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Schema Markup for SEO → The Complete Guide

If you want to become a good SEO, you need to have a holistic view on all SEO related topics and there are some technical elements that you must understand, even if they’re not quite easy to digest. One of these topics is schema markup.


Schema markup and structured data had a role in SEO for years now and it seems that major search engines recommend them. But what exactly is schema markup? And, more importantly, how does it impact the SEO process?

Schema Markup for SEO


After reading this article, you’ll know exactly: what schema markup is, how it affects SEO & search engines, how to correctly implement it on websites and how it can help you get better rankings.


  1. What Is Schema Markup
  2. What Is Structured Data
  3. What Is the Difference Between Schema Markup, Microdata and Structured Data
  4. What Are Schema Markup & Structured Data in SEO
  5. How Does Schema Markup Impact SEO & Search Engines
  6. Schema Markup Types Supported by Google
  7. How To Implement Structured Data Markup On Your Website
  8. Structured Data Vocabularies
  9. Schema Encoding Types & Examples
  10. Why Doesn’t My Website Display a Rich Snippet?
    1. What is Unparsable Structured Data?
    2. Structured Markup Penalties
  11. Structured Data Myths

1. What Is Schema Markup


Schema markup is a code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website, with the purpose of helping the search engines return more informative results for users. Schema markup allows you to create enhanced descriptions that appear in search results, just like in the screenshot below.


cognitiveseo schema markup


Due to its standardized semantic vocabulary, schema markup added to your site’s HTML helps the major search engines understand your page’s information better and return richer, more informative results.


Schema markup has the advantage to be easily stored, retrieved, displayed and analyzed. In a nutshell, when Google doesn’t know if your information is about an artist or a concert of the artist, you can make things clear using structured data markup.


2. What Is Structured Data


Structured data (or linked data) is a way of organizing information for better accessibility. It might be hard to understand for some because of its relation to coding. However, in simple terms, it’s also called metadata or information behind the information.


It’s similar to a database, in which terms are stored in relation to other terms. Think of it as an Excel Spreadsheet, where you have the head of the columns as the terms and under them come their values. Together, this data forms a structure which defines something.


Structured Data SEO


For example, you can have a product in your store. The structured data could contain a list of terms and their values. The product can be “Lenovo IdeaPad 510” and it could have a list of the following items/terms, with their values:


Name > Lenovo IdeaPad S145

Rating > 4.2

Review Users > 925

Price > $239.99

Stock > In Stock



3 The difference between Schema, Microdata, and Structured Data


To make things easier, let’s shortly recap what these terms mean and what the differences between them are:


  • Structured Data is a general term that represents binding items to values to better structure information. It can be related to SEO as much as to anything else which contains information.
  • Microdata is a format and it represents the way the data is structured… in a ‘visual manner’, let’s say. In simple terms, think of it as text vs audio or video. You can say the same thing in both, but it will appeal to different people. You can have the same data structured in Microdata format or in JSON-LD format, for example.
  • Schema is a vocabulary that defines the terms and values. There are other vocabularies such as Dublin Core. In simple terms, think of them as languages. The good thing with is that it has been accepted by very many platforms, making it the best option for multiple scenarios. That’s why many people use Schema Markup as a synonym for implementing Structured Data.


Here are some takeaways:


  • You can have data structured in multiple formats, such as microdata of JSON-LD.
  • You can define terms using multiple vocabularies such as or Dublin Core.
  • You can use either vocabularies with either of the formats, resulting in your markup.
  • When people refer to Schema Markup, they generally refer to everything related to structured data, but using the vocabulary.




4. What Are Schema Markup & Structured Data in SEO?


When it comes to SEO, structured data represents some markup that is implemented on a website which search engines like Google can use in order to display information better. SEOs very often refer to structured data as Schema Markup because it’s one of the most popular markups used to structure data. We’ll talk about it soon.


Using that markup, Search Engines can display what are known as “rich search results” or “rich snippets”. They are called “rich results” because they contain more elements than regular results, making them stand out.


The rich snippet/rich result for the example above looks really good when Google picks up the metadata and displays it properly.


eCommerce Rich Snippet


The code is a little bit uglier than that and looks something like this:


Rich Snippet Code JSON LD


It might look complicated, but if you read it, it makes sense. You can see things like “@type”:”AggregateRating” with the values and the review count, and then the “@type”Offer” with the price and availability. The code above is in the JSON-LD format, which is one of the more complicated ones to understand. We’ll talk about formats and which ones to use soon, so keep reading.


You can also use structured data to enrich a recipe search result. It can also have ratings but, instead of displaying the price, it displays how long it takes to make the dish, which is always useful when seeking for a recipe.


