SEO Articles

Marketing During Coronavirus: Claim a Free First Tier Press Release to Respond to COVID-19

Eager to know more right away? Head straight to https://www.marketersmedia.com/grant for more information.

Marketing during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. Schools, restaurants, and businesses have all closed down in hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus. 

The pandemic has also changed or more appropriately thrown our business processes into chaos. We know a lot of you, our readers, are small business owners or digital marketers and SEOs in their own right, might be feeling the same sentiment. 

Honestly, the impact of this pandemic can be awfully scary, especially when it looks like there is still no end in sight. However today we’re not here to focus on how scary this pandemic can be, but how we can strive to keep our business afloat in this tragic time. 

As a small business owner, you might be seeing fewer customers with people spending more money on necessities, rather than for products and services. 

Unless you sell face masks or hand sanitizer, you may be thinking of conserving your funds and putting your marketing efforts on hold. Think again. 

Except for businesses that are physically unable to operate right now, cutting your marketing budget means no resulting sales, and will cause your business to come to a halt. That’s why, now more than ever, we need to invest smart – not more – into marketing. 

We understand. In this age of coronavirus, you might think it’s superficially commercial to discuss marketing or brands and pricing, but the practical reality sees that we must continue marketing to help those in need and also for the good of the business. 

Because though we might not know what is going to happen in the upcoming months, what we do know is that one day the coronavirus outbreak will end and businesses who can rebound the fastest are those who haven’t stopped their engagement with customers. That can be YOU. 

Digital Marketing Is More Essential Now 

If anything, digital marketing has become more important amidst this crisis when everyone is being on lockdown. Consumers are anxious, paranoid but they are mostly active online. 

This also means it is time for us as marketers to rethink our marketing strategy to be more cost-effective and digitally proficient in reaching our target audiences.

But above all, as a business owner, we should first and foremost post our response to the COVID-19 situation, for our users and customers. 

Guess what, there’s a super-effective way at zero cost. 

Oh, wait, it’s already in the headline. 

We found out that MarketersMEDIA, a press release distribution company has recently set up a marketing aid of $1.5 million in press release credits to help all ventures and businesses that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

MarketersMEDIA Grant for Businesses

Specifically, the marketing aid will provide businesses with a First Tier press release, which apparently is their best plan for free. You can send your news to over 500 authoritative media outlets like AP News, USA Today, MarketWatch, Comtex, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and VNN, and it’s all at zero cost. How amazing is that?

In fact, we have actually already submitted our application and now we are sharing this out so you wouldn’t miss it. 

Cause just imagine, using this MarketersMEDIA press release, you can get your business message heard by both journalists and the general public. 

This can be a great opportunity whether it is to let your audience know regarding the immediate steps you’re going to take to deal with this crisis or even as a channel to reach out to more potential consumers. 

Virtually everybody is online during this crisis, but they are not only online. Many of us are on our mobile devices checking the news, looking for the daily updates on coronavirus and actively seeking out news regarding it. 

At a time when everyone is checking in on news, it’s only obvious that issuing press releases and press statements should be an important part of your marketing strategy. 

That’s why now is the time for business owners to issue press releases and press statements in relation to the coronavirus news. 

Caution: Read This Before You Send Your PR

However, it’s also important to note that any marketing strategies which incorporate messaging around the coronavirus should be executed with caution. 

If you get this wrong and look as though you are trying to profit from the pandemic, you will get a negative response from target audiences and it will be incredibly damaging for your reputation as a brand both in the short and long-term.

However, when done right, it can bring good results. With the neutral nature of press releases, businesses should be safe but still, the messaging is important. 

So before you head to claim the free First Tier press release, here are some tips on the message and positioning your press release should take. 

How to Position Your Brand and Value During the Pandemic. 

1. Be Transparent & Share How Your Business is Navigating COVID-19

Brands response to coronavirus

Transparency has always been the key to build trust with the customers. Like this press release from Yum! Brands, if you are working in the food and beverage industry, share with your customers the procedures you have in place to ensure that the safety of both your customers and employees are taken care of. 

2. Stay Proactive and Make Sure Your Customer Service is Still Flawless

Customer service is more important than ever, and especially now in this time of crisis, your customers will need reassurance from your business whether you are in affected industries or not. 

That’s why you should take the extra mile and let your customers know that your operations and team are always ready for them. 

3. Be Supportive and Provide Assistance and Aid During The Crisis

It’s important to let consumers know that your company is here to help. Offer them long term free trials or loyalty programs that you know will come in handy for them and bring financial reassurance during this crisis. 

Business response to coronavirus

But don’t just provide the resources in silence, market it out and let everyone know about your marketing aid and support. 

With that said, the key here is to take this opportunity to tell your customers that your company is taking ownership of the situation, as much as possible, and reassure your valued customers. 

The next quarter will undoubtedly be challenging for businesses worldwide, but pulling back for the short term will only hurt your business in the long term.

Most importantly, you should always show customers your business care and offer assurance that you are thinking long-term and prepare for the ongoing crisis. 

SEOPressor has already claimed their First Tier press release, so what about you?

For more information on MarketersMEDIA’s $1.5M grant for SMBs, visit https://www.marketersmedia.com/grant.

Lastly, we hope you share this message with other business owners who are struggling in the pandemic and always, remember to stay safe. 

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SEMRush Review: Ultimate Guide for 2020

SEMRush is one of the most powerful search engine marketing tools on the market in 2020. In this guide, I’m going to show you how to use SEMRush like an SEO pro.

Let’s jump right in.

Secure your 14-day free trial of SEMRush (affiliate link).

What is SEMRush?

“SEM” stands for “Search Engine Marketing” and that’s exactly what SEMRush focuses on. They created this tool to help both SEO experts and paid search professionals achieve even greater results.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to use SEMRush for SEO-driven purposes.

7 Ways to Use SEMRush for SEO

1. Analyze Trends + Competitor Analysis

The “Overview” section within SEMRush can gives powerful insights at a glance. Enter your domain and click on “Overview”.

SEMRush Overview

Traffic Trend

The first section to analyze is the traffic trend section.

Traffic Trend

These traffic numbers are nothing more than estimates from SEMRush based on the search volume and click through rate of the keywords you’re ranking for. Take this section with a grain of salt.

However, it can be useful if you don’t have access to Google Analytics and you need a high-level overview of performance. That said, Google Analytics will show you your true organic search traffic numbers.

And not to be captain obvious, but you want to see these “Traffic Trend” numbers rising.

If they’re declining or flat, then you’ll need to investigate further. Conducting an SEO audit is good first step.

Position Changes

The next section worth investigating is the “Top Position Changes”. This is useful to see what keywords are performing well and which ones are losing traction.

Top Position ChangesYou can double down on the ones that are moving well and figure out why the others aren’t performing. I recommend reviewing this section on a weekly basis.

Branded Search

In the “Overview” section, you’ll find the “Branded Traffic Trend” chart.

Branded Traffic Trend

Your branded search volume is an indication of how well you’re marketing your company. In general, your goal should be to increase branded search volume overtime.

That’s because it’s the most reliable type of organic search traffic.

Branded Search Performance

For example, let’s take a doomsday scenario.

One day you wake and Google decides to strip you of all your non-branded keyword rankings. If you hadn’t been working to grow branded search volume, your revenue from organic search would go to $0.

However, if you’d been working to grow your branded search volume, you may still have 20-30% organic search traffic.

Branded search can be the difference between surviving and going out of business. It’s critical.

Branded vs Non-Branded

Organic Position Distribution

Competitive Positioning Map

Main Organic Competitors

2. Find Low Hanging Fruits

I classify “low-hanging fruits” as any keywords that’s ranking from positions #2 – #15. These keywords often just need a little push.

That means you can grow your organic search traffic without a huge investment.

