or app does not look visually appealing, people say “that site has bad UX.” But what is UX and what does it really mean?

UX is composed of seven key factors:

Useful
Usable  
Findable
Credible
Desirable
Accessible
Valuable

Useful

This is simple. Is your product / website useful? If you have a website, then the question you need to ask yourself is “is my website promoting a product or service people want?”

It is important to note that “useful” is certainly in the eye of the beholder.  Your website can be promoting products or services that provide non-practical benefits such as PPC. What matters most is that your target audience finds it useful.

Usable

Can users utilize your website or product effectively and efficiently? If not, then you may lose out to competitors. In a world where websites are increasing and attention spans are decreasing, if your site is not easy to use, your competitors will reap the benefits.

Findable

Can users find your product? In the case of websites, is the information and content easy to find? This about Wikipedia. As soon as you land on the page, you know exactly where the content is and what to expect. In the vase of a Wikipedia biography, the first sentence usually contains the pronunciation of the persons name. The right corner usually has a box with a picture as well as info on birth dates, education, and profession. It doesn’t matter who the person is, if you go on Wikipedia and look at the biography you will be able to find the information you are looking for.

Credible

“Fool me one time, shame on you, fool me twice can’t put the blame on you” – J.Cole

Web users have no patience for sites that are not credible. For a product, it should do the job but also last a long time. For a website, the information provided should be accurate and fit for whatever brought the user to the page. Even search engines have gotten into the credibility game by delivering benefits to sites that are HTTPS vs HTTP.

Desirable

Do people want your product? Do people brag about using your product or site? Think about cars. A Toyota and a Mercedes are both great cars. If given either for free, which would you choose?

Desirability is all about branding, design and aesthetics. This is not to say that sites that lack in these areas will not perform well. But if a user can access the same information from a more desirable website, they will undoubtedly choose to do so.

Your local newspaper and news outlets such as the New York Times and the Guardian probably cover similar issues when it comes to major world events. Which outlet do you read?  

Accessible

Accessibility often gets overlooked, but it is crucial. Accessible products and sites are those that can be used by an audience of a wide range of abilities.

Accessibility needs can be those with physical or learning impairments. This crucial area of UX gets overlooked due to judgements made that disabled individuals do not make up a big percentage of the market. However, the US census estimates that nearly 20% of Americans have a disability. This number is expected to be even higher in developing nations.

Accessibility is so important that Google has created documentation to help webmasters make their sites more accessible.

Value

Value is what encompasses all of the other principles mentioned. Users will find your product or service valuable if it is useful, usable, findable, credible, desirable, and accessible, then users will see value in your product or site. If your site does not provide value, then it will not get users.

Thanks for taking the time to read. If you have any thoughts or questions feel free to reach out to me in the comments below or via the Distilled Twitter account.

How to Create, Measure and Optimize High-Quality Content – Google-Friendly

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to Create, Measure and Optimize High-Quality Content – Google-Friendly

How to Create, Measure and Optimize High-Quality Content – Google-Friendly

Everybody is talking about high-quality content but what does it even mean these days? That’s what we are going to find out today. There’s no content marketing inception. The truth is that high-quality content is contextual and for maximum results, it requires three steps: keyword research, good content writing, and on-page search engine optimization.

 

Let’s find out how to perform top-notch keyword research, how to measure results and optimize pages up front for astonishing on-page SEO, respecting Google’s quality guidelines. It might sound sophisticated but as long as you write unique content, provide valuable content to the user compared to other pages, offer insightful analysis, Google will reward you.

 

 

We have to admit that there is a noisy environment due to the high amount of content on the web. So let’s try to shed some light within the “high-quality content”; what does it mean, how to create it and how to measure it. 

 

What is High-Quality Content
How to Create High-Quality Content

Monitor Topics
Perform Keyword Research
Gather Keyword Data From Previous Paid Search Campaigns (optional)
Spy on Your Competitors

How to Optimize Your Content Following the Google-Approved Way

Make a Content Plan
Follow Successful Content Stories for Insights
Use the Terminology You Collected in Keyword Research Phase

Three Methods to Measure High-Quality Content

Google Search Console
Rank Tracking
Google Analytics

 

I have a saying that I go by in the whole process of creating high-quality content: don’t be a dwarf against giants, but rather the peak they are trying to reach.

 
1. What is High-Quality Content

 

Google explains very well what is high-quality content and how you can achieve it:

 

If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic.