Recipe Rich Snippet SEO


These are just basic rich snippets, which affect the regular results you see in Google’s organic search results. However, Google supports a number of different types or rich snippets, some of them which I will present soon. But first, let’s talk about vocabularies and data markup.


5. How Does Schema Markup Affect SEO & Search Engines

To put it simply, structured data is not a ranking factor / signal. But if you’ve been doing SEO for a while, you know I’m lying and it’s not actually that simple.


You see, that’s the general consensus, or at least what Google officials tell us. In reality, opinions vary. Some say that it does affect rankings and some say it doesn’t. One thing we know for sure is that we cannot 100% trust what Google says. It’s not that they’re not transparent, but they have to keep the algorithm secret.


But let’s see punctually how schema markup impacts SEO:


CTR (Click Through Rate)


Structured Data might not be a ranking signal, but it sure can help with rankings, at least indirectly. You see, any modification to your search result will have an impact on your CTR (click through rate). A negative one will drop your CTR and a positive one will boost it.


With a higher CTR, your rankings will actually be higher.


If more people click on your search engine result, this sends Google a signal that they want to read your content.


To honor that demand, Google might rank your article higher so that more people will see it. This happens constantly, so don’t expect your article to stay there. Tomorrow, a competitor might change their title and their CTR might be higher than yours. Google will notice that.


Click Through Rate


Structured data can help you with CTR because rich results catch the eye easier than regular search results. Sure, those snippets usually display the information directly on Google’s landing page, but some of that organic traffic will still forward to your website.


This might sound counter-intuitive but, with all the rich snippets in the search results, you might end up having a lower CTR and less organic traffic going to your website.


Why? Because a user can find the answer directly in the search results and they don’t need to click.


For example, most nutrition websites have structured data implemented, which means most of them get rich snippets. If you’re in the top 3 results and all the results display the recipe duration, if your duration is the highest, users might decide to not click your search engine result and go for a faster recipe instead.


So, while you can get higher CTR if your rich result stands out (not everyone has rich snippets), it can also lower your CTR if everyone has rich snippets and the client browses based on that info.




You shouldn’t prioritize the addition of structured data on your website unless you’ve finished dealing with other, more important issues, such as keyword research, content optimization and other OnPage SEO factors.


Why? Because Google said it understands the content and the information required to display rich snippets without structured data, although it’s recommended that you use it.


Google can understand your content to display it in rich snippets even without the addition of structured data. However, it’s safer if you do use the markup.


So, for example, if you have some HTML with 5 stars and the text “Rating: 4.7 – 24 Reviewers”, Google might figure that out on its own and display a Review rich snippet even without structured data.


However, if you want to have a higher chance of the reviews being displayed, then add the SEO structured data so that Google understands the content perfectly.


But remember, prioritize! Keyword research, title and content optimization, website speed and quality backlinks are much more effective in ranking you higher. So if you don’t have those in place, you can postpone the structured data markup.


Personally, I don’t see how structured data can make search engines smarter. If Google wants its algorithms to better understand content more like a human, structured data makes it a disservice. The truth is that Google doesn’t want to rely on structured data in the future.


You should prioritize other things such as good crawling and indexation, keyword research and title/content optimization before going for structured data (the SEO Tools from cognitiveSEO can help you with that).


Schema markup isn’t (probably) the future of Search Engine Optimization & Digital Marketing but, for now, once you have finished other, more important search engine optimization tasks, you can make good use of it. Some studies even show that implementing structured data on your website can boost CTR up to 30%.



6. Schema Markup Types Supported by Google


You might be wondering what important types of schema markup are there? Well, there’s pretty much a markup for anything you can probably imagine.


However, there are only a limited number of rich snippet types that Google has developed and improved over the years, each unique in its own way.


Organization Schema Markup


The Organization Schema markup isn’t a rich snippet on it’s own but it is a very important part of it because it is found in almost all the snippets. It represents the author of the content so it can also be a single person, such as an author, for example.

This is good for making sure the content is associated with the proper brand / name.


Breadcrumbs Markup


The Breadcrumbs Schema Markup is crucial for representing website structure. The structure of the site is represented 

However, you can also point that out.

We know that Google constantly adjusts how the search results display.

BreadCrumbs Schema Markup

Review, Product & Offer Schema Markup


The most popular markup out there is probably the review & product one. I’ve presented it in the beginning of the article. There are multiple items that can be added to the product rich snippet, from the product name and price to details, such as the lowest price and highest price, or offer expiry dates.

Review Schema markup

Recipe Schema Markup


I’ve also shown an example of the recipe snippet above. You can specify things such as ingredients and how much time the recipe takes.