These types of keywords should ALWAYS be your targets at the onset of any campaign. That’s because you’ll be able to score some quick wins out of the gate.

Fortunately, SEMRush makes it super easy to find these low-hanging fruits.

Click on “Organic Research” and then “Positions”.

Positions

Then click the “Positions” dropdown and enter 4 – 20 in the “Custom Range”.

custom range

These keywords should be your targets at the beginning of any campaign.

low hanging fruits

Sometimes some additional on-page SEO is enough to push these terms up. However, if they’re competitive, you’ll likely need to acquire more backlinks to these pages.

If both of those actions don’t move the needle, then you should add more content to the page.

3. “Steal” Your Competitor’s Keywords

Some of your competitors are likely ranking for keywords that you aren’t. SEMRush’s new Keyword Gap tool can help you narrow the gap.

Click on “Keyword Gap” under “Domain Analytics”.

Keyword Gap

Then enter 1-4 of your competitors domains.

gap

The “Keyword Overlap” section will give you an idea of how much opportunity you’re missing out on.

Keyword overlap

But the real value is when you scroll down and get to see all of the keywords that your competitor’s are ranking for. By default, SEMRush will show you “Shared” keywords.

The “Missing” tab is where you should focus because these topics can become targets for future content and pages.

Missing

Keep in mind, you still need to go through the process of keyword qualification. You also need to always compare your website against your competitors.

For example, Moz has a much more powerful and established domain they Gotch SEO.

Therefore, it makes sense that they can compete for some of these highly competitive keywords. It would be a waste of time and resources for Gotch SEO to attempt to compete on some of these.

That’s why it’s critical that you always qualify your keywords.

4. Qualify Keywords

Anyone can build a huge keyword database, but it takes skill to qualify and prioritize that keyword set. In fact, keyword qualification is 100x more critical than finding keywords.

That’s because going after keywords that your website isn’t capable of ranking for can burn resources and even waste time.

Secure your 14-day free trial of SEMRush (affiliate link).

This needs to be avoided.

Now SEMRush is a powerful tool, but it alone isn’t enough to qualify your keywords to the fullest extent. It should be used to supplement your keyword qualification process (not replace it).

Here are a few ways to use SEMRush to help qualify your keywords:

Find keywords with high CTR

Keywords that have many SERP features will likely decrease your organic CTR. The opposite is true as well.

For example, less SERP features can increase your organic CTR. Now it’s becoming rarer-and-rarer to find SERPs without features, but here’s how to find them:

Enter a competitor’s domain in SEMRush and click on “Positions”. Then click the “SERP Features” dropdown and select any of the SERP features.

Not on SERP filter

You can then mark what keywords have the least amount of SERP features.

You can then estimate that you’ll get a higher CTR (more traffic) when you rank for these keywords.

Keep in mind, that it can change fast. SERPs are always changing.

Take Advantage of the “Keyword Difficulty” Tool

This tool can give you a nice high-level overview of the keyword competition. Go to “Keyword Analytics” and click on “Keyword Difficulty Tool”.

Keyword Difficulty

Just enter your target keywords into the box and start the analysis:

Keywords

The Keyword Difficulty tool will show the estimated difficulty, the search volume, the total number of search results, the quantity SERP features, and even how well the keyword is trending.

Keyword Difficulty

I recommend stacking SEMRush’s and Ahrefs‘ keyword difficulty metrics to get a strong high-level overview of competition.

5. Acquire More Backlinks

SEMRush has a lot of competition on the backlink analysis side of SEO. For example, I lean more towards Ahrefs when it comes to link analysis and research. However, SEMRush has really improved their capabilities.

Here are a few ways you can use it to acquire more backlinks:

Use Backlink Gap

Backlink gap helps you identify link opportunities that your competitor already secured, but you haven’t. This is super important because you want narrow the gap between you and your competitors link profiles.

In other words, you need to acquire as many (if not more) backlinks than they have.

Just go to “Gap Analysis” and click on “Backlink Gap”.

Backlink Gap

Then just enter your domain and a couple of your competitor’s domains:

backlink gap tool

You can then see what domains are linking to your competitors domains (but aren’t linking to yours):

links

Qualify Your Link Opportunities

For the remaining portion of this checklist, go to “Domain Analytics” and click on “Backlinks”.

Topical Relevance Analysis

The “Categories” feature is super useful. It does remind of Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow Topics (which is great too). You can use SEMRush’s Categories to review your own link profile.

Topical Relevance

For example, if your link profile isn’t relevant to your niche, then you’ll want to focus more on relevant opportunities. This ties back to the concept I created years ago called The Relevancy Pyramid.

Relevancy Pyramid

In short, you want to focus all of your time acquiring links from your most relevant opportunities first. Then once those are tapped, move down the pyramid towards less relevant opportunities.

Naturally, there will be more opportunities as you descend down the pyramid.

Another way to use SEMRush’s Categories feature is qualify link opportunities. You can run any link opportunity you have through this tool to see if it’s relevant to your website.

Traffic Cost

Relevance is king when it comes to link building, but you should also aim to get links on websites that have organic search traffic.

Think about it: If Google if sending organic search traffic to website, then it’s an indication that the website is doing something right. That means it will likely be a link opportunity worth pursuing.

SEMRush’s “Traffic Cost” isn’t just based on total organic search traffic though.

traffic cost

It calculates the search volume and CPC for each keyword to settle on the traffic cost. That means that a website can have large organic search traffic numbers, but have a low Traffic Cost and vice versa.

In other words, not all traffic is created equally. Some keywords are far more valuable than others. And how is value determined? It’s determined by how much a company is willing to pay per click for Google Ads.

You should prioritize link opportunities that have higher traffic costs because the traffic is of high value.

Link Profile Analysis

Link Authority Analysis

It’s normal for most of your backlinks to come from lower authority websites. However, if your link profile is lacking high-authority links you’ll need to fix it.

Look at the Referring Domains by Authority Score section to audit the strength of your link profile.

Referring Domains by Authority Score

Link Distribution Analysis

One thing that many people overlook is how backlinks are being distributed across your website. It’s natural for some pages to have a much larger number of backlinks. That’s because some pages will do better than others.

That said, you’ll often find a correlation between pages that aren’t performing well and a lack of backlinks to those pages.

That’s why it’s important to first identify what keywords aren’t performing well. Then see if those pages are lacking the necessary backlinks to perform.

You can see the quantity of links that each page on your website has under the “Top Pages” section.

Top Pages

More often than not, low performing pages/keywords just need more backlinks. There is one thing you need to consider though.

Why doesn’t the page have backlinks?

If it’s because of a lack of promotion then you know what to do. But if you’ve been promoting the page and you’re still not getting backlinks, then you may need to revisit the page itself.

Ask yourself a simple question: would YOU link to your page?

It’s important to be honest about your answer. Your page needs to be worth linking to. That means it needs to add tremendous unique value that impels websites to link to it.

If you’re getting enough backlinks, always go back to the page itself. If you believe it’s truly link worthy, then work to promote it more.

Link Profile Growth Trend Analysis

Your backlinks profile should be growing steadily overtime. SEMRush gives a nice high-level overview of your link profile growth. Look under the “Referring Domains” section:

Referring Domains

I recommend checking this on a quarterly basis to make sure you’re growing. If not, you’ll need to revise your link building strategy.

Secure your 14-day free trial of SEMRush (affiliate link).

Link Profile Analysis

I recommend auditing your existing link profile at least bi-annually to make sure nothing low-quality has slipped in. That means you’ll need to manually analyze your link opportunities.

new Backlinks

In most cases, you can just analyze new links that have popped up. I’m a little obsessive and I monitor new link activity on a daily basis. That helps me stay on top of negative SEO attacks that may occur. I recommend you do the same.

