SEO Articles

Google’s Medic update, and how to deal with it

Google’s Medic update, and how to deal with it

In the week of August 1st Google rolled out a “broad core algorithm update.” We know it was that because they said so on Twitter. There was quite a bit of buzz around this update. Some sites “won”, others “lost”, which is logical because, in the end, this is pretty much a zero-sum game. We’ve been trying to make sense of what happened; this post explains what we know.

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Why is it called the Medic update?

It’s called the Medic update because Barry Schwartz, one of the most prolific writes in the search industry, called it that. It doesn’t mean this update only affected medical sites.

What do we know about this update?

In reality: not much. Google hasn’t said anything specific, and repeat their standard party line:

There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) March 12, 2018

If you think this isn’t helpful: we’re sorry. It probably is the best advice you’re going to get around this update or any update for that matter. You shouldn’t “just” build great content though. Great content has to fit with the goal of your site, whether that’s informing people, selling products or something else.

But what does “the data” say?

There are a lot of tools out there, like SearchMetrics and Sistrix, which check the rankings on millions of keywords and tell us what changed. From looking at it, you might get the idea that you understood what happened. Except there’s a problem. Even by looking at the top 50 domains in either tool, you’d still be looking at only a fraction of the data. So: all of what follows is by no means science. It’s anecdotal.

We see some trends after this medic update that are interesting:

Changes for brand searches

For searches towards large brands — think KLM, IBM, McDonald’s, etc. — Google seems to have slightly changed what they show. This now almost always includes a “jobs at” type result, which resulted in a huge uptick in those rankings for some large job sites.

Commercial sites doing slightly better

On the whole, commercial sites seem to be doing better. Among the examples we see are eBay in the US and Germany and Marktplaats (which is owned by eBay) in the Netherlands, but also non-eBay commercial sites. When they do better, content sites in those results have taken a hit, and some price comparison sites also seem to have taken a slight hit.

Is the Medic update about intent?

We can be honest about this: no, we do not see an overall trend. In discussing this, we have a hunch of what Google tried to do with this update: it seems to try and show results that better match the intent of the search. This would fit with another bit of news that came out of Google recently: updated search quality rater guidelines.

Google has teams of search quality raters that look at sites manually and score them according to a manual. This manual recently got an update, and one of the most interesting changes in that update was a new section about the “beneficial purpose” of a page:

Google has also added the concept of “beneficial purpose” to the Quality Rater Guidelines, where raters are not just asked to rate the quality of the content, but also consider whether the page has a beneficial purpose or use to being on the site. What would a visitor to the site gain?

The idea of the “purpose” of a page ties in with the intent a searcher has for a query. Let me explain: If I’m searching for a “LEGO minifgures display case”, I either want to learn how to make one, or where to buy one. Pages in my results should either explain to me how to build one or try to sell me one. If I search for “buy LEGO minifigures display case”, Google can leave out all the pages explaining how to build one.

Our best guess as to what the Medic update did was improve that “match” between intent and results. All of the changes above would make sense with that point of view. The “problem” is that if that’s true, Google’s advice probably is still the best advice on how to do better: build a site that people want to visit. A site that matches people’s search queries and their search intent, and you’ll do just fine.

Read more: When Google changes up: Should I abide every decision they make? »

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Annelieke’s Analytics: 3 exercises to have more fun with Google Analytics

Annelieke’s Analytics: 3 exercises to have more fun with Google Analytics

This post is for those of you who want to use Google Analytics, but feel a threshold to start with this tool. For everyone that wants to see the fun of Google Analytics, but is having a hard time finding that fun. This is a post for people that are scared to use Google Analytics because they’re afraid to break something. This is a post I needed when I started with Google Analytics.

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Google Analytics’ Danger zone

If you’re afraid of skewing data, removing data, or harming data, if you will, then the following should release you from that stress: as long as you are in the reporting section of Google Analytics, nothing bad can happen.

The Admin section is the place where you can do real damage. Here, you can add filters that could harm your data if not used right, here you can adjust time zones. In other words: the Admin section is the place where you implement changes that affect your data.

You can’t adjust the actual data in the reporting section. You can only adjust how you’re seeing your data, the section of data you want to see, but underneath it all, the data stays the same. So, the reporting section is for everyone, even for people who don’t have a clue what the heck they’re looking at.

Reporting section aka play zone
Know what you’re looking at

If you can’t harm your data when in the reporting section, this means you’re in a playground where you can do anything you like and just play with what you’re seeing. Of course, it helps if you have a little context. Knowledge about what you’re seeing. Luckily, Google offers a lot of information about how to handle Google Analytics. These pieces of information are in Google Analytics, you just need to know where to find them.

Every dimension and metric in Google Analytics is accompanied by a question mark that explains what you’re looking at:

I really like this feature because it gives you so much more context. And if the explanation is too vague or complex, Google it. There’s always someone that can explain it better on the world wide web.

There’s also a section in Google Analytics called ‘Intelligence’ that’s set to guide you through Google Analytics by asking you questions (and showing you some answers) and notifying you about anomalies in your data:

And at the top of the page is a question mark where you can ask for help. Especially the ‘Intelligence’ section is a nice starting point for your Google Analytics journey.

Let’s play!!

I want to share some very basic exercises with you that made me realize Google Analytics is a fun tool to play with. If you understand how the following exercises work, and the opportunities they’ll give you, then you can find the joy and insights you’re looking for.

Exercise number 1: use the search bar

There are a couple of search functions in Google Analytics. One that helps you with how to use Google Analytics or helps with navigating quickly to your destination.