Recipe Schema markup

FAQ Schema Markup


The FAQ Schema Markup lists answers to the related questions around your topic / page in a drop down format. Neil Patel used this FAQ schema technique to greatly improve his search engine traffic. However, it seems like this can be abused and Google might fix it.

FAQ Schema Markup


How to Schema Markup


Similar to the FAQ Schema Markup. A drop down type snippet with step by step answers.


Q&A Schema Markup


The Q&A Schema Markup is specially designed for websites like Quora or Yahoo Answers. It can also  be applied in other scenarios, of course. Google recommends linking to individual answers (via anchors, for  example) to provide the best user experience. 

Q&A Schema markup


Article Schema Markup (related to AMP)


A carousel in which your article can be displayed at the top of the page that can be swiped, above ads and organic search results. Visible only on mobile devices.

AMP Carousel Schema Markup


Video Schema Markup


A visual snippet which displays the thumbnail of a video next the the title and description. It is very useful for organic video marketing.


Event Schema Markup


A visual snippet where the date is very visible and with quick access to Google Calendar bookings.

Event Rich Snippet Schema Markup

Local Business Schema Markup


If you have a local business or are doing local SEO for a client, then you might want to add local business schema markup to the website. The markup itself is formed out of multiple data items, such as Organization, Description, Logo, Address, Phone and even Reviews.

You can check a list created by of how to properly add schema markup for local businesses in this Google Sheet.


Other Types of Schema Markup


A list of full rich snippets that Google supports can be viewed here (browse them from the menu).

Also, note that different search engines such as Yandex and Yahoo! (Bing) might also use other types of structured data or schema markup on their platforms.

However, we do know that both Yandex and Bing accept and recommend, so it’s a good idea to only implement this one, unless other 3rd party apps that you use require other types of markup.



7. How To Add Schema Markup On Your Website (The Right Way)


If you’re interested in schema markup, you’re probably also wondering how to use Google structured data on your website.


If you want to use structured data markup on your website so that Google can pick it up, you’ll either have to code it or make use of some plugins / extensions that will add the structured data for you.


The thing is, you have to implement it correctly, otherwise it might do more harm than good.


If you implement structured data wrong, your rich snippets might display the wrong information, they might not display it at all and you might even get penalized for it.


Here’s how you can implement structured data correctly on your website, on different platforms:


How to add schema markup in WordPress & Blogs 


As you know, adding things on WordPress is generally very easy because there’s a ton of plugins you can choose from and, best of all, most of them are free. Implementing Schema Markup doesn’t make an exception.


To add Schema Markup to your WordPress blog, check out the structured data & schema markup plugins in the WP repository. Choose the one with the features you need and with good reviews. The SEO plugin also adds basic structured data functionality to most of your pages, so make sure you don’t have duplicate codes.


Note that these plugins implement basic structured data for your articles & pages. You might want to look for something specific if you have a recipes website, for example. If you have an eCommerce store on WordPress, the WooCommerce plugin already implements products structured data for you.


How to add schema markup in Magento & eCommerce


As for WordPress websites, most eCommerce platforms such as Magento, OpenCart or Prestashop will come with structured data already integrated.


If you’re not sure that your site has the proper structured data, use the structured data Google Structured Data Testing Tool. You should see something like this:


Structured Data SEO Tool


If there’s no Product section, it means your implementation is missing. There are always plugins and extensions so do a Google search and find what suits your platform.


Make sure to fix the warnings too, although they won’t stand in the way of your rich snippets displaying.


Local SEO structured data


If you have a local business, structured data can really help your local SEO. You can mark up your NAP (name, address, phone) so that search engines can better understand that information.


This plugin for WordPress seems to support structured data for Local Businesses.


Custom schema markup implementation


Sometimes, adding markup to your website can be more difficult. If you have a custom platform, you don’t have a plugin to simply… plug in.


Step 1: Find out the type of page you have and which type of schema markup fits it best. For example, informational pages go well with FAQ or How to schema markup. Products on eCommerce sites, on the other hand, go well with the Product schema markup.


Note that it’s important not to try to trick Google into making your result more appealing if it doesn’t make sense. So only pick what Google recommends from the types of rich snippets it supports.


Step 2: Generate the schema markup. Generating JSON LD structured data is pretty easy. You can use an online schema markup generator such as this one to easily generate your code.


However, you’ll have to manually add it in your head section. Which means this would be a static implementation.


If you have thousands of pages, that might not be easy. You’re better off developing a dynamic system with a programmer, where the platform automatically picks up the information from the database and compiles it into a JSON format to display it in the HTML for each product/page.


So although the template for the Product Schema Markup in the JSON-LD format stays the same the values such as Price, Currency, Product name or Rating might change from page to page and website to website.