Anchor Text Analysis

Anchor text is the easiest thing to over-optimize in an SEO campaign. Most people think using keyword-rich anchor text is the best way to drive SEO results. It isn’t. In fact, it’s the best way to leave huge footprints of link building.

semrush anchor text

You can achieve great SEO results without having to use aggressive anchor text. I recommend using SEMRush to analyze your anchor text to make sure you’re on the right path.

6. Rank in Featured Snippet Position

You may have noticed that featured snippets appear on many Google search results. Landing in these featured snippets can produce huge organic search traffic gains. The cool part is that SEMRush allows you to find all of the featured snippet opportunities you need.

The first step is to enter your domain:

Featured Snippet 1

Click on “Organic Research” > “Positions”:

Featured Snippet 2

Click the “SERP Features” dropdown:

Featured Snippet 3

Select “Domain doesn’t rank” and click on “Featured Snippet”:

Featured Snippet 4

Set a filter so you only see positions #1 – #10 because these are the low-hanging fruits to tackle

Featured Snippet 5

You’ll now have a nice list of featured snippet opportunities to attack.

Try SEMRush Today

If you’re serious about growing your organic search traffic in 2020, then you need to use SEMRush.

SEMRush has been stepping up their game recently and I’ve actually been using it more than Ahrefs for keyword research, keyword qualification, and competitor analysis.

IMO, they have more comprehensive and accurate keyword data.

Here’s a 14-day free trial (affiliate link) if you want to give it a test drive.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Gotch SEO is an affiliate of SEMRush. That means we will earn a small commission if you decide to invest in their software. We only promote tools that we personally use and believe are the best in the industry.

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The Biggest SEO Trend You’re Ignoring

The screenshot above is my Google traffic over the last 12
months.

As you can see, my traffic is growing. And there are many reasons for that, but there is one trend that’s really caused the majority of my SEO growth.

You might be thinking it is Ubersuggest because it makes up 22.4% of my traffic now. But Ubersuggest has been integrated into NeilPatel.com for years, so that’s not it.

Sure, that is responsible for some of my growth, but it’s not responsible for it skyrocketing like it has been.

So, what do you think it is?

Well, I’ll give you a hint…

My traffic per region

Let’s look at my SEO traffic in a few different regions.

Here’s my traffic in the United States over the last 12
months:

Now here’s my traffic in the United Kingdom:

And here are the stats for Canada:

And Australia:

You can see that they have all increased, but not enough to
cause the big spikes.

Now let’s look at some of the international markets we have been focusing on over the last few years.

Here’s Spain:

Here’s India:

And here is the first international market we expanded to,
Brazil.

As you can see, the international markets are growing at a much faster pace, especially Brazil. But that is because we have been focusing on our SEO in Brazil more than any other country (outside of our main English markets).

Why you may ask?

Because a Google employee told me to

The most vital SEO lesson I learned came from a friend at Google, but they didn’t tell me anything that was really a secret…

They told me that the majority of the searches on the web aren’t done in English, they are done in other languages.

And in the English markets, everyone is competing, which
means tons of sites and content from Google to choose from when it comes to determining
which site should rank number 1 for any given keyword.

But the international markets are the opposite. There is a lot of demand but not enough sites for Google to choose from when it comes to rankings.

So even though there are tons of algorithm
updates
and SEO is becoming more difficult, it isn’t always the case with
many international markets.

And the graphs above show it. As you can see, I’m getting huge traffic growth in those regions.

So, what should you do? Especially if you are starting
off and don’t have a big budget or any budget for that matter…

Follow Amazon

Wherever you see big corporations like Amazon investing, it
means there is money to be made in those regions.

Amazon has invested billions into regions like India:

It’s safe to say over the years Amazon will pour in well over $10 billion into India.

That’s a big bet for someone to make. And you can assume it’s a calculated bet because they think there is much more money to be made.

And it’s not just India…

Amazon is investing $236 million into Brazil to boost up their cloud infrastructure. And they’ve invested over $2.26 billion dollars in France. They are pretty much going after the whole world.

As you can see from the graph, Germany is its second-biggest market and Japan is also up there. But what’s interesting is the green bar as that represents the “rest of the world” and that green bar has been growing at a fast pace.

Now, I get that none of us are Amazon and we don’t have huge
budgets, so I wanted to take a minute and break down how you can do this on a
global scale without breaking the bank.

International SEO on a budget

When I first started to expand internationally, my business
was much smaller and we didn’t have much money, if any, to spend on
international SEO.

Yes, I am an SEO, so you would think that it makes it easier, but not really because the only language I am fluent in is English.

And if you fast forward to today, I’m still only fluent in
English, but we have 7 offices around the world.

And we did it without laying out any of our own money. Yes, it did take time and it will for you too, but that’s the only way to do it when you are starting off and are small.

So how did we expand internationally without spending upfront?

We partnered with locals.

Why not find people in these regions who speak English as well as the local language of the country you are trying to expand to?

There are so many people without jobs, you’ll be shocked by how many people will be open to a partnership. All you have to do is look at Facebook groups and forums to find people in your space who live overseas.

Here’s how I structure each partnership:

  • I have the person, or a group of people, translate my content to that region’s language.
  • I have them read my English blog posts so they can learn SEO (if they don’t already know it… nowadays I look for people who already know SEO as I have been doing this long enough and can spend some money).
  • In exchange for them growing my traffic in that region, I give them a portion of the profits I make within that region. You can structure where you give them anywhere from 10% to 30%. You don’t want to go too low on the profit-sharing as you want them to work hard, but you also don’t want to go too high where you are giving away everything.
  • They put in the work each day, and they have 3 months to show some traction, and within 6 months they should have significant growth. Keep in mind it is less competitive, so it is easier to get results. You can also work with them on creating goals and milestones.
  • If they don’t show results, the partnership ends, and I don’t have to give them anything. If they show results, we keep pushing forward.

Now that we’ve covered structuring your international SEO expansion, let’s go over how you do it.

International SEO

I’ve written a handful of blog posts that break down the
steps on growing your traffic in new languages and countries, but before I
share them, I wanted to break down the 2 biggest lessons I learned:

  1. Transcribe the content, not translate – when you work with a partner overseas, they may think you want your content translated or that you want content written in their language just like how people would write the content in the US. That won’t work because cultures are different and keywords are different, so transcribe the content and adjust it to each country.
  2. You want a partner that lives in that country – if you expand into a country where you don’t have a partner on the ground you won’t see great results. By having people on the ground, you can more easily build up your brand, which has a big impact on rankings.

Here are some resources that will show you how to do
international SEO:

  • This post will break down how to create a global SEO strategy.
  • And follow this to setup SEO correctly for different languages and countries. Keep in mind that Google doesn’t penalize for duplicate content, so don’t worry about having similar content or the same content for different regions.
  • Here’s how to expand internationally profitably.
  • This will teach you the fundamentals of reaching a global audience.

Funny enough, one of the reasons I created Ubersuggest was
to build a tool that would help my team and I expand internationally.

Here’s a feature in Ubersuggest that will help you, that
most people don’t know about.

So head over to Ubersuggest
and type in a competitor that you know is big and has a global presence.

I want you to click on the “Top Pages” navigational option
in the sidebar.

This shows you all of the top pages that your competitors
have.

But don’t focus on those results. I want you to look at the regions that make up some of your competitions’ traffic… you’ll see that number next to each flag.

Click on one of the regions that you are considering
expanding into. You’ll now see the results adjusted.

As you can see from the screenshot above, those are all of the pages on my site that are really popular in Brazil.

Now, I want you to click on “view all” under “Est. Visits”
as that will show you all of the keywords that drive traffic to that page.

This will provide you with a laundry list of international keywords that you can give to your team so they can start creating content to go after them.

I also want you to click on “view all” under “Backlinks” as
this will show you who links to your competition. You can then create a list of
sites to reach out to so you can get them to link to you.