But that’s not the one we’ll be using for this exercise. I’m referring to the search bar in the data table. This lets you search in the first column of the table. Here’s the assignment:

Go to the ‘Acquisition’ section
Click on the ‘Source/Medium’ report from the ‘All traffic’ dropdown
Enter in the search bar “organic”
What do you see?

This is very awesome if you need to find very specific information, or want to see totals of a category or a group of data. Like in this case, the group ‘organic’. Or, if you want to check a specific page or just pages that have /category/ in common for example, the search bar comes in really handy. And it saves you a lot of time scrolling.

Of course, there are other ways to see just your organic traffic, but this post is meant to be simple, so I’m keeping it simple. Or at least, I hope you don’t find it too hard.

Exercise number 2: add a secondary dimension

Context is not just the SEO word of 2018, it’s vital for doing a proper analysis. Adding a secondary dimension gives you more context because it adds more information to the data you’re seeing. Without proper context, you might draw the wrong conclusions. So, follow these steps to add more context to your report:

Go to the ‘Behavior’ section
Click on ‘Landing Pages’ from the ‘Site Content’ dropdown
Click on ‘Secondary dimension’
Select ‘Source’ in the dropdown
What do you see?

Now, this is awesome, you can check per source where people land on. Go over all metrics, hovering over the question marks to understand what you’re seeing. Can you see differences per landing page, per source? And what does that tell you?

Exercise number 3: use a segment

This challenge lets you specify things even further, giving the report even more context. In Google Analytics, you can add segments and this enables you to see just a specific piece of data. I absolutely love segments because, for me, they make the data I’m seeing much more understandable and less abracadabra.

Stick to your current report
Scroll all the way up and click on ‘+ Add Segment’
Search for the ‘Organic Traffic’ segment
Hit ‘Apply’
Remove the ‘All Users’ segment by clicking on the downward arrow
What do you see?

So, what do you see? How does this relate to SEO? You’re seeing pages people land on who are coming from a search engine. What’s the most popular search engine? And are the pages you’re seeing, pages you want to rank with? So much information about SEO in Google Analytics right here! Very cool right?


Google Analytics can be scary, especially if you’re afraid you might break something. But if you stay in the reporting section, everything you do is for your eyes only. After doing the exercises in this post, I invite you to just click around. Click on everything that’s clickable and try to understand what you’re seeing after that. If you do that, Google Analytics is far more easy to digest. And, hopefully, more fun, too. Good luck!

Read on: Tracking your SEO with Google Analytics »

The post Annelieke’s Analytics: 3 exercises to have more fun with Google Analytics appeared first on Yoast.

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Top 7 Untapped Keyword Research Tools [TUTORIAL]

Top 7 Untapped Keyword Research Tools [TUTORIAL]

In this article I’m going to show you the seven most untapped keyword research tools that don’t include the Google Keyword Planner. Number five is my personal favorite, so please keep reading!

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Every good SEO campaign is built on effective keyword research.

There are three critical steps for doing keyword research the right way:

Find keywords – This is exactly what I’ll be showing you in this video.
Qualify those keywords – This is the process of making sure that those keywords are actually worth going after and making sure that there’s actually interest in those keywords.
Prioritize those keywords – This is the process of analyzing the competition to make sure that your website is actually capable of ranking for whatever keyword you want to go after. In this article I’m going to focus on showing you how to find keywords and how to build a keyword database.

I’m going to take you through the process of how I build a real keyword database so you can see how this process works. I’m super excited to show you, so let’s jump in.

Tool #1: Print Books

The first keyword research tool that I love to use is print books.

Print books are probably one of the most untapped keyword research methods that exists, because not a lot of people think to use a book to find keywords and content ideas.

In this process that I’m going to be showing you for building a keyword database, I’m going to focus on the advertising niche. I’m going to find keywords as if I had an advertising website.

I’m not in the advertising space, but I’m going to show you how we would go about building a keyword database for that particular niche.

The focus here is a book called Cashvertising, which is a book about copywriting, sales and persuasion. This is a great book. If you want to learn how to do effective advertising, how to write copy the right way and how to persuade people online, this is a book you must read.

What I would do to find content ideas is I would dive right into the book.

I am inside the Cashvertising book on Kindle and what we want to do to find keywords and content ideas is to start with the table of contents.

Just go through the table of contents and try to find ideas there. Usually the table of contents is a good place where you can find more general ideas that you can expand on later on in the future.

For example, I could go through here and just take some of these ideas and add them to my keyword database. I wouldn’t necessarily want to add some of these ideas to my actual keyword database. These would more be ideas that I would need to do additional keyword research on.

Here is an example: “The Fear Factor, Selling the Scare.” That could be something I could focus on in a blog post, for example. You can go ahead and click through.

What makes print books really valuable is the actual content within the book itself, so you can go through here and you can try to find all kinds of content ideas and even possible keyword ideas, as well.

In this case, clearly this section is all about using fear to sell, so I could create a blog post that shows the psychology behind this particular principle.

Keep going through sections of whatever book you’re trying to get ideas from and just start to add those topics and ideas to your main sheet.

Just in the first chapter alone in Cashvertising I was able to find several ideas that I could expand on within my keyword research. Right away, you can see these are topics that are closely related to advertising. I can go much deeper into these topics.

What you want to do is build this idea section up, so you can then do deeper keyword research using the methods that I’m about to show you.

Tool #2: Niche Forums

My second favorite keyword research method is to use niche forums. All you need to do is enter your niche + forums. In this case I’m going to do advertising + forum.

Now you want to go ahead and click on one of these forums so you can start finding keywords and content ideas.

