SEO Articles

Using the Apriori algorithm and BERT embeddings to visualize change in search console rankings

One of the biggest challenges an SEO faces is one of focus. We live in a world of data with disparate tools that do various things well, and others, not so well. We have data coming out of our eyeballs, but how to refine large data to something meaningful. In this post, I mix new with old to create a tool that has value for something, we as SEOs, do all the time. Keyword grouping and change review. We will leverage a little known algorithm, called the Apriori Algorithm, along with BERT, to produce a useful workflow for understanding your organic visibility at thirty thousand feet.

What is the Apriori algorithm

The Apriori algorithm was proposed by RakeshAgrawal and RamakrishnanSrikant in 2004. It was essentially designed as a fast algorithm used on large databases, to find association/commonalities between component parts of rows of data, called transactions. A large e-commerce shop, for example, may use this algorithm to find products that are often purchased together, so that they can show associated products when another product in the set is purchased.

I discovered this algorithm a few years ago, from this article, and immediately saw a connection to helping find unique pattern sets in large groups of keywords. We have since moved to more semantically-driven matching technologies, as opposed to term-driven, but this is still an algorithm that I often come back to as a first pass through large sets of query data.

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1 technical seo
2 technical seo agency
3 seo agency
4 technical agency
5 locomotive seo agency
6 locomotive agency

Below, I used the article by Annalyn Ng, as inspiration to rewrite the definitions for the parameters that the Apriori algorithm supports, because I thought it was originally done in an intuitive way. I pivoted the definitions to relate to queries, instead of supermarket transactions.

Support

Support is a measurement of how popular a term or term set is.  In the table above, we have six separate tokenized queries. The support for  “technical” is 3 out of 6 of the queries, or 50%. Similarly, “technical, seo” has a support of 33%, being in 2 out of 6 of the queries.

Confidence

Confidence shows how likely terms are to appear together in a query. It is written as {X->Y}. It is simply calculated by dividing the support for {term 1 and term 2} by the support for {term 1}. In the above example, the confidence of {technical->seo} is 33%/50% or 66%.

Lift

Lift is similar to confidence but solves a problem in that really common terms may artificially inflate confidence scores when calculated based on the likelihood that they appear with other terms simply based on their frequency of usage. Lift is calculated, for example, by dividing the support for {term 1 and term 2} by ( the support for {term 1} times the support for {term 2} ). A value of 1 means no association. A value greater than 1 says the terms are likely to appear together, while a value less than 1 means they are unlikely to appear together.

Using Apriori for categorization

For the rest of the article, we will follow along with a Colab notebook and companion Github repo, that contains additional code supporting the notebook. The Colab notebook is found here. The Github repo is called QueryCat.

We start off with a standard CSV from Google Search Console (GSC), of comparative, 28-day queries, period-over-period. Within the notebook, we load the Github repo, and install some dependencies. Then we import querycat and load a CSV containing the outputted data from GSC. 

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Now that we have the data, we can use the Categorize class in querycat, to pass a few parameters and easily find relevant categories. The most meaningful parameters to look at are the “alg” parameter, which specifies the algorithm to use. We included both Apriori and FP-growth, which both take the same inputs and have similar outputs. The FP-Growth algorithm is supposed to be a more efficient algorithm. In our usage, we preferred the Apriori algorithm.

The other parameter to consider is “min-support.” This essentially says how often a term has to appear in the dataset, to be considered. The lower this value is, the more categories you will have. Higher numbers, have less categories, and generally more queries with no categories. In our code, we designate queries with no calculated category, with a category “##other##”

The remaining parameters “min_lift” and “min_probability” deal with the quality of the query groupings and impart a probability of the terms appearing together. They are already set to the best general settings we have found, but can be tweaked to personal preference on larger data sets.

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You can see that in our dataset of 1,364 total quereis, the algorithm was able to place the queries in 101 categories. Also notice that the algorithm is able to pick multi-word phrases as categories, which is the output we want.

After this runs, you can run the next cell, which will output the original data with the categories appended to each row. It is worth noting, that this is enough to be able to save the data to a CSV, to be able to pivot by the category in Excel and aggregate the column data by category. We provide a comment in the notebook which describes how to do this. In our example, we distilled matched meaningful categories, in only a few seconds of processing. Also, we only had 63 unmatched queries.