That’s the simple strategy we used to hit it hard in regions like Brazil and what we are also doing in countries like India, Spain, Mexico, France, Germany, and countless other countries.

Conclusion

English is a great language. And I love the United States as
well as other English-speaking countries.

But that’s not where the opportunity is. There is more opportunity in global markets, which is why you need to follow the trend of international SEO.

Even if some of these countries don’t have as high of a GDP compared to the United States, it’s fine. Remember there aren’t as many competitors, which means you will have a lot of opportunities to still do really well.

So what region are you going to expand to first?

The post The Biggest SEO Trend You’re Ignoring appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Increase Website Traffic: Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting

Increase Website Traffic: The Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting

The Ultimate Guide To Guest Posting

Would you like higher search engine rankings, an uptick in targeted websites traffic to your blog, and a stronger reputation in your niche?

Although it might sound like a pipe dream especially if you have only recently started your blog and looking for increased targeted traffic and powerful backlinks, this has been made possible with guest blogging.

With guest blogging, you can accomplish these feats quickly without incurring a dime. Here, I will tell you everything you need to know about guest blogging.

What is Guest Posting?

Guest posting (guest blogging) presents a great way to utilize the limitless potential of the internet to build links and online presence.

The main idea behind guest posting is to write articles for someone else’s blog with the aim of growing your website, generating traffic, gaining exposure to a targeted audience, and building natural links for your blog.

With guest posts, you will be addressing a larger audience than your own hence will be required to create unique pieces of content – one you have not published on your blog before.

How Does Guest Blogging Work?

Today, more than 70 million blog posts are published each month, hence becoming increasingly competitive to reach and retain a large blog audience.

Bryan Harris did a guest post and got 73% new visitors to his blog. To make guest blogging work for you, you will need to ask other webmasters if they are accepting guest posts and send out your pitch.

How to Get Started with Guest Posting?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can get started with guest blogging.

Find Guest Blogging Opportunity

If you Google “blogs that accept guest posts’, you will find an unexhausted list. After all, you do not need 150 random blogs that accept guest posts.

Instead, consider your target audience and think about blogs that cover similar content to narrow down your search. Here are a few ways to look for guest blogging opportunities.

Google and Social Media Searches:

Google and social media searches are a great way to start in the search for guest posting opportunities.

You can search for keywords beginning with the main keyword followed by “guest post,” “guest bloggers wanted,” and “contributing writer” at the end.

Use keyword research tools to help in finding the exact target blogs. If you need a suggestion, try LSIGraph.

Let’s say you’re a plumber. So, you should type in something like “plumbing guest post” and you’ll see articles written by guest posters and sites looking for guest posts on that topic.

Google Search - "Plumbing Guest Post"
Google Search – “Plumbing Guest Post”

It also works for social media. Simply make the same search and you’ll see several sites that accept guest posting!

Twitter Search - "Plumbing Guest Posting"
Twitter Search – “Plumbing Guest Posting”

Guest Blogger’s Author Bio:

Know of any prolific guest blogger in your industry?

If you do enough research in your industry, there will be names you familiarize with. For instance, Jennifer Slegg is an expert in search engine marketing.

Her author’s bio will reveal all the sites that she has guest posted. You can then try requesting a guest post opportunity from these sites.

Sites Jennifer Slegg has guest posted.
Sites Jennifer Slegg has guest posted.

Google Search: Sites to Guest Post:

Numerous pages share a list of blogs that accept guest posts. Websitehostingrating is one such website with a list of blogs looking for guest posts.

List of websites to guest post
List of websites to guest post

It tells you the Alexa rank of the top blogs as well as domain authority, difficulty, and link to the website.

Ask for Guest Posting Opportunity:

Now, what if there’s a nice site you’d like to guest post on but you haven’t seen any articles from a guest post on it.

Well, you can pitch directly to websites asking for a guest posting opportunity. They may accept your request or let you know that they’re not accepting any guest posts. There’s nothing to lose here! 

And these are few ways you can find guest post opportunities.

So, what’s next once you’ve found the opportunity? 

Read their guidelines

What most people get wrong with pitching is the use of generic emails that they think they can use for every website.

The best way to pitch is to craft a personalized email that directly addresses your target website. Begin by reading that blog’s content.

Know who they are, how they write, and whom they write for, then compare your content with the most popular post that they already have and see if you have what it takes to make a cut. Here’s an example of a guest post guideline: SEOPressor’s Guest Post Guideline.

Prepare a pitch

If you meet the qualifications, the next step is to introduce yourself. You have to appeal with short and relevant content about yourself because, unlike machines, people have preferences and emotions.

While ensuring that the content is short and simple, do not leave the most important information about yourself.

In addition, show commitment by submitting new topic ideas to add to your previous works and assure that your content is unique.

Write your Guest Post

Now that they’ve seen your past works and accepted your request, you should start working on your guest post.

If you need tips on writing good content, you can always refer to our blog. We’ve covered a few topics like writing in a conversational tone, Google Docs add-ons for content writers, and how to write good content for blogs.

Keep in mind that blog posting is not about your business; hence it should be strictly informational and not an advertisement for your products.

Format posts to resemble those on the website in regards to the quality, word count, images, and links.

Craft an Author’s Bio

The most important part of guest blogging for you will likely be your guest post bio. This is usually the only place you are allowed to include self-promotion links back to your website, blogs, products, and services.

If your goal is to get links, make sure your bio includes a link back to your website with your target anchor text. If your goal is to get traffic back to your website, you might want to consider where that traffic goes.

Here’s an example of an author’s bio crafted by one of our recent guest bloggers. You can see that he has a clear introduction about him, his company, and the actions he wants readers to take.

Follow up

Once your guest posts have been published on their website, you will need to do a follow-up.

Check for replies and comments from the audience and respond to them as a way of engaging and building authority.

If your goal is to build traffic, the results of your guest posting should be measured using a UTM source code or Advanced Segment of Google Analytics.

Getting Guest Bloggers to Your Site

Do not forget that guest blogging is a two-way street. It is tough to work on your blog content while guest posting on other websites.

At the end of your guest posts, always put a call to action opening invitations for guest bloggers to write on your own blog. This will create a win-win situation for:

Fresh content

Guest bloggers will bring new ideas on board, ensuring that you have fresh content and perspective on your blog

Increase in Website Traffic

Growing your website traffic is a key metric to know if the target website is healthy and growing.

Opening invitations for guest posting increases your website traffic, since new visitors can open links directed towards the content on your website.

Conclusion

Guest posting is a win-win situation. It does not matter if you are guesting for your website or for other people.

Having told you of the benefits of the two, you can sit back for sweet success on guest posting.

If you did not achieve any success in the past, give these tips a try today!

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Local businesses can solicit GoFundMe donations via Bing Places

Bing has partnered with crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to facilitate donations to local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the search engine announced Monday. Bing Places for Business account owners can set up a fundraiser through GoFundMe and Bing will display a donation button within its local listing page.

The donate button within a local listing. Source: Bing.

Why we care

Many local businesses have had to change operating hours, temporarily close or shift their business models to protect their customers and staff and comply with local stay at home orders and business restrictions. Creating a fundraising campaign is one way to help offset lost revenue during the crisis.

Featuring a donate button right on your local listing makes your fundraiser accessible to customers that may already searching for your business and may make your GoFundMe campaign more effective.

Related: Local SEOs talk COVID-19 challenges [VIDEO].

More on the announcement

  • This feature is currently only available for new fundraisers. Bing will add support for existing GoFundMe campaigns in the coming weeks.
  • GoFundMe does not charge a platform fee; however, there is a fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation for payment processing.
  • To set up a fundraiser, sign in to your Bing Places for Business account and click the “Get Started” button in the “Set up a GoFundMe fundraiser” module on your Bing Places dashboard. Then follow the prompts on GoFundMe as directed and the donate button will appear on your Bing local listing page.