The first topic we find right away is “How to Drive Traffic to Website Fast” or “How to Drive Traffic to a Website Fast.” So right away this is a topic we should add to our idea list, because this is definitely something that we can expand on.

Obviously, this topic may be too broad to target, but we can definitely break it down into smaller subtopics that we could go after.

So all you need to do is go through this list and copy everything that is relevant to your business and add it to the idea list in your keyword database.

I’m back on the “Ideas” tab now. What I did was I went through this forum and copied a few of the ideas that I found that I believe I can expand on further when we do deeper keyword research.

Tool #3: Amazon

My third favorite untapped keyword research method is to use Amazon.

Amazon is the biggest e-commerce search engine. There are a ton of content ideas and keywords that you can find using their platform.

Let me show you how to do it.

I’m here on Amazon and what we want to do is to find keyword and content ideas using their search engines. I’m going to go ahead and use a very general term here, so I’ll just use “advertising.”

The first thing you want to do is look at the book titles. You can probably find some keyword and topic ideas just by looking at the titles of these books and listings.

Right away by looking at this we can tell David Ogilvy is someone of importance in the advertising industry. Therefore, he could be a topic to focus on on our website.

Here’s another interesting idea, which is The End of Advertising. You could create a piece of content that focuses on why advertising is dead.

Here’s another great topic: is behavioral biases. This is definitely something we’d want to add to our ideas list.

After you’ve gone through all these titles and added them to your idea list, what you want to do is click through on these listings. This is where you’re going to find all kinds of unique ideas, because they start to get more granular with the actual substance of these books.

I recommend going through the Intro section, because there are going to be great ideas you can expand on later. In this case, “how to get a job in advertising” is probably going to be a great topic that you could create a content asset around, f your business was in the advertising industry.

Go through the intro and then scroll down. Another thing you can do is look at the suggestions that Amazon is giving you, because you can probably go deeper and find topics that are closely related to your primary topic.

One of my favorite things to do is to go into the comment section, because this is often a goldmine for finding keywords and content ideas. Go through each of these comments and see if there is anything unique in here that you can extract and add it to your idea list.

Tool #4: Facebook Groups

My fourth favorite keyword research method is to use Facebook Groups. These are a goldmine for content using keywords.

Let me show you how to find them.

When you’re on Facebook, all you need to do is use Facebook’s search function to find keywords and content ideas.

Traditionally, I like to use Groups to find these ideas. All you need to do is go to the search option and enter the topic at a very broad level.

In this case, I’m going to do “advertising.” Right away, before you even go into Facebook Groups, I highly recommend you just look at the search results that Facebook serves you.

Try to see if there are any topics there that you could expand on later on. Go through this as fast as you can, right away. One thing we find is “native advertising.” This is something we’d want to add to our main idea list so we can find keywords around that particular topic.

Secondly, right away, we have “how to advertise.” Obviously, that is a topic we’d want to cover, as well.

We can also see that Ad Age is a very popular business, so we could actually use their brand and create a form of clickbait, knowing that people have brand recognition for them. We could drive more traffic and more visibility by using their name in a particular headline.

As we go through here, we look at public posts as well. You’re seeing “Facebook advertising is too powerful to be given up easily,” so we could create a piece of content around Facebook advertising and why it’s not going away or something of that nature.

Just continually go through this and add as many ideas as you find.

Now I’m in the Digital Marketing Questions Facebook group. There are a few things you can do here. You can scroll through the group and look at the most recent posts and see if you can find any ideas doing that.

The other thing you can do is just use the search function in the group, which is very valuable. So in this case I’ll just use “advertising.” Right away, we’re going to find all the posts where that keyword phrase was mentioned.

“Facebook Ad gurus” could be a topic that we could cover. Another thing here is “Facebook advertising guidelines,” so that could be a topic that you could cover in great depth as well.

Continually go through this and look at all these ideas. Once again, we see Google AdWords, so that can be a separate topic.

Then here is an interesting idea, where someone is talking about how they would go about managing clients if they were selling Facebook Ads as a service. So that is a completely different topic that you could focus on as well.

Here’s another one about Instagram ads, so there is a ton of ideas you could find within these Facebook Groups.

Tool #5: Quora

The fifth untapped keyword research method is to use Quora. This is a website where people can ask questions about anything, and it is also a goldmine for finding keywords and content ideas.

Let me show you how to do it.

All you need to do is go into the search function, and just enter your target topic. In this case, there are going to be many topics related to advertising so, as you’ve been doing throughout this exercise, add these broader topics to your ideas list.

In this case I’m going to go into Advertising and Advertisements.

Right away, you’re going to find all kinds of unique ideas, and the best thing is that you can get a lot of qualification on these ideas, as well.

In this case, we’ll go ahead and look at this topic. We can see this topic has gotten five answers so it’s not super popular, but it has a bunch of upvotes and people are definitely engaging with this particular topic.

So this is definitely something you’d want to add to your idea list.

For example, you could add “most impressive ad targeting” or you could just add “ad targeting,” because, of course, we are going to be expanding on these ideas later on. So just go through Quora and add every single topic and idea that you find to your idea list.

Tool #6: YouTube

The sixth untapped keyword research tool that I love to use is YouTube. As you may or may not know, YouTube is the second biggest search engine behind Google. That makes it a terrific opportunity to find keywords and content ideas.

Let me show you how to do it.

Now I’m on YouTube and I want to go up and use their search function. Like a lot of these other tactics, you just want to scroll through these different topics and add anything you don’t already have on your idea list to the list.

In this case, that would be “Psychology and Advertising.” I probably already have variations of that, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add it to the idea list.

Here is another idea, “the history of advertising.” That’s definitely something you could add to your idea list.