Google

 

 

Google Panda algorithm was designed to distinguish and reward the high-quality content from all the worthless one. In order to have good results, content should first answer some questions regarding its quality, such as:

 

Would you trust the information presented in this article?
Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

 

You can find lots of other questions you should ask yourself on Google Webmaster Central Blog

 

After all the algorithm updates that passed by us, being witness to tons of (sometimes useless) content written every day, we got to the point where we can easily spot the quality of the ordinary in the web. As you can see, everybody is talking about quality and not quantity, but few of them really know what makes a piece of content qualitative.

 

If you’re starting to use the quality content terminology for everything that you think “it is a great idea”, then you might not distinguish the good from the bad. 

Quality content is defined by success. It is defined by a goal and it must bring good metrics/results.

Performance is what really matters. Avoid tricks intended to improve your search rankings and “get you on the first page in one week”.

 

It does matter how much time you spend creating the content or if you think it might be a good idea. You must understand that your audience has the final say.

 

Your content must be lovable.

 

That’s right. You must attract the audience. Context is a great help for getting lovable content. We can define quality content by that type of content that fulfills the needs of the user. Especially now, when personalized content is on the rise and native advertising is a content marketing trend.

 

But what exactly does context mean?

 

Google developed patents for discovering the contextual content through topical searches to offer valuable information and increase the user experience. Actually, through context Google wants to recognize the user intent.

 

If you want to have contextual content you must think very well at your topic and point out all the answers. 

 

If you’re searching for “Batman” in October, most likely you’ll be shown websites selling Halloween costumes. If you’re searching for “Batman” while you are in Turkey, you will probably be redirected to info related to the city of Batman.

 

Contextual content relates to the location as well. You have to know your niche very well in order to provide value through your content and appeal to them.

 

Your audience gives value to your content.

 

You’ve heard it before: if your audience loves the content, Google will definitely love it too. No more shenanigans, no more shortcuts or shitty content. Talk from your heart, in your own words, from your experience. And give wisdom and pieces of advice.

 

Lots of SEO specialists say that the era of “content is king” has ended, and made room for the saying “context is king”.

 

Evergreen content can be an example of quality content. Is that type of content that will always be “available”, accurate. It will teach your audience. It passes the test of time, being relevant at every hour of the day. It won’t bring you spikes in traffic, it will sustain it.

 

Imagine if you can offer a quality answer to a question that is timeless. You’ll be sitting on a gold mine. Original content is considered to have quality. Zach Bulygo agrees.

Original also means originality. Your ideas should be original! Rehashing the same concepts or other posts over and over again is not original. If your content is played out, no one will link to it – and that defeats the purpose of writing content in the first place.

 Zach Bulygo

Content writer at Kissmetrics / @zachcb1

 
2. How to Create High-Quality Content

 

Quality content doesn’t come very often and it is not something you can achieve fast. Nobody can predict with accuracy if your articles will be successful, but there are some things you could do to influence the outcome.

 
Step 1: Monitor Topics

 

You could find yourself in one of these two situations: either you have already written some articles or you are starting fresh. In case you are finding yourself in the first situation, you have the advantage of testing the market and having a clue about your audience. In case you are on the second situation, then it’s our time to shine, see what your competitors are doing, know your product, and start to write content, test and write again until you find what is working for you. 

 

If you are already on the “content market”, first you need to check the data of your previously published articles to see which articles worked best (with high numbers in traffic and higher rankings).

 

Larry Kim explains it better:

 

You need the quantity to find the quality.

Larry Kim

Founder of WordStream

 
Step 2: Perform Keyword Research

 

Once you know what topic works for you, you can search for keywords and try to find out the lexical field to know all the terminology. Keyword research is mandatory in this phase. There are lots of tools that can easily do the job for you. Keyword Tool is an example that is very easy and fast to use. In a quick search, it reveals thousands of related topics & keywords opportunities.

 

 

There are some things you should know once you get here. Look at the volume and keyword difficulty. Look for keywords with high search volume. If the difficulty score is around 50, that means the competition for that keyword is medium. 

 

In the screenshot above you can see what search results for “protein shakes”. You can find new topic ideas, search for specific keywords depending on which user intent you are tracking.  

 

 

You search for questions in case the user wants to learn how to do something (for “how-tos” articles); for focus keywords in case you want to cover a more comprehensive blog post; phrase match for specific situations and so on.