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Now with the new (BERT)

One of the frequent questions asked by clients and other stakeholders is “what happened last <insert time period here>?” With a bit of Pandas magic and the data we have already processed, to this point, we can easily compare the clicks for the two periods in our dataset, by category, and provide a column that shows the difference (or you could do % change if you like) between the two periods.

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Since we just launched a new domain at the end of 2019, locomotive.agency, it is no wonder that most of the categories show click growth comparing the two periods. It is also good to see that our new brand, “Locomotive”, shows the most growth.  We also see that an article that we did on Google Analytics Exports, has 42 queries, and a growth of 36 monthly clicks.

This is helpful, but it would be cool to see if there are semantic relationships between query categories that we did better, or worse. Do we need to build more topical relevance around certain categories of topics?

In the shared code, we made for easy access to BERT, via the excellent Huggingface Transformers library, simply by including the querycat.BERTSim class in your code. We won’t cover BERT in detail, because Dawn Anderson, has done an excellent job here.

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This class allows you to input any Pandas DataFrame with a terms (queries) column, and it will load DistilBERT, and process the terms into their corresponding summed embeddings. The embeddings, essentially are vectors of numbers that hold the meanings the model as “learned” about the various terms. After running the read_df method of querycat.BERTSim, the terms and embeddings are stored in the terms (bsim.terms) and embeddings(bsim.embeddings) properties, respectively.

Similarity

Since we are operating in vector space with the embeddings, this means we can use Cosine Similarity to calculate the cosine of the angles between the vectors to measure the similarity.  We provided a simple function here, that would be helpful for sites that may have hundreds to thousands of categories. “get_similar_df” takes a string as the only parameter, and returns the categories that are most similar to that term, with a similarity score from 0 to 1. You can see below, that for the given term “train,” locomotive, our brand, was the closest category, with a similarity of 85%.

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Plotting Change

Going back to our original dataset, to this point, we now have a dataset with queries and PoP change. We have run the queries through our BERTSim class, so that class knows the terms and embeddings from our dataset.  Now we can use the wonderful matplotlib, to bring the data to life in an interesting way.

Calling a class method, called diff_plot, we can plot a view of our categories in two-dimensional, semantic space, with click change information included in the color (green is growth) and size (magnitude of change) of the bubbles.

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We included three separate dimension reduction strategies (algorithms), that take the 768 dimensions of BERT embeddings down to two dimensions. The algorithms are “tsne,” “pca” and “umap.” We will leave it to the reader to investigate these algorithms, but “umap” has a good mixture of quality and efficiency.

It is difficult to see (because ours is a relatively new site) much information from the plot, other than an opportunity to cover the Google Analytics API in more depth. Also, this would be a more informative plot had we removed zero change, but we wanted to show how this plot semantically clusters topic categories in a meaningful way.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we:

  • Introduced the Apriori algorithm.
  • Showed how you could use Apriori to quickly categorize a thousand queries from GSC.
  • Showed how to use the categories to aggregate PoP click data by category.
  • Provided a method for using BERT embeddings to find semantically related categories.
  • Finally, displayed a plot of the final data showing growth and decline by semantic category positioning.

We have provided all code as open source with the hopes that others will play and extend the capabilities as well as write more articles showing other ways various algorithms, new and old, can be helpful for making sense of the data all around us.

The post Using the Apriori algorithm and BERT embeddings to visualize change in search console rankings appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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5 takeaways for marketers from Google’s Q4 2019 earnings

Google reported revenues of $45.8 billion, up 17% year-over-year for the fourth quarter of 2019 on Monday. Including “other bets,” Google’s parent Alphabet reported total revenues grew 23% to $46.1 billion for the quarter. For the first time, the company disclosed YouTube advertising (and Cloud) revenues. It was also Sundar Pichai’s first earnings release since becoming Alphabet CEO.