Just continually go through all of these different titles. I highly recommend that you go through the videos, as well. You’re going to find a lot more micro ideas within the videos, but that takes a lot of time.

There are many other tactics that you can use that are a lot more scalable and faster, but it’s not a bad idea if you’re running out of ideas to go on YouTube and just watch some of these videos and extract ideas from them.

Tool #7: Ahrefs

The seventh untapped keyword research method is to go through popular blogs and find content ideas and keywords that are already qualified based on the user engagement around their content.

This is one of my favorite methods, because you can find these content ideas and you can create something far superior than what they’ve created, knowing that that topic is something that this particular niche is very interested in.

Let me show you how to go about doing it.

Now I’m in Ahrefs. What we want to do is go ahead and add a competitor’s URL into the search. In this case, I’m going to use Ad Age, because I know that they are a monster in the advertising space.

After the analysis is complete, go to the Organic Keyword section. Out of all the tactics that I’ve showed you today, this is the most granular of all of them, because what we’re going to do is we’re actually going to export these keywords. These keywords already have search volume attached to them.

We’re going to know what we’re up against and also what we can expect from those keywords as opposed to the previous methods which were purely based on finding ideas that we’re going to expand on in the future.

Now, go ahead and export these results. Then you’ll just add it to your actual keyword database.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to go after all these keywords. In fact, you probably won’t even go after 80% of these keywords, because you then have to go through the process of qualifying each of these keywords and then prioritizing them, as well.

But that is an article for another time.For now, we are just building up our keyword database, which will be a very rough database, and then we’ll go through that process later on.

So that is it for the untapped keyword research methods that I love to use. There are many ways to find keywords outside of just these seven, but these seven are very effective.

You can build a very big keyword database that you then have to go and make sure you qualify those ideas and then, most importantly, prioritize those ideas to make sure that you’re targeting the right keywords for your particular circumstance.

BONUS: Keyword Research Methods from the Pros

Have you ever wondered how the real SEO experts do keyword research?

I chose eight vetted experts including myself to answer the following questions about keyword research:

“1. What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?”

“2. And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?”
These experts are in no particular order.


1. Nick Eubanks

SEO Blogger at

1. What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

My go to strategy for finding the keywords for any campaign is first scrape the entire universe of suggested terms for every possible variation related to a small set of seed terms.

Then manually reviewing them for modifier patterns, things like specific verbs or adjectives that provide more insight into intent. Then I create buckets; usually 4-5 based on the topics that I’m able to group the keywords into.

Themes quickly emerge and I’m able to then go out and start exploring what content might look like for these types of topics.

Once I have a sense of the content I can figure out who the tangential audiences are and can think of how to maximize the appeal of content that fits within the keyword set.

Performing this content research also lends direction as to who, where, and how I might promote this content, what format that content should take, and who’s site it should live on.

2. And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

Determining the quality of a keyword for me is pretty straightforward;

Does the implied intent of this term match with the goals of the business or website?
Does the keyword have at least 5 long tail variations each with at least 50 searches/month?
Are there pages currently ranking on page 1 with less than 10 links to the individual ranking URL’s?

2. Jayson DeMers

Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

Well, the whole idea of search “keywords” has changed a lot in the past decade.

Stuffing keywords and trying to rank for specific words and phrases simply isn’t useful anymore.

That, combined with the fact that Google Analytics and Google’s Keyword Tool in AdWords tend to hide data, means if you’re using a keyword research strategy from 2010, you’re not going to be successful.

For me, searcher intent is my biggest priority in selecting keywords and topics to optimize for.

I usually start with a general topic related to the site in question—let’s say “online marketing”—and use a variety of different tools to help point me toward what people need most. I look at online blogs and forums, particularly at topics with lots of recent traction, I look at Google Trends to see what people are searching for in the past month or two, and I plug myself into social media conversations to see what people are talking about.

From there, I usually have a pretty big list of potential content topics, general subjects, and phrases that I’ll want to target in my campaign. I use AdWords to find information on search volume, and weed out topics that aren’t going to be a good long-term fit.

At that point, I use factors like degree of difficulty/competition and potential value to find my top picks.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

For me, quality is about value—getting the most traction with as few obstacles as possible.

For that I need keywords that are visibly popular with searchers (which you can see in Google Trends, social media conversations, etc.), statistically reasonable (based on search volume), non-competitive (see who else is ranking for a query and how strong their domain/page authorities are), and valuable (topics that could feasibly win you good leads, direct conversions, or a higher reputation).

That’s a lot to look for at once, but popularity and business value are probably my top two considerations.

3. Sujan Patel

Marketing Blogger at

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

My approach is to find the highest volume keywords that my site could rank for in 6 and 12 and 18+ months.

I’ll also purchase intent and difficulty into consideration and sort them into those 3 buckets.

The key is to be realistic and grab some short term success to justify further attention.

The last thing I look at is how the keywords (or theme of keywords) is trending and if the demand is increasing or decreasing.

The few tools I use are UberSuggest, SEMrush (my fav and go to tool), Google keyword planner and trends. I also use Open Site Explorer to size up the competition.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

To me the ultimate quality guideline is purchase intent. I often test doing PPC for my target keywords to validate intent.

4. Ryan Stewart

Founder & CEO of Webris, a Miami SEO Agency

I use paid search to find the most valuable keywords. I realize doing so requires a larger budget and longer project scope, but it’s by far the most effective method. If I get a client inquiry in the lead generation / services vertical (i.e. attorneys, real estate, SEO) I build paid search into the SEO strategy and I won’t take them on as a client unless they invest in both.