The post Local businesses can solicit GoFundMe donations via Bing Places appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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The Ultimate DIY SEO Tutorial For Beginners (Free)

SEO Tutorial for Beginners

How can you do SEO on your own? What does it take to learn SEO and optimize your website for search engines? How do you know what works so that you don’t waste your time on tasks that are not important for rankings?

This comprehensive DIY SEO tutorial will give you all the answers.

I know from experience that beginners to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) find it difficult to understand the SEO fundamentals.

There are so many terms, rules and practices to learn and implement and if you haven’t done this before, it’s a nightmare.

Open up Google and search for ‘SEO tutorial’ or ‘DIY SEO’, what do you see? Probably a number of guides each of them taking a different approach to SEO and this makes things even more complicated.

What to expect from this SEO Tutorial?

I’ve been doing SEO for more than 18 years now and I’ve learned through a lot of studying, trial and error how to get a website to the top positions of Google. I have done this for my websites and many client websites over and over again.

It’s not an easy job, it’s a lot of work but it’s also rewarding.

I wrote this SEO tutorial to help you get into the right mindset and understand how to approach SEO correctly. It starts from the beginning and takes you step-by-step through the most important aspects of SEO.

After you are done reading this guide, you will have a deep understanding of how to optimize your website for Google and other search engines.

So, if you are new to SEO and don’t know from where to start or where to spend your time and energy, get a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and get ready to teach yourself SEO!

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Obviously the first thing you need to understand is what is SEO and why all the fuss about it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a framework you can follow in order to make your website more visible to search engines. Like other frameworks, it has a set of rules, processes, and guidelines.

SEO has two main objectives:

  • First is to make a website friendlier to search engine crawlers so that they can read, understand and add the website to their index.
  • Second, to make a website friendlier to the user. This is one area of SEO that is often overlooked, a website that is SEO optimized should also be user-friendly and vice versa.

That’s the basic definition of SEO, which is clear and straightforward.

Now consider this: what happens if all websites are properly optimized according to best SEO practices? How do search engines decide which one to show first, second, third, etc. in their search results?

This is where the fun part begins. For any search term, you can think of, there are hundreds of websites competing for a top place in the results. The websites that are built on a solid SEO foundation win the race.

Black hat VS White hat SEO: Which way to go?

A solid SEO foundation is based on what is known in the industry as ‘white hat SEO’.

White hat SEO is a term used to describe the process of optimizing your website without violating any rules.

To be more precise, Google has a set of guidelines for what you can do and what you shouldn’t do in order to make your website Google friendly.

If you violate any of those guidelines either intentionally or even because you didn’t know about them, you risk getting a ‘Google penalty’ and this means your website will either be removed from Google or your rankings will dramatically drop.

What is black hat SEO?

Black hat SEO, on the other hand, is a term used to describe actions that are not according to acceptable standards and practices.

The purpose of black hat SEO is to manipulate search engine algorithms using various techniques that can trick search engines into ranking a page higher in the results using false signals.

Which way to go?

White hat SEO is the only way to go. Search engines have very intelligent algorithms, spam detection techniques that can track and penalize any websites that are using black hat SEO techniques to achieve higher rankings.

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet and especially those guides or SEO tutorials that promise you results in a short amount of time. SEO takes time to generate good results and after you do a lot of work.

If you are looking for a fast way to get traffic to your website, get into Google ads, Facebook ads or other paid methods but if you want to build a successful online business, then SEO can guarantee your long term success.

Why is SEO so important?

SEO is important for many reasons but the primary reason is that it can help you achieve higher rankings which means more organic traffic to your website.

Search engine traffic is the most valuable source of traffic for any website and this can lead to more conversions (if you are not sure what a conversion is, read this definition by Wikipedia)

According to statistics, Google receives over three trillion searches per year. Take a moment and think what this number means and how it can change your business if you manage to get your tiny share of traffic from the billions of monthly searches.

Why does it matter to rank high in the search results?

The majority of Google’s organic traffic is distributed among the websites that appear on the first page of Google.

As you can see in the graph below, more than 73% of the clicks go to the first page, and the rest goes to the second and third pages.

SEO Rankings and CTR (Click Through Rate)
The Majority of Search Engine Traffic goes to the top 5 results.

So, if you want to get traffic from Google, you have to rank in one of the top positions or at least on the first page.

How to do SEO on your Own (DIY SEO)

Understand How Search Engines work

Now that you have a clear idea of what is SEO and why it is of great importance for your online success, let’s see in more detail how SEO works.

Since Google is the biggest and most valuable search engine, I will use it in the examples below. But, anything that you do to optimize your website for Google is also applicable to the other big search engines.

How does Google Search Works?

Google has a very nice tutorial on how Google works, and if you have never seen this before, I suggest reading it first.

Of course, they don’t reveal all the details of the algorithm but you can get a very good idea of how search works, and this will help you understand the contents of this SEO tutorial better.

In simple words, Google crawlers search the web to find webpages and add them to their index. When a user types in a search query in Google, their algorithms try to find the best possible match and present those pages in the search results.

If there were only a few pages available per search query, then that would not be an issue, Google would show those in the first 10 positions. But, as mentioned above, there are thousands of pages about a particular topic so their algorithm has to decide which is the best match and show those to the user.

There are many factors taken into account by the algorithm but some are much more important than others.

If you are a beginner to SEO, you don’t have to understand all the theory now, it’s too much information and I know that it gets confusing.

What you need to understand is this:

  • Google wants to keep its users happy so that they return and perform more searches.
  • A Google user is happy when they find what they want in the fastest possible way.
  • Google is making a lot of effort to keep low-quality pages out of their index and they continually adjust their rankings algorithms for this purpose.
Resources to Learn More
How search engines work – A detailed explanation (with a video) on how search engines work.

Domain Names and SEO

Before getting deeper into SEO, it’s necessary to understand the impact your website’s domain can have on your SEO efforts.

I know that some of you already have a domain so I’ve separated this section into two parts. The first part is for those who don’t have a domain yet and the second part possible solutions if you already have a website and want to change your domain.

When choosing a domain name for your website, consider the following:

  • Choose a domain that is easy to remember and write. Avoid domains with too many words, one to two words is preferable.
  • Avoid using hyphens or separators in the domain name. Try to avoid using a hyphen in your domain name. If you must use a hyphen to separate the words, don’t use more than one.
  • Exact match domains no longer have an advantage. In the past, if you had an exact match domain i.e. ‘SEOTUTORIAL.COM’ you had an advantage compared to other webpages competing for the keyword ‘SEO tutorial’ but that’s no longer the case.
  • Domain extension doesn’t matter. A website can rank well regardless of the domain extension. The most common extensions are .com, .net., .org but if you can’t find a matching name for your website you can safely choose any other extension.
  • Self Hosted domains are better. It’s better if your domain is hosted on your own website rather than using a subdomain from any other platform. For example, is better to have ‘mydomain.com’ rather than ‘mydomain.wordpress.com or mydomain.medium.com’.
  • Domain age does matter. Older domains have an advantage in SEO over newer domains. It is easier to rank a website that is 5 or 6 years old than a brand new website. Of course, besides the age of the domain, you have to take into account all the factors discussed in this tutorial, but other things being equal, the website that is ‘older’ will rank better than the newer website.
Resources to Learn More
How to start a WordPress Blog – Includes specific guidelines on how to choose the right domain for your website.

What if I already have a domain and want to change it?

If you already have a domain, content, and website with traffic, it is possible to do a rebranding and change your domain without losing your rankings and traffic but you have to follow the migration procedure correctly.

Should you buy an old domain?