Google Q4 advertising highlights:

  • Google search and other advertising revenues were $27.2 billion for the quarter, an increase of 17% year-over-year.
  • YouTube generated $4.7 billion in advertising revenue in the fourth quarter, up 31%.
  • Network advertising revenues were $6.0 billion, up 8%. The company said shifted its ad mix to favor Google properties and that growth in this segment was led by Google Ad Manager.

YouTube growing fastest, but still smallest share. Google has long been saying YouTube advertising has been growing, but we haven’t had an insights into just how much it contributes, until now.

Google reported annual YouTube advertising revenues of $15.1 billion, or 11% of total ad revenues in 2019. That compares to a whopping 72% share for Google Search and Other (includes Maps, Gmail, Play and Shopping) at $98.1 billion and 16% share from Google Network Members’ properties (third-party publisher sites), which generated $21.6 billion in 2019.

Google search & Other revenues grew by 15% year-over-year in 2019, while YouTube ad revenues increased by 36% for the year. Network revenues grew by just 8% compared to the previous year.

Expect more commerce advertising on YouTube. Brand advertising continues to account for the majority of ad spend on YouTube, but direct response is growing faster, executives said. In early November, Google opened up YouTube inventory on the home feed and in search results to Shopping ads.

“I think direct response is a huge growth area for us,” said Pichai on the earnings call. “And increasingly, I think when you look at the fact that people are consuming a lot of goods and services as part of their experience in YouTube, how can we create better commerce experiences also is a big opportunity for us.”

In January, Google brought in former PayPal COO Bill Ready to head up Commerce products, and Ready will be working closing with advertising teams.

In addition, YouTube “now has over 20 million Music and Premium paid subscribers, and over 2 million YouTube TV paid subscribers — ending 2019 at a $3 billion annual run rate in YouTube subscriptions and other non-advertising revenues,” Pichai said.

Shopping Actions participation grew. The ability for users to “Buy on Google” — indicated by shopping cart logos on Shopping ads — is a major focus on the revamped Google Shopping experience in the U.S. It’s powered by Google Shopping Actions, and the company said the number of U.S. merchants participating in that program has increased four-fold.

“Throughout the entire holiday shopping season, we also expanded the selection of products on Google due to a 4x uptick in the number of US merchants participating in our Shopping Actions program.”

Record shopping search touted. “Over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday weekend, we had the largest number of daily shoppers on Google.com ever in our history,” Pichai noted. Google has been facing pressure from the rapid growth of Amazon’s advertising business (even if still relatively small) as well as from social commerce offerings from the likes of Instagram and other platforms.

CPC declines slowing on Google properties. The company said growing engagement with YouTube ads “where cost-per-click remains lower than on our other advertising platforms” continued to contribute to overall lower cost-per click down across Google properties. However, the declines have lessened significantly this year. For 2019, CPCs on Google properties were off by just 7 percent compared to 25% drop year-over-year in 2018.

The post 5 takeaways for marketers from Google’s Q4 2019 earnings appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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How to Start Getting Organic Traffic to Your Blog

Writing a blog that no one ever reads is the internet equivalent of throwing a party, where half the people who’ve marked themselves as attending on Facebook don’t turn up. 

That moment when you log into Google Analytics and see that your posts have had three visitors in the past month, and two of them were you, is exactly like watching the hummus you decided to make from scratch (that’s a thing) remain untouched by the four guests that come to your house; two of whom are already claiming they’ve got another birthday party to go to and are making for the door.

There are two questions here. The first is whether Facebook RSVPs can ever be an accurate way of knowing how many people are actually coming to your event (absolutely not). And the second: what’s stopping people turning up? 

Let’s now transfer this clunky metaphor to the marketing world and get to the point of this post: why is no one turning up to read the content on your blog?

We’ve all seen brand and company blogs that lean too far towards being salesy, unrelatable and self-serving. They answer the company’s needs (here’s why you should buy hummus!) rather than those of potential readers (how do I make hummus from scratch?) – and the amount of organic traffic they get suffers as a result.

Which is why getting people to arrive on your blog requires planning, research, and having a bit of a clear out. And a lot of this needs to happen before anything even goes live. 

So if you’re wondering how to get organic traffic to your blog, here are some steps to follow. Done right, it’ll increase visits over time, build your company’s reputation as an authority on topics within your niche, and help your site’s SEO as a result. 

(Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee it’ll also make people come to your party).

1. Audit your existing content

This is the necessary bit of cleaning before you invite people over.

Except in this scenario, you’re using a big spreadsheet to work out what needs to stay, and what needs to go. My colleague Ben has helpfully created a content audit template which makes life a lot easier, so take a look at that before you get started. But I’ll go through some basics below.

Hopefully, you’ll already have Google Analytics running on your blog, so head to 

Behaviour > Site content > All pages 

…and change the date range to at least the last year. This should bring up a list of all your blog posts, and the traffic they’ve received over that time. Export it. You’re going to use this list to find out what blog posts are already getting traffic, and which ones aren’t. 

You might also want to check other metrics on these posts, like whether they’ve got any backlinks – because that might also inform what content you want to keep. To do this, you could combine backlinks detected in Google Search Console with data from either Ahrefs or Majestic.  

Then, starting with the highest to lowest traffic, one by one, go through each of the posts in terms of content and note/look out for the following:

  • What posts are getting consistent traffic? 
  • Which posts have seasonal spikes in traffic
  • Which posts get no traffic at all
  • Are there any popular topics/themes/categories

Make a note to fix:

  • Outdated content 
  • Broken images
  • Strange formatting
  • Broken links

And ultimately against each one, mark whether to:

  • Keep it 
  • Keep it, but update/repurpose it
  • Delete it completely
  • Delete it + redirect to a more useful post

By the end of this stage, you’ll have a list of actions to go through to help your existing content work harder. 

2. Keyword research

Next, you need to find out which topics it makes sense for your brand to be writing about in the future. And within that, the specific terms people are actually actively searching for. 

Spoiler alert: it might not directly relate to whatever you sell. 

There are a number of tools you can use to do this (free and paid) – and we’ll go into those in a future post. But essentially, it’ll involve using tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush and Keyword Planner to identify:

  • Relevant search terms within your niche
  • Their monthly search volumes
  • What your competitors are writing about 
  • Seasonal trends where traffic might spike

And once you’ve got a list of search terms to write content around, it’s time to start turning these into long tail ideas for evergreen blog posts. It’s these that, little by little, will build up traffic to your blog over time. 

3. Brainstorm topic ideas 

Your keyword research will leave you with a list of questions or informational non-branded terms and their search volumes, and an idea of when they peak. 

But the tricky bit is turning those terms into useful, relevant blog post ideas that fit neatly into a content calendar and align with your brand’s demographic. Remember, your aim here is to answer queries, become an authority on a particular topic, and provide relevant information. 

No one wants to come to a party and have the host do a hard sell. 

To rank in the SERPs, the posts will need to be detailed and well researched – so keep your business’ expertise in mind when you’re coming up with ideas. Don’t be afraid to go niche. 

Again, you might want to use some tools here to help you. Sites like Answer the Public can give you suggestions, or ‘People also ask’ on the Google SERPs. 

Let’s take an example: you’re a hotel brand, and your keyword research says that “things to do in London” is a good, high volume keyword to target. 

But it’s also a highly competitive term. So perhaps there’s a better way to narrow things down even more:

What other things dictate someone’s need for a hotel in London?

  • Time of year / seasonality
  • Specific interests, activities or events
  • Location: particular areas/boroughs

Your list of potential blog post ideas could a bit like this:

  • Things to do in London when it’s raining 
  • Baby-friendly museums in London
  • Where to take mum for her birthday in London

Do this until you’ve built out a big list of blog post ideas covering all the different topic areas you identified in your keyword research. Next step: plan it out. 

4. Plan out the content

Once you’ve got a huge list of blog post ideas and an idea of when their search volumes peak, use a content calendar to plan out what you’re publishing month by month. Here’s a useful guide to creating a content calendar which you can feed these organic traffic posts into.