 

Keyword research will never be out of style. It will always be in trend. It’s a must. But another must is knowing to be selective and wise.

 

Keyword Tool can work very well with other tricks I am following myself. Google is a bundle of information. You can search for the specific query in the search bar and see what other people are searching for with the autocomplete feature.

 

 

Since Google becomes more contextual, it is best if you try and use this practice. Results might differ from one location to another. Also, on Google’s bottom of the page, you can see searches related to your query.

 

 

 

Performing these quick searches might help you get a better understanding of what do people are looking for, and also what type of information you can find on the first page. Do you differentiate yourself from the competition? Are you providing added value? Will your piece of content be unique? If your answer is yes to all thse questions, then you’re on the right track.

 

There are also free tools that can strengthen your keyword research:

Google Adwords (there is a free option);
Kparser;
KWFinder;
Answer The Public.

 
Step 3: Gather Keyword Data From Previous Paid Search Campaigns (optional)

 

Google Adwords offers historical information of your data you can use for driving SEO traffic. For example, you can see the time frame when your campaigns are performing best, which keywords work best, and how much traffic you’re bringing to your website, and you can optimize those metrics.

 

 

You can receive information for monthly searches and see exactly which month has more or lower searches. That is influenced if you are searching for a query for seasonal content. The available data for the free account are average monthly searches, competition level, lowest and highest bid. 

 

When you finished with the keyword research, you should focus your attention on the competition. We mentioned it before and it is a step you shouldn’t skip. Look at the first 10 positions in Google or Bing to see what topics were debated, what is already written, what’s missing with the purpose of highlighting your added value.

 
Step 4: Spy on Your Competitors

 

In terms of content, there are a lot of things to take into consideration and that’s why tools have high benefits in the content creation process. For example, Keyword Tool will show a list of all the pages with some extra information that is hard to collect by hand.

 

In the screenshot bellow, it is highlighted the data gathered for each page:

(1) the content score, which is calculated based on the keyword pattern form all the pages that rank for the specific search queries.
(2) the number of focus keywords used out of the total of keywords used to calculate the content score.
(3) the readability score calculated using the Flesch – Kincaid readability scale which indicates how complicated a piece of text is to understand. 
(4) the number of keywords on the page.
(5) the list of keywords used to calculate the Content Performance score for that particular web page.

 

 

Having an idea of your competition is a good insight for you to cover-up what’s missing and improve search engine content discovery offering the best piece of content. With such a rich handful of data, you’re prepared to go to the next step: optimization.

 
3. How to Optimize Your Content Following the Google-Approved Way

 

If we are talking about optimization you must understand that natural language paired with traditional on-site SEO techniques are the key to success. Highly readable pages are the winner in the whole content-discovery adventure.

 
Step 1: Make a Content Plan

 

Google is evaluating multiples factors using various quality signals to see if your content is relevant to a specific query. At this point, there is nothing tricky, just a lot of math and natural language processing. To save time and effort, Content Assistant will help you identify the exact keywords your content is missing to rank higher.

 

 

The mechanism is simple and fast:

paste all the content in the Content Assistant to start analyzing it;
add keyword suggestion to increase your content performance score;
rewrite the underperforming content and add new content, if needed, to make the keywords inclusion more logical and natural.

 

Of course, the content performance score is not the only factor that matters when Google ranks a webpage but, it can give you an idea of the position you can achieve. Link metrics are important as well.

 
Step 2: Follow Successful Optimization Stories for Insights

 

I’ve written about content optimization before, even cited a few success stories, from Jason Acidre, co-founder at Xight Interactive, Greenlane Agency, and lots of others, and they all had one thing in common: knowing their market and adding content naturally – in context, I might add. No spamming. No duplicate content.  

 

The story and the idea remain the most interesting part.

 

Getting the public to like you isn’t an easy job. First, you get into their sight, and then make them fall in love with your content. Even if these two seem to be two separated steps, their work together. Here’s the content strategy I follow and try to stick to each article:

 

Find a topic: usually from Social Media comments on your page, from our customers on support, from blog comments, different talks, news, newsletter, trends and so on.
Start pulling out some notes so you have the whole idea.
Organize the notes into a structure.
Start documenting and writing: Make sure you have a catchy introduction to appeal to your audience.
Craft an eye-candy headline that offers benefits to the audience and has a strong call to action.
Perform on-site optimization: Make sure you have optimized title tags, meta descriptions, images, URLs with the keywords you had chosen.
Optimize the content using the Content Assistant tool for 2-3 keywords (max).
Promote the content: newsletter, social media, content syndication and so on.