This really helps kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

We know the keywords that drive the most volume, clicks, on site engagements, micro conversions, form submissions, phone calls and most importantly, closed leads. We then optimize service pages around the most profitable keywords and build out a SEO content calendar/plan for synonym keywords.
It drives an ROI on their marketing spend and buys us time for SEO. We do our SEO and link building 100% white hat – no PBNs, no link vendors, all outreach based. While this is incredibly effective, it takes time. You’re looking at a solid 6 – 8 months of work before rankings and ROI come into play. Paid search alleviates that need for ROI by driving phone calls within 30 days.

When I first got started I would use Google Keyword Planner but honestly, the data is shoddy, you’re really just guessing. Paid search provides concrete market research data that guarantees a profitable SEO campaign (assuming you can rank them, of course).

5. Josh Bachynski

SEO YouTuber, SEO Hangouts with Josh Bachynski

This is the BEST formula for finding the top keywords for a campaign in 2016:

1) what the company sells / what do they want to rank for;
2) what competition is already on that SERP;
3) what is the best broad match / exact match variation that will…
4) have the best CTR and search termination (at that level in the sales funnel);

1. If the company sells “blue sprockets”, then the main keywords are mostly already chosen for you – you have to advertise exactly what you offer on that page

2. However, if the SERP for their head term keywords looks unfeasible (you have to do proper correlation based competitive analysis – ask me what that is if you don’t know), then depending upon their marketing / business strategy, you may need to choose other SERPs to compete on (low hanging fruit, or even all different products!)

3. Check Google’s Adwords Keyword planner for the best broad match / exact match keywords – look at the broad match keyword family that gets the most traffic. Then optimize for the exact match keyword variation in that family that makes the most sense given all the steps.

DON’T optimize for plural variations or misspellings anymore – google will switch those out – only have 1 main keyphrase / topic per page.

4. Once you have optimized for it (how to write the best title tag advertisements is in ART – ask me how to do it), and you are ranking, make sure that traffic clicks on the title you have chosen (make sure google is not rewriting it, and that it has high CTR in Google’s Search Console – anywhere from 20%-60% is good… yes you can and should get that high CTR)

Also make sure people are searching your brand name PLUS the keyword, for e.g.: blue sprockets, and getting 60%+ on that search as well


The title tag / keyword is a promise. If they don’t find what you said was there (under 3 seconds, above the fold, easily in a non-convoluted design, at a price they think is valuable enough (so sell properly – build value around the offer)) then they will do the wrong things mentioned above, and your rankings WILL suffer

This is just a start to 2016 SEO, but it is an important component!

Need help? I am always here to help you! [email protected]

6. Charles Floate

SEO, Marketing Blogger at

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

I start off by going to (you guessed it) Google.

I’ll come up with a few keywords myself and fire them into the search bar, noting down anything that stands out from the auto-suggest, then I’ll grab every page that’s on the first page for those keywords, and fire them through Ahrefs position explorer and SEMrush (Note: SEMRush doesn’t allow sub-domains, but Ahrefs does) and export all of the keywords into an Excel doc from both of the services.

Note: Make sure you keep reference of every domain you put through SEMRush and Ahrefs, as later in your SEO campaign knowing what keywords the competitors you’re trying to beat are targeting and ranking for is very useful.

I’ll then manually sort through the keywords of every competitor spreadsheet I’ve pulled off, and add it to one super Excel doc, removing any duplicates once I’m done. If you want to separate spreadsheets into things like “Buyer Intent Keywords” “Longtail Keywords” etc.. then follow the next step via using keyword planner’s “multiple keyword list” tool.

After I have a spreadsheet filled with keywords, I’ll run them through each through keyword planner, pulling off search volume and the CPC for every keyword, then export that spreadsheet from keyword planner.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

Once I’ve got that list in an excel doc, I’ll manually put each of them through Google (via an incognito browser tab) and check the pages ranking on the first page.

I use a mixture of my own knowledge of good sites (e.g. if the top 3 sites are Wikipedia, Amazon and eBay, it’s not going to be an easy keyword) and the Moz & Majestic toolbars to check the metrics and number of incoming links to that page.

If a keywords too competitive, I’ll mark it “Bad” in Excel (which overlays the highlighted cell in Red.

If the keywords easy, then I’ll mark it Green (“Good” in Excel) and if the keywords got a medium level of competition I’ll mark it Yellow (“Neutral” in Excel).

7. Nathan Gotch

Founder & CEO of Gotch SEO

Did you think I would have an “expert” roundup on my blog without including myself?

What is your “go-to” strategy for finding the best keywords for a campaign?

I always start my research by looking at industry forums.

A simple search string like “your niche + forums” will work.

Go into the forum and look at the main categories.

These will likely act as content categories for your site. After you have scoped out the forum on the surface level, jump into one of the sections. See what questions people are asking and what problems they are having. This intel will guide your content and keyword targeting.

Toss the ideas you found into the Google Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro to see the search volume.

Picking a keyword to target depends on two factors:

The authority of your website
The competition

If your site isn’t authoritative, then you should focus on uncompetitive keywords first. Long tail keywords with a search volume between 100 – 500 is a good place to start in most scenarios.

And what criteria do you use to determine the “quality” of a keyword?

A “quality” keyword I would create content for has to meet this criteria:

The keyword must have more than 100 searches per month according to the Google Keyword Planner

The keyword must drive revenue for the business in one way or another: some keywords drive direct revenue like “pink nike shoes”. While others can send traffic into a sales funnel like “backlinks”. I always ask this question: how can this keyword grow my revenue? If you can’t think of way, then skip it.