When you’re planning out your content, consider:

  • Resource and time: to stand a chance of ranking, these posts will be comprehensive, well researched, and detailed (more on that next)
  • Posts will need to be written and published before the search volume peaks
  • Aim to publish at least 4 weeks beforehand, e.g. a post about Halloween outfit ideas would need to be published around mid September to catch the upward tick

5. Research the competition

Ok, let’s see what’s happening at that party. Not yours; no one’s at yours. The other, better one your guests are off to instead. You do some digging, and find out that party’s got a proper DJ and a decent sound system, while you’re putting your iPhone speaker in a wine glass. Where would you rather be?

Basically, before you start writing: know what you’re up against.

Take the blog post title you want to rank for (e.g. “things to do in London when it’s raining”), Google it, and see who and what is already ranking.

  • Format: are they numbered listicles (if so, how many ideas do they list?), long form pieces, or step-by-step guides? 
  • How recent is the article? 
  • Who currently has the featured snippet and what could increase your chances of getting the top spot? 
  • What’s the word count? How many items are they listing?

Remember: depending on your niche, your blog content competitors might not be your direct business competitors. 

So, Booking.com might be your competition when you’re selling hotels in London, but when you’re informing people about things to do in London, you could be up against established authorities like Time Out, travel magazines, or tourist boards. This gives you an idea of how detailed and well researched your post needs to be to compete.

Once you’ve got an idea of what your blog post needs to include, write a strong brief. 

5. Training for copywriters

Unless you’re working for one of the media outlets above, the chances are you don’t have a team of journalists working in-house.

And as I said, depending on your niche and industry, your competition might be lifestyle publications staffed by journalists.

The shift to writing more editorial-style content can be tricky if you’re working with in-house copywriters who are used to writing quite short, salesy product-focused copy. 

Depending on the competition, these evergreen, organic traffic driving posts are going to need to be more than 500 words of generic fluff. It’ll require research, sometimes resulting in upwards of 1,000 words, to be able to compete with whatever’s ranking on page 1. 

So if you don’t have the expertise in-house, consider where you might be able to get it. 

  • Who in your company can add expertise? 
  • Can you interview them and shape their answers into a post? 
  • Do you have the budget to source external freelance resource? 
  • Can you invest in basic SEO training for your copywriting team to help them along?

If you’re stuck, here’s a post on how to write high quality content to get you started.

7. Optimise, optimise, optimise

Before you publish, there’s a last bit of admin. Here are some things to check:

  • Whether you’re linking to other relevant blog posts (internally or externally)
  • If you’ve included a call to action at the end of the post
  • Whether your titles and meta descriptions are optimised for search (if you’re using WordPress, a plugin like Yoast allows you to specify different titles and descriptions for search and social)
  • Avoid putting dates in the URL (i.e. best-things-to-do-London-winter-2019) so you can update the same post next year without it looking out of date
  • Images are consistently named, spaced and formatted, the file sizes are low 

8. And last but not least, keep it updated

Kind of like getting people to turn up to your party, having an organic content strategy requires planning and work along the way.

It’s not a short term plan. It can take a good few months for a blog post to start getting organic traffic, and you might find you need to revisit the posts every so often to keep them updated and relevant.

So once you’ve written a post, keep a calendar note for seasonal posts that can be updated each year / as appropriate instead of creating new ones. 

That’s just an overview of the steps you need to take, and we’ll be going into more details in future guides. 

If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, or are wondering why your blog isn’t getting the organic traffic you think it should, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. 

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Aggregate & Automate Performance Reporting With Lighthouse & Google Data Studio

WTF Dan? I can’t even say that title, it’s a mouthful!

Sorry, random internet stranger but it sounds smart!

Anyways, performance reporting is good for SEO right? Speed is a critical ranking factor, it’s good for users, and we all just want to feel the need for it. But enterprise-class performance reporting dashboards are tough. Especially ones that are easy to spin up automatically, low resource and actionable.

Do these look like something you would want to have?

Would surfacing performance opportunities automatically and at scale like this be helpful?

Well, have no fear, because that’s what I’m here to walk you through!

So first, check out the end product. Here is a performance dashboard we created for Target (sorry for outing you Target SEO, but hey free report!):

https://datastudio.google.com/open/17bU954JKOK-7xCeSZuipEdgnTYhRYh2-

This dashboard was created by taking a simple two-column spreadsheet (one column with a URL and another with the label), passing it via-.CSV through our Slackbot Jarvis running it through our process, and then outputting it as a Google Data Studio Report. Yes, we have a bot named Jarvis. Don’t you?