 
Step 3: Use the Terminology You Collected in Keyword Research Phase

 

In the optimization phase, you must follow a natural path to use focus keywords. As I mentioned before, you must think at the context, and that translates into adding keywords that are relevant to your focus keyword in the article.

 

If you use a keyword research tool you’ll get a full list of recommendations, that is very good to add them in your content. If you are using Content Assistant, then it will be easier for you to select from auto-generated keywords list, getting insights into how well you will rank in Google.

 

 

Start with “keywords you should use” and focus on the ones that have a bold font and a dot in front of them, then circle around the rest from that list. Once you finished adding all the relevant keywords, move the “keywords you should use more often” by following the same procedure.

 

Once you finished this step, you can promote your blog post and keep track of the outcome.

 
4. Three Methods to Measure the Effects of Your Article

 

Measuring the results is a step that can’t be avoided. You should keep track of the keyword you optimized the content to see the evolution.

 
Method 1: Google Search Console

 

GSC or Google Webmaster tools is a good support for this. Go to your account » Search Traffic » Search Analytics and track individual pages.

 

 

As you can see in the next screenshot, you have data on the number of impressions, average CTR, and average position. Search for your page to see how well is ranking: Pages » Filter Pages and paste the URL.

 

 
Method 2: Rank Tracking

 

You can also use the Rank Tracking tool to see the whole list of keywords at once and follow the historical trending line. You have to add the keywords and after that, you’ll have to wait to see how it is evolving day by day.

 

 

For a massive content optimization, you should look at the search visibility to see if you’re on an ascendant line or not. The search visibility shows you how your websites ranks overall for all the possible keyword combination that you might be or might not be aware of. Below you can see an example:

 

 
Method 3: Google Analytics

 

Google Analytics is another provider that can offer qualitative data, most of the times. I’ve conducted an informative guide some time ago on how to improve search engines rankings using Google Analytics data which I recommend you reading it. It is a good starter for understanding your audience: likes, interests, behavior, demographics. You’ll find out how to improve your conversion rates and see which type of content brings more traffic, from what sources and other technical information.

 

All the data you get will help you have a better content management.

 

Conclusion

 

Writing high-quality content isn’t so hard, but it isn’t piece of cake either. It requires knowledge, desire, strategical thinking and tools to ease up the work. If you understand what quality content and relevant content means, then you’re two steps forward.

 

You need an idea and then craft unique content around it to differentiate yourself from the audience. On-site optimization is the next step. Use the right keyword to create context and highlight the quality of your content. In the end, promote it and track the results.

 

Analytical data offers valuable insights into your content, audience, and business in general. It can bring a lot of benefits to start mushrooming your inbound marketing strategies and outperform your actual content marketing campaign. All these steps will help you fulfill your goals so best of luck in using them!

 

The post How to Create, Measure and Optimize High-Quality Content – Google-Friendly appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Blurring the Line Between CDN and CMS

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Blurring the Line Between CDN and CMS

Blurring the Line Between CDN and CMS

Cloudflare recently announced that they’re launching a new feature, called “Cloudflare Workers”. It provides the ability for anybody who’s using Cloudflare as a CDN to write arbitrary JavaScript (based on the standard Service Worker API), which runs on Cloudflare’s edge nodes.

In plain English, you’ll be able to write code which changes the content, headers, look, feel and behaviour of your pages via the Cloudflare CDN. You can do this without making development changes on your servers, and without having to integrate into existing site logic.

If you’re familiar with JavaScript, you can just log into Cloudflare, and start writing logic which runs on top of your server output.

Why is this helpful?

As SEOs, we frequently work with sites which need technical improvements or changes. But development queues are often slow, resources restricted, and website platforms complex to change. It’s hard to get things changed or added.

So many of us have grown comfortable with using workarounds like Google Tag Manager to implement SEO changes – like fixing broken canonical URL tags, or adding robots directives to pages – and hoping that Google respects or understand the conflicting signals we send when we mix on-page and JavaScript-based rules.

But whilst Google professes to be capable of crawling, indexing and understanding JavaScript content and websites, all of the research suggests that they get it wrong as often as they get it right.