You can buy an old domain and gain the advantage of the ‘age of the domain’ but you have to be careful not to buy a domain that was previously penalized by Google.

Can I merge one or more domains to make them stronger?

Yes, you can. If the domains are related and ‘clean’ from Google penalties, you can safely merge them together and create a ‘stronger’ website.

Website Platforms and SEO

After you select a good domain for your website, the next step is to choose a platform i.e. the software to use to develop your website and a server (hosting provider) to host it.

This is not an area to spend too much time or effort, once you make a good selection from the beginning then you don’t have to worry about it and you can concentrate on other more important tasks.

While there are many options available, the best website platform in terms of SEO is WordPress.

WordPress now powers more than 35% of all available websites on the Internet and has a number of features that can help you build an SEO Friendly website.

It is easy to use and with a few tweaks, you can make it even better.

You can read my best SEO practices for WordPress article for more details and step-by-step guides.

In terms of hosting, not all providers are equal when it comes to SEO awareness, the wrong choice of hosting provider can negatively impact your SEO efforts.

Make sure that you choose an SEO friendly hosting such as Bluehost or KnownHost.

Learn How to Approach the SEO Learning Process

The best way to approach SEO is step-by-step. The whole process can be broken down into 3 main types:

Different Types of SEO
Different Types of SEO
  • Technical SEO – How to make sure that search engines can access your website without any issues.
  • On-Page SEO – What kind of content to publish on your website and how to structure / setup your webpages so that search engines can read and understand them.
  • Off-Page SEO – Link Building and other techniques to promote your website on the Internet and get more exposure.

For best results, you should follow the steps in the order outlined above i.e. start technical SEO, then On-Page SEO and then Off-Page SEO.

Work on Your Technical SEO

Technical SEO has one purpose, to make sure that search engines can discover the important webpages of a website and be able to access them without any issues.

To achieve this, you need to optimize a number of things, the most important are:

  • SEO Friendly Site Structure
  • User and XML Sitemap
  • Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console
  • txt Optimization
  • 404 Page Optimization
  • PageSpeed and SEO
  • Mobile-Friendly Websites and SEO

SEO Friendly Site Structure

The structure of your website is very important. A good and simple site structure will make the job of search engines and users easier and this has many benefits for SEO and usability.

To make an SEO friendly site structure, consider the following:

Group your content into logical categories that make sense. Everything starts with the home page but after that, you should think of a logical hierarchical structure for the rest of your content.

Don’t over-engineer but keep it as simple as possible. Avoid having too many categories or subcategories since SEO wise, these don’t offer much value because of duplicate content issues (we will talk about this later).

Don’t use more than three levels when creating your site hierarchy. Don’t hide your content from search engines and users but make discovery easy.

Use SEO Friendly URLs. Your URLs can contain “-” but not underscores or any other unnecessary information. Keep them clean and easy to understand.

For example, let’s assume that you have a blog about Digital Marketing. Your blog posts can be grouped into one of these categories: SEO, Social Media, PPC, Content Marketing.

Your Website structure can look like this:

SEO Site Structure
SEO Site Structure

and the URLs like this:

  • Sample Category URL: example.com/SEO and example.com/Social
  • Sample Blog URL: example.com/my-seo-blog-post
  • Sample Page URL: example.com/digital-marketing-services

User and XML Sitemap

Google recommends that you provide users with a simple sitemap page that will contain links to all the important pages of your website (or to all pages if it’s possible). You can add this to your main menu or footer.

Besides helping with user navigation a sitemap page is also used by Google during the crawl process to discover more pages from your website.

Another better way to inform search engines about your website pages and structure is to create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google and Bing.

An optimized XML sitemap should list all pages that search engines should know about and not pages that have duplicate content or provide no value to their users.

Resources to Learn More
Submit Sitemap to Google  – Three ways you can use to submit your XML to Google.

Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console

One of the ways to check what search engines know about your website is through webmaster tools. Both Google and Bing have made these tools available to their users and they are free to use.

You can access Google Search Console here and Bing webmaster tools here.

Webmaster tools can give you a lot of valuable information regarding your website. You can see your ranking position for different keywords, how many links point to your website, how many pages you have in the index if there are any errors during the crawl process and many more.

Resources to Learn More

Robots.txt Optimization

Robots.txt is a file that exists on the root directory of every website and can be used to give instructions to search engines on which directories/files of the website they can crawl and include in their index.

Normally you will need to deal with robots.txt once and if everything is ok you don’t have to change it again.

To make things easier for you, there is a robots.txt tester function in Google Search Console which you can use to ensure that you don’t accidentally block search engines from accessing your website’s pages.

Read robots txt SEO for all the details.

404 Page Optimization

What is a 404 page? The 404 page is shown to the users if they click a link on your website that leads to a non-existent page.

What is the importance of a 404 page for SEO? Remember that SEO is about usability and giving users a dead end is not the best approach.

Your 404 page needs to be useful and provide users with alternative ways to find what they are looking for.

Resources to Learn More
SEO Tips for beginners – Includes examples of SEO optimized 404 pages.

PageSpeed and SEO

One of the ranking signals that is not kept a secret by Google is website speed. Websites that load fast have a competitive advantage over websites that are not so fast.

This means that if everything else is the same, Google will rank higher websites that are faster than slower.

So, even if page speed is a comparative signal and not a direct signal, there are many business benefits from having a fast loading website.

Numerous statistics show that users are not willing to wait for a website to load for more than 3-5 seconds (especially on mobile) and there is also a direct coloration between website speed and conversions.

Website Speed and Bounce Rate
Website Speed and Bounce Rate

To cut a long story short, part of your optimization process should be to improve the loading speed of your website as much as possible.

It’s a technical topic and you might need the help of a developer to do the necessary changes but consider this as an investment you have to do.

If you want to get your hands dirty, here is the guide to follow: How to increase your pagespeed.

Mobile-Friendly Websites and SEO

Last but not least, your technical SEO checklist should also include how good or bad your website performs on mobile.

Google confirmed that mobile searches are now more than desktop and this simply means that if you are not mobile, you cannot reach a large percentage of your potential users.

What is a mobile-friendly website?

A website is considered mobile-friendly when:

  • It can be viewed on a mobile device without having to zoom-in and without having to use horizontal scroll bars to access the content.
  • It passes the Google mobile-friendly test
  • It loads fast (preferably more than 3 seconds)
  • It allows the users to perform the same actions as the desktop but using their mobile devices.

To ensure that their mobile users are happy, Google introduced a mobile-friendly algorithm change in April 2015 (also known as mobilegeddon), that excludes from their mobile index websites that are not mobile-friendly.

Work on your On-Page SEO

Once you’re done with optimizing for technical SEO, the next step is to start working on your on-Page SEO.

On-Page SEO Techniques
On-Page SEO Techniques

On-Page includes the following tasks:

  • Page Title Optimization
  • Meta Description Optimization
  • Heading Tags and Page Formatting
  • SEO Copywriting
  • Internal linking
  • Rich Snippets and Schemas
  • SEO for Multi-lingual websites

Page Title Optimization

A page title (<title>) is the first element that both users and search engines ‘see’ when reading or crawling a page.

Best practices for SEO friendly page titles:

  • Each page of your website needs to have a unique page title
  • Page titles should accurately describe the page content
  • Page titles are shown in the search results so they should be attractive and help users understand if the page is relevant to their search so that they can click to visit the page.
  • Page titles should be brief. In terms of length, it is suggested to go up to 60 characters so that they can fit in the Google search results.

How to SEO Optimize your page titles?

While the above best practices are all related to SEO, there is one more step to take to further optimize your page titles and this has to do with the use of keywords.

Keywords in the page title are important for both users and search engines. Users can easily spot the keywords in the title (sometimes they are even made bold by search engines) and this encourages them to click the link and visit the page.