It took me about 15 minutes to classify the URLs and about 10 for the report to be run/created. Isn’t living in the future cool? I guess a human could compile all this, but this seems like a real time-saver to allow the human brain to do what it’s best at – analyzing!

Just to get into some of the features, most of the charts can be drilled down into, diagnostic and performance metrics can be looked at holistically or with any subset of templates, and you can track over time to see improvements.

IMHO this is a much better way of doing performance reporting as you can look at not just snapshots of resources on a page, but how they perform across a whole template or even a site. It makes the real costs of particular performance issues much more clear.

Anyway, enough talking.

We are also open sourcing this!

If you want to spin it up for yourself

check out the documentation and get some!

Dan, why did you build this?

Pretty simple it saves us a ton of time on performance reporting in our audits and is a spiffy deliverable for clients that shows them how badass we are at technical SEO. Plus we can iterate on it super easy. Just as an example, adding in competitors to benchmark templates against is gonna be in our next iteration. If you do cool stuff, please share it with me @danleibson on Twitter!

Remember kids technical SEO = local SEO when your queries are local and your web stack is complicated and Google is rapidly localizing search more then they are rolling out any other feature. Don’t put yourself in a box. I don’t let my teammates!

Like most things, this isn’t done in a vacuum so I just want to shout out people like Jamie Alberico for talking me through a bunch of her elvish wizardry around the topic and Hamlet Batista for being willing to just throw stuff out there into public so others can learn.

The post Aggregate & Automate Performance Reporting With Lighthouse & Google Data Studio appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

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DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI

This Smells Like My Vagina Candle

We had a bad client call last week.

The client is a sexy DTC start-up. They had asked us to put together an editorial strategy to improve their ability to target potential customers via SEO, but when we presented our recommendations which were primarily focused on high-intent-to-purchase queries, the CEO’s first question was “Why can’t we make sexy content like Goop, Away Travel, Food52 and Casper?”

Instead of targeting things you would ask before you bought the product, he wanted more “interesting” content that people would bond with. For example, if we were targeting people in the market for laptops, we wanted to target “what is a good laptop for everyday use?” and he wanted to target “best coffee shops in West Hollywood to work from,” with the idea that the person doing that search is their target customer and they would appreciate the brand’s POV on where they should hang out.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with his approach. It’s just a much longer, indirect play that targets a broad audience, most of which will likely not be in the market for his product any time soon. This is the kind of strategy Mercedes employs when it starts marketing to children so that when they grow up and have cash, they’ll subconsciously desire their cars. But it definitely helps to be Mercedes. And it definitely helps that Mercedes has money to burn.

But IMO this is not a great SEO strategy to get results in the near term.

There are plenty of good non-SEO reasons to invest in content, but if you are looking to rank well in Google for intent-to-buy queries, you’ll want to consider how well search intent aligns with your brand strategy. Looking at the DTC brands our client mentioned, you can see their content & SEO strategies are not all alike:

AwayTravel.com: Targeting The Top of The Funnel

According to SEMRush, AwayTravel.com gets almost no non-branded organic traffic. They do rank well for “carry on luggage,” but I believe that is mostly because one of their products is called “The Carry On Luggage.” They don’t appear to rank on page one of Google for any other significant non-brand queries and get barely any non-brand organic traffic:

AwayTravel.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

It appears they put all of their “brand” content on https://www.heremagazine.com/ which according to SEMRush gets ~8K SEO visits/month from queries like “la to oregon road trip.” According to Ahrefs.com, they have done an aggressive backlinking program to this site over the past 6 months (4K+ links):

It looks like they have published north of 700 articles. Away branding on this site is almost invisible. I’d argue they get virtually no business directly from it. I am guessing the role of this site is to get email addresses so they can market the luggage to subscribers.

FOOD52.com & GOOP.com: When Brand Strategy Aligns With Search Intent

The folks at Food52 are either SEO geniuses or just lucky because they picked a niche where “brand” content – recipes, travel, home design, etc. – aligns perfectly with search queries like “matcha shortbread cookies” or “things to do in hudson, ny“:

Food52.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

If you wanted to start a DTC business with an SEO strategy, you’d want to figure out a niche like Food52’s where the brand and the search intent are one and the same.