Cloudflare’s announcement is significant because, unlike tag management platforms, the alterations are made server-side, before the page is sent to the user – Google only sees the final, altered code and content. There’s no messy JavaScript in the browser, no cloaking, and no conflicting logic.

Service workers on the edge

Cloudflare, like other CDNs, has servers all over the world. When users request a URL on your website, they’re automatically routed to the nearest geographic ‘edge node’, so that users access the site via a fast, local connection. This is pretty standard stuff.

What’s new, however, is that you can now write code which runs at those edge nodes, which allows fine-grained control over how the page is presented to the end user based on their location, or using any logic you care to specify.

With full control over the response from the CDN, it’s possible to write scripts which change title tags, alter canonical URLs, redirect the user, change HTTP headers, or which add completely new functionality; you can adapt, change, delete, build upon or build around anything in the content which is returned from the server.

It’s worth noting that other platforms, like AWS, already launched something like this in July 2017. The concept of making changes at the edge isn’t completely new, but AWS uses a different approach and technology stack.

Specifically, AWS requires users to write functions in Node.js (a common server-side JavaScript framework), using a specific and proprietary approach to how requests/responses are handled. This comes with some advantages (like being able to use some Node.js libraries) but locks you into a very specific approach.

Cloudflare’s solution is based on the Service Worker API (as opposed to Node.js), which might look like a more future-proof approach.

Service workers are the current framework of choice for progressive web apps (PWAs), managing structured markup, and playing with new/emerging formats as Google (and the wider web) moves from favouring traditional websites to embracing more app-like experiences. That makes it a good skill set to learn, to use, and potentially to recycle existing code and solutions from elsewhere in your ecosystem.

That PWAs look likely to be the next (arguably, the current) big thing means that service workers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but Node.js might just be the current flavour of the month.

Getting hands-on

Cloudflare provides a sandbox for you to test and visualise changes on any website, though it’s unclear whether this is part of their launch marketing or something which will be around for the long-term (or a component of the editor/deployment system itself).

That’s a lot of power to play with, and I was keen to explore what it looks like in practice.

It took me just a few minutes to modify one of the scripts on their announcement page to add the word ‘awesome’ (in a pleasing shade of orange) to Distilled’s homepage. You can check out the code here.

Whilst this is hugely powerful, it doesn’t come without risks and drawbacks. For a start, you’ll need to have some sharp JavaScript skills to write any rules, and you’re going to have to do it without any external supporting libraries of frameworks (like jQuery).

Service workers can be complex to work with, too. For example, all of your changes are asynchronous; they all run in parallel, at the same time. That makes things lightning fast, but it means that some complex logic which relies on specific ordering or dependencies might be challenging to write and maintain.

And with all of this, there’s also no nice WYSIWYG interface, guides or tutorials (other than general JS or service worker questions on StackOverflow). You’ll be flying by the seat of your pants, spending most of your time trying to work out why your code doesn’t work. And if you need to turn to your developers for help, you’re back at our initial problem – they’re busy, they have other priorities, and you’re fighting for resources.

A meta CMS is not a toy

As we increasingly find ourselves turning to workarounds for long development cycles, issues which “can’t be fixed”, and resolving technical challenges, it’s tempting to see solutions like Google Tag Manager and Cloudflare Workers as viable solutions.

If we can’t get the thing fixed, we can patch over it with a temporary solution which we can deploy ‘higher up the stack’ (a level ‘above’/before the CMS), and perhaps reprioritise and revisit the actual problem at a later date.

You can fix your broken redirects. You can migrate to HTTPS and HTTP/2. You can work through all those minor template errors which the development team will never get to.

But as this way of working becomes habit, it’s not unusual to find that the solutions we’re using (whether it’s Google Tag Manager, Cloudflare, or our own ODN) take on the characteristics of ‘Meta CMSs’; systems which increasingly override our templates, content and page logic, and which use CMS-like logic to determine what the end user sees.

Over time, we build up more and more rules and replacement, until we find that there’s a blurring of lines between which bits of our website and content we manage in each platform.

This creates a bunch of risks and challenges, such as:

What happens when the underlying code changes, or when rules conflict?
If you’re using a tag manager or CDN to layer changes ‘on top’ of HTML code and pages, what happens when developers make changes to the underlying site logic?

More often than not, the rules you’ve defined to layer your changes break, with potentially disastrous consequences. And when you’ve multiple rules with conflicting directives, how do you manage which ones win?