Search engines ‘read’ the title and try to figure out if this is a page that can potentially satisfy the ‘intent of the user’. If this is the case, then they continue to examine the page content and other factors before they return the results to the user.

What you should do to win both users and bots is to ensure that your page titles include the keywords you are targeting.

For example, if you are writing a post targeting the keyword ‘SEO Tutorial’, then your page title should include this keyword, hence the title of this post.

As an additional note, there is no need to add your website name in the title, this is added automatically by Google (if it does not exist).

If you feel that you need to have your website name as part of the title, then move it at the end and not the beginning.

In the first parts of the title include the important elements (i.e. keywords).

Have a look below at how Google SEO’s optimized the title of Google AdSense. Notice how they blend keywords (make money online) in the page title.

SEO page titles best practices
Example of Optimized Page Title
Resources to Learn More
Difference between a page title and H1 Tag – Beginners to SEO tend to confuse the title with the H1 tag and this guide will explain all the differences.

Meta Description Optimization

The page meta description (<meta name=”description” content=“your description goes here”), is equally important. All of your website pages (including the homepage), should have a unique description that accurately summarizes the page’s actual content.

Best practices for crafting good meta descriptions:

  • Avoid using generic descriptions or terms like ‘This page is about…’ but concentrate as to why someone should visit your page.
  • Include keywords in the description but don’t do keyword stuffing.
  • Keep your descriptions up-to 160 characters.

Pro Tip: Unlike the page titles, meta descriptions are something you can safely change after a page is indexed.

What you can do is check the description displayed by Google for several terms related to your page and make any changes to the text to make it more appealing to the user. While doing this, you can also ‘spy’ on your competitor’s descriptions and see what kind of message they try to pass to their users.

As a side note, have in mind that Google may decide not to show your description in their results but they may show text from the page if they believe that this is a better match to the user’s query.

The description from the Google AdSense page (see image above), is a great example of how you can merge keywords and page summary together.

Resources to Learn More

Heading Tags and Page Formatting

Besides the titles and descriptions that are seen by bots and shown in the search results, other factors that directly impact SEO are heading tags and page formatting.

As a general rule, headings should be used to guide users on the important sections of a page and thus make a page easier to read and user-friendlier.

Headings can also help search engines understand the content of a page. When reading the HTML of a page they can identify tags like H1 and H2 and use the text within those tags to figure out the meaning of the page’s content.

Headings should include keywords and have a hierarchical structure. For example, the first heading on the page should be the H1 tag (this is usually used for the page title) and the subsequent headings can be H2 or H3.

Headings Hierarchy
Headings Hierarchy

As an example look at the headings of this article. It’s a long post so I have used H1 for the post title, H2 for the main sections and H3 for the subsections.

SEO Copywriting

Maybe you have read many times in the past that content is king, but it is still true. Content is the most important element of any website.

Your content needs to be of high quality and also provide answers/solutions to the user intent and keep the search engine user happy.

If this is not the case then whatever techniques you use (either white hat or black hat) to increase the visibility of a website in Google search, sooner or later they will all fail.

What is SEO Friendly Content?

SEO Friendly content is content that provides value to the user by answering a question or providing insights about a certain topic and at the same time can be understood by search engines.

What is a keyword?

To be able to create SEO friendly content, you first need to have clear in your mind what is the meaning of keywords and what is their role in the SEO process.

A keyword is anything that users can type in the search box, that has a significant value. A keyword may consist of one or more words.

SEO Keywords are used by search engines to understand the user’s intent and satisfy their search request in the best possible way.

Consider the examples below, keywords are shown in bold:

  • Marketing”
  • DIY SEO Tutorial
  • What is SEO
  • “What is the best Chinese restaurant in Florida

Notice that some of the keywords are very broad (Marketing) and some consist of 2 or more words, known as long-tail keywords (best Chinese restaurant Florida).

Long Tail Keywords - Search Curve
Long Tail Keywords – Search Curve

What is the role of keywords in SEO?

Everything online starts with a keyword, whether it is website content, user search query or Google Ads.

Search engines during the indexing process are trying to match keywords with web pages that can potentially be used as ‘results’ for those keywords.

Your job as an SEO is to make sure that your web page content includes those keywords (or variations) so as to help search engines index your pages correctly.

Does this mean that if you have a page full of keywords, you will get higher rankings?

Not at all. Keyword stuffing or content that exists for the sole purpose of keeping search engines happy, cannot achieve high rankings.

What you need for high rankings is high-quality SEO Friendly content.

High-Quality SEO Friendly Content

Take a minute and review what is perceived as high-quality by Google.

Notice how much value they give to usefulness, credibility, and engagement of the content.

Valuable Content Google
Google Guidelines for creating high-quality content

Start thinking about how to create content that matches these characteristics but at the same time includes keywords people may use in the search process.

In addition to the above, how you present your content matters. It’s not enough to have good content that is SEO friendly but you need to take other factors into account.

Resources to Learn More

Internal linking

What is internal linking? Adding links to your pages that point to other pages within your website.

It’s a pretty straightforward concept but sometimes overlooked by webmasters and this is an SEO mistake.

What is the purpose of internal links?

Internal links serve 2 major purposes:

1st they aid navigation since they point users to other pages of your website to read more details about a certain topic and 2nd they help search engines discover more pages from your website and also understand the context of your pages better.

Internal linking best practices for SEO

  • Add internal links where it matters and not for the sake of doing it.
  • There is no limit in the number of internal links you should have per page but don’t overdo it. Longer posts are more likely to have more internal links that 300-word posts.
  • For internal links to have some value, they need to be in the main body of the page. Links in the sidebar or footer are not so valuable (for on-page SEO purposes).
  • Use optimized anchor text with your internal links. Unlike external links, internal links can include keywords in the anchor text, there is no penalty for doing so.
  • Don’t add the ‘nofollow’ tag to your internal links. All internal links should be followed.

Rich Snippets and Schemas

One of the modern ways to give more visibility to your content and improve it’s google rankings is by using rich snippets and schemas.

What are schemas and why you should care?

Structured data markup is a formal way to describe your content to search engines. One of the challenges search engines face when crawling a page is understanding the context of a page and schemas can help them a lot in this direction.

As stated by Google, through structured data markup you make your content eligible to appear in rich results and knowledge graph cards.

In real terms, this means eligibility to rank in position 0 of Google (above the normal search results) and this has a number of benefits.

Structured data markup can be implemented by adding a set of tags to your HTML code or through a JSON script.

Resources to Learn More

SEO for Multi-lingual websites

Many websites have their content displayed in different languages and while this is normal and expected when it comes to SEO you need to have a few things in mind:

  • Don’t use automatic translators to translate your content into different languages. Your content has to be of high quality and this means readable, without grammar, structural or spelling mistakes.
  • If you want to make your content available to other languages, then do it manually on a page by page basis.
  • To avoid any issues with duplicate content you need to do some SEO configurations and in particular, make use of hreflang meta attribute.

The hreflang attribute is a way to tell Google that your content is available in more than one language.

Google will use this information and serve the right content to your users (depending on location and language).

Hreflang implementation is an advanced topic and requires technical knowledge to apply the necessary settings to your website.

If you have or thinking of making your content available into more than one language, then make sure you read this guide from Google.

Work on Your Off-Page SEO

Off Page SEO
Off Page SEO

No SEO strategy is complete without off-page SEO. Beginners to search engine optimization should understand that a complete SEO action plan has to include off-page SEO tasks.

While On-page SEO has to do with optimizing your website and content, off-page SEO is about promotion and how you can get more exposure and attention to your website.

Why is off-page SEO important?

To understand the importance of off-page SEO, consider the example mentioned above where a number of websites are targeting the same keywords and all of them have got on-page SEO right, which websites will achieve higher rankings?