Goop.com
Goop is similar to Food52 in that it publishes a ton of content much of which is designed to lead you to a product, such as this post on why you’re not losing weight, which basically pitches their products as the cure. It also publishes City Guide content like https://goop.com/city-guide/the-mini-los-cabos-guide/ that ranks for “cabo itinerary,” which could hit travelers as they are planning a trip and might be in the mindset to buy a travel kit from them. Like with Food52, the travel part of this is not a bad SEO strategy if you are willing to invest in a ton of content plus promotion (aka links) and are looking to use this is as an awareness builder. Goop’s non-brand traffic looks pretty good:

Goop.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

CASPER.com: The Opposite of Sexy


Casper feels almost 100% focused on “SEO” v “brand.” Most of their “brand” content lives on their blog, and much of the content appears to be focused on not-very-competitive keywords somewhat related to sleeping such as “what to do in the middle of the night,”  “plants in bedroom benefits,” etc. Most of these have low search volume, but you can see how someone might find Casper through these queries. This is not a bad strategy, but it’s not one we would choose as a primary SEO strategy, and I don’t think it’s Casper’s real SEO strategy.

Casper is prioritizing decidedly non-sexy “intent to buy” queries like “queen mattress size” and “how often should I replace my mattress.” According to the SEMRush data, https://casper.com/mattress-size-comparison-guide/ generates more than 50% of Casper’s non-brand traffic.

While Casper’s mattress size page looks about as sexy as Rudy Giuliani,

(sorry) it’s SEO performance looks super sexy to me:

Casper.com Non-Brand Page One Keywords

I would argue Casper may be over-reliant on a small number of URLs to do their SEO work. If that mattress-size page gets displaced in the SERPs, I wonder what that would do to their business.

So when you are thinking about investing in sexy content, before you pull the trigger, make sure you know exactly what you want that content to do for you. If it’s for social media, brand-building, etc., make it as sexy as you possibly can. But if it’s for SEO, make sure it’s at least targeting some sexy search queries.

The post DTC, SEO & Sexy Content ROI appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

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5 Common Causes of a Slow WordPress Site – What to Know

A slow WordPress site is anyone’s nightmare. For both website owners and visitors, a slow website means more time wasted waiting for pages to load, not to mention the impatience that grows and the frustration that causes anyone not to revisit the site ever again.

Browsing a website is like shopping in a store. Customers want a very streamlined and quick experience when they are looking to buy something or simply just having a look around. If your WordPress site is loading slow this can really harm the visitor experience. If you are selling something on your website this could really harm your bottom line and financial future. It is so important to put a huge focus on WordPress speed to make sure that you are not dealing with a slow WordPress site.

There are many causes to a slow WordPress site, including the images displayed on the site that aren’t compressed or way too many plugins installed. In this article, we’ll talk about four common causes of a slow website:


Slow WordPress Site

1. Website Isn’t Cached

When a visitor enters your website, their browser sends a request to the server to receive the files of the site to load in for the visitor to see. These files include pictures, scripts, design elements, and all sorts of other files. If you have a lot of files on your website, loading will take a while, especially if its content is dynamic as well.

Generally, dynamic content takes a lot longer to load compared to static content. When you cache your website, you store a static version of your website, allowing visitors to retrieve that file to load quicker. In other words, if your website isn’t cached, the server will slow down trying to respond to multiple requests at one time, which, in turn, increases the visitor’s loading time too.

There are some amazing caching plugins available out there that you can easily install on your WordPress website and get instant results and a huge speed increase. There is a range of free plugins that you can find at wordpress.org and there is also our favorite premium plugin Swift performance Pro. We highly recommend investing in a premium caching plugin so you can get the most out of your speed. Speed is such a good investment to make towards the success of your website.


Slow WordPress Site

2. Outdated PHP Version

Updates are often carried out for many reasons—enhanced security, increased performance, additional features, and so on. Even if all your website’s components are up to date, it will still be slow if the foundation of it all is outdated. The foundation? PHP.