The keyword competition needs to be low if the site has low authority. If the site has some authority, then it can target more challenging head keywords. However, targeting only long-tail keywords is a good policy for ALL websites.

To determine the competition level, I quickly examine:

PA, DA: if every site has massive PA and DA, then it might be a keyword to avoid. You especially want to look at PA because that is based on the links and authority going to that specific page that is ranking.
Big brand dominance: if the first page is overwhelmed by big brands, then I might reconsider the keyword. You can beat big brands, if your site is more relevant, but it isn’t easy.
Keyword optimization: I quickly examine the title and META description for every site on the first page to see if they are optimized for the keyword I’m going after. If they aren’t, then that’s typically a green light (if it meets the other criteria above)
“Weak” pages ranking well: I define “weak” pages as forums thread, Q&A threads, PDFs, web 2.0s, and videos. If you see any of these pages ranking, then it’s an indication that it’s a low competition niche.

8. Daniel Wesley

Founder of

1. The obvious starting point is putting your product or topic into your keyword tool of choice. Dig for those related searches, match up intent, run through all the fundamentals to get that perfect spread of keywords you want to campaign for. Something I find myself spending much more time on, though, is the competitive analysis.

Look at the contenders on a given SERP, and compile a list of every keyword these pages are ranking for. Go even further to find the keywords that other pages on these domains are ranking for, and chart out how they relate to your core topic. Especially in more competitive niches, you’ll uncover a lot of correlations between these pages, their rankings and how they interplay.

While your approach may become less linear, you’ll benefit by covering more of the proverbial “dartboard” in your strategy.

2. The biggest criteria for quality of a keyword is always intent. Your best visitors are the ones who unequivocally find what they were looking for on the page they landed on. No matter if you’re selling a product, providing an informational resource or addressing a particular pain point – the more specific, the better. Usually you can use estimated CPC as a barometer for this, but don’t let that dictate your approach on its own.


Keyword research doesn’t have to be confusing or complicated. Use your mind and the tools you have available to you.

The top tools mentioned in this guide are:

Google Keyword Planner
Your mind

Always validate your keywords ideas before jumping into any campaign.

The most important part of keyword research is to analyze and understand the competition.

After you have settled on some uncompetitive keywords, then test them through Google AdWords.

Never settle on keywords just because you think you could rank for them.

Settle on keywords that you KNOW you can rank for and you KNOW will increase your bottom line.

Do you have questions?

Leave it below and thanks for reading!

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#5 – Why You Should Study Neil Patel

#5 – Why You Should Study Neil Patel

If you’ve been involved the Internet marketing industry for more than a minute then you probably know who Neil Patel is. Neil has a hater or two because of the level of popularity he’s achieved in the digital marketing space, but there is a ton you can learn from him. And no I’m not talking about reading or digesting his content.

I’m talking about studying the way he operates so you can get similar results. That’s what this episode of the SEO Life podcast is all about. Let’s jump in.

Lesson #1 – Create

The first lesson I’ve learned from Neil is that you need to create. This man creates new content at a blistering pace with the help of his team. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that he’s been pumping valuable content consistently for YEARS. There aren’t many people I can list that have produced as much content as he has and for as long as he’s been doing it.

Does this mean you should try to create as much content as Neil? Definitely not.

But Neil understanding a combination of content marketing and SEO is a potent way to grow any business when it’s executed correctly. If you’re a marketing nerd like me and you want to study Neil’s content marketing strategy, just go to Google and search “Neil Patel”.

These reductive queries allow you to see everywhere that Neil has published content outside of his owned assets. As you’ll notice, Neil knows that the other big piece of growing a website is to get quality backlinks. That’s why he puts so much effort and time into getting content placed on other websites so he can score relevant backlinks.

As I said, you don’t need to try to publish as much as Neil, but his efforts are a good reminder that each of us can probably work harder than we currently. Or at least, produce more than we currently are. The one thing you need to keep in mind is that Neil is able to produce at this level because of his team.

Lesson #2 – Build a Team

Neil may sit down and write some of his content, but I’m going to assume that 80% of it is written and edited by other members of his team. This is a valuable lesson because it shows what’s possible when you are willing to give up control and you build your team.

A good example of this is when I go and look at the hours that my team members have worked on UpWork. For example, my video editor, as of today, has clocked in over 700 hours of video editing work for my company. Think about that. 700 hours. It’s crazy to think that I’ve saved that much time, but in reality, I’ve saved much more 700 hours.

That’s because I’m not a video editing expert, so that means I would need to learn how to edit videos and then spend an enormous amount of time trying to implement what I’ve learned. In short, it would take probably twice as long if not three times as long to complete the same amount of work.

The point is, time is money. We’re only on this Earth for a short amount of time and you need to value your time.

Trust me… There are so many activities that I shouldn’t be spending my time on, but that’s a part of the process. All you can do is try to be self-aware and try to operate like fortune 500 CEO.

I like to ask myself a simple question:

Would Steve Jobs spend his time doing this task?

If you’re honest, you’ll probably find that almost everything you do can be systemized and given to a team member. I talked about this in Episode #1, so make sure you give that one a listen.

Lesson #3 – Never Stop Learning

The next lesson I’ve learned from Neil is to never stop learning. Now, I don’t know a ton about Neil’s learning habits, but I do know that he seeks out advice from experienced people. How do I know? Because he’s called me before to ask me about my 301 redirect method, called The Merger Technique.