How do you know what does what?
Writing rules in raw JavaScript doesn’t make for easily readable, at-a-glance understanding of what’s being altered.

When you’ve got lots of rules or particularly complex scripts, you’ll need a logging or documentation process to provide human-friendly overviews of how all of the moving parts work and interact.

Who logs what’s where?
If conflicts arise, or if you want to update or make new changes you’ll need to edit or build on top of your existing systems. But how do you know which systems – your CMS or your meta CMS – are controlling which bits of the templates, content and pages you want to modify?

You’ve got rules and logic in multiple places, and it’s a headache keeping track.

When the CEO asks why the page he’s looking at is broken, how do you begin to work out why, and where, things have gone wrong?

How do you do QA and testing?
Unless your systems provide an easy way to preview changes, and allow you to expose testing URLs for the purposes of QA, browser testing and similar, you’ve got a system with a lot of power and very little quality control. At the moment, it doesn’t look like Cloudflare supports this.

How do you manage access and versioning?
As your rules change, evolve and layer over time, you’ll need a way of managing version control, change logging, and access/permissions. It’s unclear if, or how Cloudflare will attack this at the moment, but the rest of their ecosystem is generally lacking in this regard.

How do you prevent accidental exposure/caching/PII etc?
When you’ve full access to every piece of data flowing to or from the server, you can very easily do things which you probably shouldn’t – even accidentally. It doesn’t take much to accidentally store, save, or expose private user information, credit card transaction details, and other sensitive content.

With great power comes great responsibility, and just writing-some-javascript can have unintended consequences.

In general then, relying overly on your CDN as a meta CMS feels like a risky solution. It’s good for patching over problems, but it’s going to cause operational and organisational headaches.

That’s not to say that it’s not a useful tool, though. If you’re already on Cloudflare, and you have complex challenges which you can resolve as a one-off fix using Cloudflare Workers, then it’s a great way to bypass the issue and get some easy wins.

Alternatively, if you need to execute geographically specific content, caching or redirect logic (at the closest local edge node to the user), then this is a really great tool – there are definitely use cases around geographically/legally restricted content where this is the perfect tool for the job.

Otherwise, it feels like trying to fix the problem is almost always going to be the better solution. Even if your developers are slow, you’re better off addressing the underlying issues at their source than patching on layers of (potentially unstable) fixes over the top.

Sometimes, Cloudflare Workers will be an elegant solution – more often than not, you should try to fix things the old-fashioned way.

ODN as a meta CMS

Except, there may be an exception to the rule.

If you could have all of the advantages of a meta CMS, but with provisions for avoiding all of the pitfalls I’ve identified – access and version control, intuitive interfaces, secure testing processes, and documentation – you could solve all of your technical SEO challenges overnight, and they’d stay solved.

And whilst I want to stress that I’m not a sales guy, we have a solution.

Our ‘Optimisation Delivery Network’ product (Distilled ODN for short) does all of this, with none of the disadvantages we’ve explored.

We built, and market our platform as an SEO split-testing solution (and it’s a uniquely awesome way to measure the effectiveness of on-page SEO changes at scale), but more interestingly for us, it’s essentially a grown-up meta CMS.

It works by making structured changes to pages, between the request to the server and the point where the page is delivered back to the user. It can do everything that Google Tag Manager or Cloudflare can do to your pages, headers, content and response behaviour.

And it has a friendly user interface. It’s enterprise-grade, it’s scalable, safe, and answers to all of the other challenges we’ve explored.

We have clients who rely on ODN for A/B testing their organic search traffic and pages, but many of these also use the platform to just fix stuff. Their marketing teams can log in, define rules and conditions, and fix issues which it’d typically take months (sometimes years) for development teams to address.

So whilst ODN still isn’t a perfect fix – if you’re in need of a meta CMS then something has already gone wrong upstream – it’s at least a viable, mature and sophisticated way of bypassing clunky development processes and delivering quick, tactical wins.

I expect we’ll see much more movement in the meta CMS market in the next year or so, especially as there are now multiple players in the space (including Amazon!); but how viable their products will be – if they don’t have usable interfaces and account for organisational/operational challenges – is yet to be seen.

In the meantime, you should have a play with Cloudflare’s sandbox, and if you want more firepower and a stronger safety net, get in touch with us for a Distilled ODN demo.