It is the underlying language of WordPress websites, which means that an outdated version of it will hamper the performance of the overall site severely. That said, your website host should always be utilizing the latest PHP in their servers. If they aren’t, or you’re hosting it yourself, you’ll need to upgrade it manually. Just remember that if your website is quite old, you will need to first check to see if it is compatible with the latest version.

We see this often when helping customers here where they are running a very old version of PHP on their web hosting server. You should always be running the most recent version of PHP that is available. We are talking about speed here but there are also several security enhancements that come with new version of PHP.


Slow WordPress Site

3. Too Many Plugins

While plugins are useful in terms of adding features to your website, too many will eat up the server’s resources. Over time, you’ll end up with more plugins than you’ve started with. That means that not only will you end up with plenty of plugins to run, but that some of these them may not be updated, which can slow down the performance of your site even more.

An excessive amount of plugins installed and activated on a WordPress site can be the death of speed. You have to remember that for each plug and you have installed and activated it is likely adding some type of server request when it functions. Each of these requests take time to complete. The more requests that you have running the slower your website is going to take to render and view for your visitor. Make sure that you are not bloating your website with a large amount of active plugins that are not necessary for its success.

Speed is also about sacrifice and while there may be a really cool plugin with a really cool feature that you want to have on your WordPress site it might slow it down. So what would you rather have speed or this cool feature that the plugin offers. Speed is about sacrifice in some cases. Do not overload your website with too many active plugins that are not needed 1000%.

Take a look at the 10 plugins you should stay away from at the link below.
https://wpfixit.com/wordpress-plugins-to-stay-away-from/


Slow WordPress Site

4. Cheap Hosting Providers

While trying to find solutions with the lowest cost is a goal for many businesses, it isn’t necessarily a good one when it comes to choosing a hosting provider for your website. From uptime to security, your host is pretty much what ensures that your website keeps on existing. If you have opted for a cheap plan, it might be because you’re starting small and don’t require the extra resources or features to run the site.

However, your website will grow over time, and if you still stick with the cheap hosting plan, your website is going to struggle. Server resources are eaten up, slowing down response times and increasing loading speeds. When you feel like your hosting plan isn’t enough to keep up with your needs, upgrade it.

When it comes to WordPress website hosting you really get what you pay for. We fully understand that many business owners and other WordPress users are on a tight budget when it comes to the development and hosting their website. But your hosting decision is the very foundation of having your website be successful. Do not cut corners or go the cheap route with that decision. Invest in a good web hosting company that will become part of your team and there when you need support for any of your website hosting needs.

Read what our owner Jarrett Gucci said about a hosting company he would trust his kids with at the link below.
https://wpfixit.com/siteground-hosting-review/


Slow WordPress Site

5. Malware

A malware infection site is not only a security threat, but also a menace to business. Clearing your site of any malware will ensure that it’s performing at its best. There are several ways to do this. For one, plugins. It’s wise to clean your website of these plugins occasionally, removing ones that you don’t need and updating ones that you require. Your plugin needs may change, but it’s best to keep a WordPress malware removal plugin installed at all times. Such plugins can help you detect intrusions to your site security, making it easier for you to eliminate those threats.

If you find that your website is currently overrun with malware, consider bringing on the help of a WordPress malware removal service. A human touch will do wonders for ensuring your website is performing at its best. On that same note, a fantastic way to improve your site’s loading speed is to choose a hosting provider that offers malware removal services. This ensures that your site isn’t compromised or bogged down with malware stealing server resources.

If you’re looking for a WordPress malware removal service, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.


Bottom Line

There are many causes of a slow website. You can start checking for the above factors to figure out what’s causing your site to load forever, then do your best to try and solve it. After all, a slow website is a website that’s just as good as dead. People are going to be frustrated while trying to use one, so they would most likely never come back again. That said, if you’re having trouble speeding up your website, there are plenty of services you can find, just like ours, to help you get what you want—a faster website.

NO NEED TO STRESS
WE CAN SPEED UP YOUR SITE!

WE WILL START MAKING IT BLAZING FAST RIGHT AWAY

 

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