In short, this is the process of finding “dead” businesses that are hyper relevant to yours and then quote on quote merging with them by 301 redirect their dead website to yours. I came up with this strategy when I was working a large data center company who was acquiring data centers across the United States and we needed to figure how we were going to handle all of these new websites. So, we simply created geo-targeted landing pages and then redirected the relevant data center to that page. We did this repeatedly and turned my client’s website into an SEO powerhouse and grew their organic search traffic by 256%.

With that said, Neil called me to learn about this method. I thought that was really cool because it showed that someone like himself who’s already very successful was still willing to learn from someone else.

Lesson #4 – Hate Stagnation

The fourth lesson I’ve learned from Neil is to hate stagnation in your business. I can tell based on Neil’s activity and behavior that he’s never satisfied with his work. That means he’s always trying to figure out new ways to bust his businesses through plateaus. That also means he’s not afraid to try new methods.

Although Neil is known for his SEO experience, you’ll notice that’s he’s always testing other channels such as podcasting, YouTube videos, and even paid ads. He doesn’t get romantic about growing his business like Gary Vee always says.

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Neil doesn’t say “I’m an SEO specialist, so that’s all I’m going to use to grow businesses.” Instead Neil probably says (subconsciously) “I will try every method available to see what works to grow my business.” Another person who has a similar mindset who I recommend you follow is Noah Kagan. Noah has a system for testing new channels for his companies. It’s definitely a good habit to get into because every industry and business is different.

Never rely on what YOU think is the best channel. Test and pivot. That’s all you can do.

Lesson #5 – Don’t Be Afraid to Sell

The last lesson that I’ve learned from Neil Patel is that you can’t be afraid to sell. Too many inbound marketers push this idea that you should almost never be pushy with sales.

This is really bad advice.

Yes, the goal of inbound marketing is to attract leads, but you need to actually sell to these leads. It doesn’t matter how good your marketing is if you can’t turn people into customers.

At the end of the day, businesses that survive (and grow) prioritize customer acquisition.

Face it:

20,000 Facebook likes on your company page doesn’t mean anything if you have no customers. Customers… People who give you money is what matters.

Marketing is nothing more than a tool to get more people to give your business money. You do that by first having something of value to sell and then explaining why your product(s) are valuable to them and why they need to buy it. You can’t be afraid to push your products and services. Your products and services are SOLUTIONS to your prospects problems.

You’re doing them a disservice by NOT promoting them.

I recommend studying Neil Patel, Grant Cardone, Frank Kern and Alex Becker because these are people who aren’t afraid to sell. I’m not saying you need to be as polarizing or as aggressive as they are. Just study their behavior, learn, and take action.

So, those are the lessons I’ve learned from studying Neil Patel. If you got value out of this episode of The SEO Life podcast, make sure you subscribe! It would mean the world to me.

Thank you so much for listening and I’ll talk to you soon.

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How to plan content marketing for an ecommerce business

How to plan content marketing for an ecommerce business

It’s 2018 and running an ecommerce business is a lot more than just selling your products and services online. It requires you to handle everything; inventory management, promotion, shipping, replacements, refunds, order management – pretty much a lot on the plate.

Amidst all these job obligations, we hope that you have not managed to ignore the importance of the content marketing strategy for your ecommerce business.

Well, the right content marketing strategy will get your business the recognition it needs. Aimed at creating the content that fits the audience’s perception well, this strategy will also help you boost your sales and retain existing customers because it lets the content speak for your eCommerce endeavor.

So, what is the right plan when it comes to crafting the best content marketing strategy for your eCommerce business? Let’s explore.

Portray a bigger story


Storytelling is a unique art that has braced digital trends and customers nowadays tend to be more interested in stories rather than factual descriptions. This applies to the content marketing strategy of your ecommerce business as well.

Let your content speak for itself about how your products have managed to avoid consumerism woes of many. This might sound stupid but this definitely has worked for many brands, an emotional background to these stories will help your content and audience connect better.

Spice up this story-laced content with pictures and videos to keep your audience looped. You can either run a separate page for this storytelling section on your eCommerce website or you could simply replace the traditional blog.

Serve a humanitarian purpose

From the business point of view, this move exists to seek a considerable amount of attention. Based on the scale that your ecommerce business is currently running on, you can opt for Charity Collab.

For example, Michael Kors collab with Watch Hunger Stop to eliminate world hunger that supports 16 million children over 70 countries. Through these collabs, your business is able to support a social cause and talk about it with their customers in a pursuit to raise awareness and build social credibility. Your eCommerce business can run a story/blog for this purpose and engage the customers in it. This will send out a super positive impression of your business as to how socially committed it is.

Build partnerships

Online business is definitely cooler than traditional business ways because it has inspired a trend of embracing competition and even working with them. Your ecommerce business can build great content around this strategy by partnering with the firms in competition and others as well.

Building partnerships with other members of the digital sphere can help you tap a new section of the audience as well as expose your line of products to customers who are loyal to other brands.

Influencers are everywhere

Influencer marketing has become the soul of online marketing and promotion of several brands and businesses.  Your business can get in touch with key industry individuals who will drive your brand’s message to the prospective customers who follow these influencers on social media.

The online customers heavily rely on the opinion of these social media influencers, who use popular social media pages to market your content and products.

Provide some free value to customers

In an effort to market the content for your ecommerce business, you cannot always expect to make money churning moves and not move a brick for free. A great content marketing strategy for an ecommerce business will always entail the use of offline as well as online resources to garner the attention of the customers.

Offering an offline value resource such as physical coupons, newsletters, a trial of new products, FAQs sheet etc. can spark a sense of physical hoarding in the customers. Make it a point to send these for free because not a lot of people would be interested in paid stuff. Freebies are a great way to get your content marketed and make sure that new people try them out.