The answer is simple, the websites that have done a better job in off-page SEO will get higher rankings and traffic.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO has to do with methods and techniques you can use to convince search engines that your website is better for their users than the other websites.

In the SEO world, this is translated into incoming links, hence the term ‘link building’ has been associated with SEO.

Why are links important?

Google founders when they wrote the first ranking algorithm, they decided how to actually rank pages in the Google search results.

Besides taking into account all the factors discussed above, they also came up with a brilliant idea: the websites that are referenced (linked to) by other websites are more likely to be more important and useful to users so they deserve a higher ranking.

That’s an oversimplified version of the initial Google algorithm but the main idea holds until today. Websites that have incoming backlinks from other websites are more likely to rank higher and get more traffic from Google compared to websites that don’t have many links pointing to them.

Over the years’ webmasters and SEO’s tried to manipulate this rule by building links for the sole purpose of making the Google algorithm happy (black hat SEO) and this let into many low-quality sites to reach the first positions of Google.

This, in turn, forced Google to add more rules to its algorithm to take into account more quality factors when assessing the quality of a link.

What is a good link?

A good link that can help your website increase its rankings has the following characteristics:

  • It is a natural link – This means that the link is naturally added by a webmaster because they believe that linking to your website will add value to their content and help their users read more details about a certain topic.
  • It is coming from a related website – If you have a website about SEO, it’s natural to have links from websites that deal with digital marketing, social media, etc. but it’s not natural to have links pointing from fashion type blogs or other unrelated topics.
  • It’s coming from a website trusted by Google – Not all websites are equal in the eyes of Google. Google loves high-quality websites and a link from such a website is welcomed.
  • It’s not part of an exchange or paid scheme – Links that are paid for or exchanged (you link to my website and I link to yours) can get you into trouble (see below).
  • It’s not coming from a low-quality website – In general, websites that have little or no original content and are full of external links with no incoming links, do not offer any value to the user, are considered by search engines as low-quality websites.

What is a ‘bad link’?

A ‘bad link’ does not have the characteristics of a good link. Usually, bad links are either paid for or injected into low-quality articles for the sole purpose of tricking search engine algorithms.

It may be a surprise to beginners but there are a number of websites out there that exist for the sole purpose of publishing low-quality content with outgoing links.

What is the problem with that? A lot of bad links pointing to a website can lead to Google penalties and in simple words, this means loss of rankings, traffic and Google trust.

What are Google Penalties?

In order to protect the integrity and maintain the quality of their search results, Google has introduced two types of penalties, manual and algorithmic.

A manual penalty occurs when the Google Search Quality Team imposes a penalty on a website because it violated Google’s webmaster guidelines.

When a website is under a penalty, it loses all (or part) of its rankings. Usually, the webmaster can see the reasons that led to a penalty by viewing the ‘Manual Actions’ report of Google search console.

To get back to the Google index the webmaster must submit a ‘reconsideration request’, which is manually reviewed by the search quality team. A successful reconsideration request does not mean that the website will return to the pre-penalty rankings.

An algorithmic penalty occurs automatically and is a result of bad practices and violations that are checked automatically by the Google algorithm. To recover from an algorithmic penalty, you have to make the necessary changes and wait for an algorithmic refresh.

Google penalties have animal names like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and you can read all about them here.

Resources to Learn More
Is my website penalized? – How to check if your website is under a Google penalty.

How do you get quality links for your website?

So, good links are important for a website’s SEO success, but how do you get these links without taking any risks?

This is something I explain in more details in my SEO Courses as it is a huge topic on its own but to give you some ideas and pointers, consider this:

  • Don’t go after links that are too easy to get. Hard to get links are usually more valuable.
  • Only purse links from websites that are better than yours both in terms of traffic, quality of content and reputation.
  • Don’t believe anything you read about ‘private networks’ or other schemes that exist for the sole purpose of giving links to any type of website.
  • Use guest posting wisely, don’t spend your energy and time on guest posts that nobody will read.
  • Use social media to get your content noticed. Social media shares/likes etc. are not considered as a direct ranking factor but you can use the exposure you can get from social networks to position your content in front of the people that are more likely to interact with it (comment, share, etc.) and link to it.

In addition to the above:

Don’t be afraid to link out to other valuable and high-quality websites. How is linking out related to getting more links?

Webmasters tend to check their statistics, referral traffic and links on a regular basis and if they notice traffic or a link from a website they will check it out and they may return a favor.

To those of you that think that this is ‘link exchange’, it’s not. First of all, the other webmasters are not obliged in any way to return the favor and second this is a method proposed by Google in one of their ‘Audience Engagement Guides’.

Also, another more direct way to make sure that webmasters you’ve linked out to, will notice your content is to email them and mention to them that you like their work and added a link in your articles.

You don’t have to ask for anything in return but it is certain that a percentage of them will appreciate this action and link back to you.

How long does it take for SEO to work?

Whether you do SEO on your own or hire an agency to do it for you, it is important to understand that SEO will not generate the expected results overnight.

As I explained in a previous article, SEO takes time to work because any changes you do to your website will have to be evaluated by Google and then taken into account.

So, any fixes that you do today to make your website SEO friendly, it may take months until these are properly ‘read’ by Google (and other search engines) and used to improve your ranking positions.

The same is true with link building. When a new link is detected by the Google crawlers, it has to be passed through an evaluation process before it is awarded as a positive ranking signal.

Nobody can give you an exact number of how long it will take to increase your traffic after you do SEO work on your website but as a general rule of thumb, it may take 3 to 6 months to see the merits of your work.

Thus it is very important to be patient and not lose your focus. Keep working on improving your SEO, content and user experience and sooner or later you will be awarded for your hard work.

People that are not patient enough tend to get disappointed and quit before they see any results but those people that work consistently for a long period of time, are those that succeed in the end.

SEO Tools and SEO Resources

To manage SEO correctly you need to use tools. There is a lot of data to analyze and a lot of metrics to monitor which makes it impossible to do everything manually, so you need some sort of automation through software tools.

There are hundreds of free and paid SEO tools in the market and because of my job role, I have tested many of them.

I don’t like having to log in to a lot of different tools to do my work so after evaluating a number of them, I decided to enroll in tools that can give me diverse functionality at a reasonable monthly price.

SEM Rush: This is my favorite SEM (search engine marketing tool). I use it on a daily basis for both my SEO and PPC needs. It’s a great and easy to use tool with a number of functions but the nice thing about SEM Rush is that it is continuously updated with new features so you don’t have to look for other choices.

Key Learnings and Next Steps

SEO and Digital Marketing, in general, are disciplines that change all the time. Every week there are new changes to algorithms and practices that directly or indirectly affect SEO but the basic ingredients of SEO are the same for the last 20 years.

If I had to summarize these in one sentence, I would say that SEO is about making your users happy and satisfying their ‘intent’ through high-quality content and easy to use websites.

What I tried to include in this comprehensive SEO tutorial, is pointers to the most important aspects of SEO so that you get the full picture of what you have to do to get better rankings in Google.

As I mentioned in the introduction, it’s a lot of work and it’s not a once-off task.

When you decide to enter the world of SEO you should have in mind that you are entering a competition with hundreds of people that have the same goals as you. Your competitors are trying to make their content and websites better aiming to rank higher and if you are to win this race, you have to do a better job than them, in all aspects.

Those that have the courage to do this, are able to get enough search engine traffic to run their businesses online without the need for advertising or worrying about how to get new customers.

Those that look for shortcuts and don’t have the patience or willpower to do all the work, they give up and quit.

Finally, if you are stacked and don’t know what you are doing wrong or what your next step should be, consider our SEO Audit Service and get all the answers you need by removing the uncertainty and guessing.

I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and hopefully, you now have a better idea on how to optimize your websites for SEO.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.

The post The Ultimate DIY SEO Tutorial For Beginners (Free) appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

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