Involve your audience in your content

When your eCommerce website is planning its content, it is a great idea to involve your audience in it. You can simply ask for their suggestions for the next blog post or the suggestion regarding what features they might want to see next on your online website. Doing so will make the audience feel important which is an indirect way of promoting your business now that your customers trust it.

Be persistent with a content theme

Not yet followed by many new ecommerce websites, a content theme is definitely a great way of staying uniform in your ecommerce site’s content.

Let’s talk about the product listing on your site as an example. Your website could follow a generic page layout for each of these products in the catalog. However, the layout must be uniform and consistent across the listing. By that, we mean that the content length of the description, the use of target keywords, and the overall aesthetic appeal must remain the same.

You can eventually change the theme to keep things fresh and kill the boredom. Also, if you have been looking for some inspiration to keep things at your ecommerce website tempting, is a highly valuable resource.

A guide for customers to keep everything covered

The best way to keep your audience hooked to the website of your ecommerce business is to provide them everything related to the product you are dealing in. By everything, we mean to mention the product guide, the installation guide, the customer point of contact, product description and images, customer reviews, FAQs related to the products etc.

An educational guide in the form of a listicle, a blog post, or a video will drive new leads to your ecommerce website simply for the fact that how useful your brand is capable of becoming in order to product-educate its customers.

Case studies for your phenomenal products

Your ecommerce website will always have some products that are comparatively more popular than the others. If your business is offering solution-based products, you can tap into its significance by creating content around it. To accomplish that, case studies are great.

Roundup posts FTW!

Roundup posts that go like “Top 10 electronics gadgets to buy this summer” are doing great in 2018. Why not integrate them into your ecommerce content marketing plan as well?

You can be creative and can compile a roundup blog post for the most popular products from your site. This will become a great resource for promoting more than a single product through a single post without them sounding sale-focused. If you have a budget, you can buy sponsored space on famous blog sites and ask them to publish these roundup posts for you.

Usher the customer into your personal/professional journey

If suitable to the line of business for your ecommerce endeavor, you can choose to unveil the personal/professional story behind your business idea through text-based or video-powered content on your website. This is, again, a semantic advantage for your site’s content strategy.

Hire expert bloggers

Last but not the least, the best thing that you can do for your site’s content is to hire expert content creators or writers who understand the right brand tone and know how to create content that converts. They might cost you a considerable amount on your content strategy budget, but they will be worth it.


Content marketing is all about targeting the right set of audience and making an attempt to convert them into loyal customers through targeted content that attracts them. By having a clear understanding of what your ecommerce content marketing strategy is expected to deliver, your work will become easy. For the rest of the part, the above-mentioned tips will help you plan a great Content Marketing strategy to improve your eCommerce business.

However, research is the key to making sure that you are adding new trends to the list. So, stay tuned to this space for more information.

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What is a slug and how to optimize it?

What is a slug and how to optimize it?

In SEO, we often talk about creating the right slug for a page. But what is this really? And why should you optimize it? In this post, we’ll explain all you need to know about it.

What’s a slug?

A slug is the part of a URL which identifies a particular page on a website in an easy to read form. In other words, it’s the nice part of the URL, which explains the page’s content. In this article, for example, that part of the URL simply is ‘slug’.

Here’s how Joost explained slugs in an Ask Yoast video:

WordPress slugs

In WordPress, it’s the part of your URL that you can edit when writing a new post. Note that this only works with the right permalink settings. It looks like this:

If you have added more variables to your URL, we’re still talking about just that editable part of the URL to the page, like this:

There’s an additional value at the end of that URL. In this case, that extra variable is used so slugs can be the same without the URL being the same. I think these examples clearly show what the slug we are talking about is.

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What does a slug mean for SEO

The SEO benefit of a slug is that you can change the words to make sure that it has the words that you really want to rank for. It’s one of the indicators Google uses to determine what a page is about. It’s also one of the things that people see in the search results. You always see ten different URLs about a certain topic, like WordPress SEO, right? Our main article on this has the URL, which is very on point. People might click on that a lot easier than if it’s, which what WordPress does by default.

Find out more about creating SEO-friendly URLs »

Optimizing your slug

What are the things you need to think of when constructing the right slug for your post or page? Let’s go over a number of characteristics you need to take into account:

No stop words

Filter out all the unnecessary words. Filter out “a”, “the” and “and” and similar words. We have written a tad bit more on stop words in our WordPress SEO article. For users of our Yoast SEO plugin: you might have noticed we filter stop words out by default.

Add focus

Don’t just filter out stop words, but really all the words that you don’t need. Make sure the slug still makes sense though. In the case of this post, WordPress automatically creates the slug “what-s-a-slug-and-how-to-optimize-it” (based upon the permalink settings in WordPress), which I manually reduced to “slug”.

There is one thing to keep in mind here. “Slug” as a subject is not likely to get another page on its own on our blog. This informative article will most probably remain the central point for information about slugs on our website. So I can reduce the slug to just “slug” for that reason. If this was an additional post to the main article, it would probably have been something like “optimize-slug” (and I wouldn’t have explained what it is, for that matter). So, do consider the page’s level or position on your website.

Keep it short, but descriptive

The URL of your page is shown in Google search results. Not always, sometimes it’s for instance replaced with breadcrumbs (awesome). Don’t include too much information if you intend to reuse the URL for article updates. Be careful with dates and such:So you need to keep that in mind as well. Next to this, a short slug, right after the domain, will allow Google to show keywords in its mobile search result pages as well.

Now go optimize your slug with these three things in mind!

Read more: SEO basics: what does Google do? »

The post What is a slug and how to optimize it? appeared first on Yoast.

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