Sometimes, you can also manually add schema into your HTML with Microdata. However, it’s best if you use the JSON-LD format, as suggested by Google. 


Step 3: Validate everything.


If you’re planning on adding markup manually, make sure to validate your code with the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.




8. Structured Data Vocabularies


For structured data, you need two things: a list of item names and a way to display them. So we have vocabularies and formats which, together, result in markup.


The list of items is called vocabulary. You can think of it as languages. Different words can mean different things in different languages and not everybody speaks every language.


There are multiple types of schema and vocabularies available: is the most popular vocabulary for structured data. Why? Well, because it has been accepted by major search engines and companies, such as Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc. It’s sort of an… international language, like English.


As I said above, because Schema Markup is so popular, SEOs often refer to structured data directly as Schema Markup. You could have structured data implemented on your website without Schema Markup, by using another vocabulary. However, you will use Schema Markup of your own free will 🙂 Got it?


The Markup supports a very big variety of items and elements. You can view the entire list of supported items on We’ll soon discuss which ones are the most important schema markup elements, which Google actually uses in the search engine results.


Open Graph


You might be familiar with Open Graph. It’s not used for search engines, but social media platforms, such as Facebook, use it to display titles and images.


Facebook Open Graph Markup


They are useful for SEO & Facebook Marketing because you can separate the regular <title> tag used for search engines from the Facebook title. This way, you can keep the keywords in the <title>, which is important for SEO, and you can also have a catchy headline for social media, which is important for clicks & engagement.


Dublin Core


Dublin Core is another vocabulary, similar to but much more limited. It’s probably the second most popular one. Unless you have solid motives to use Dublin Core, such as a 3rd party app your site is hooked to uses it, use vocabulary instead.


9. Schema Encoding Types & Examples


First let’s take a look at how the information for the address of an organization would look without any structured data, in plain HTML code:


The following information was taken from You can view examples for most of the vocabulary properties there (some of them are still marked as “To Do”).


Address Structured Data Plain HTML code (source:




JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) is a method of encoding and presenting structured data information using JSON. This is recommended by the W3C, which means it is standardized.


Here’s an example of how the above information would be displayed using JSON. Google also recommends using JSON LD for displaying structured data on your website. Again, it looks complicated but you won’t have to write it yourself, as it can be generated with tools we’ll soon talk about.


Address Structured Data in JSON LD Format

Address Structured Data in JSON LD Format (source:




With Microdata you can specify the structured data information within the HTML code itself, using HTML tag attributes. This makes it easier for many people to understand. However, while this is easy to add manually on a case by case basis, it’s difficult to scale and automatize when required for bigger websites (such as eCommerce ones).


Address Structured Data in Microdata Format

Address Structured Data in Microdata Format (source:


With JSON LD, you’ll have a lot of standardized plugins for different purposes on most platforms. However, if the element you’re trying to specify isn’t included in the plugin and thus doesn’t display in the outputted JSON LD code, you can add it easily in the HTML using Microdata.




RDFa is similar to Microdata, which means it’s also added through HTML tag attributes. The difference is that RDFa is older and more complex. It has other uses outside of the HTML realm and this means integration with other apps/platforms/servers is easier if they use the technology.


Address Structured Data in RDFa Format

Address Structured Data in RDFa Format (source:


Whether you want to go with RDFa or Microdata is your choice, they’ll both do just fine. However, do it as an alternative. Using JSON-LD is the recommended way to go.


Notice how all the formats above, although different, use the data markup vocabulary.



10. Why Doesn’t My Website Display a Rich Snippet?


So you’ve finished implementing structured data on your website, but the rich snippets don’t show up in search. What do you do?


Implementing structured data on your website correctly doesn’t guarantee rich snippets.


Unfortunately, Google picks up only what it wants. If it’s your Homepage you’re worrying about, worry no more! Google doesn’t display rich snippets for Homepages.


First, make sure that your code is implemented correctly by testing it. You can do this using the following tools from Google:


Google Structured Data Testing Tool: This is the most popular tool for testing out JSON LD markup and structured data.


structured data testing tool



Rich Snippet Validator: This is still in beta, but it’s useful. You can find it here.


Rich Results Testing Tool


10.1 What is Unparsable Structured Data?


Unparsable structured data is data markup on your website that could not be properly parsed (or understood) by Google. This, most likely, means that you have not implemented things correctly on your site.


In programming, parsing is the separation of a cluster of strings into separate ones. In other terms, the strings could not be correctly read or understood, which indicates an error in how the strings were presented.


These errors shows either in the Google validator as an error, or in the Google Search Console, under Enhancements > Unparsable Structured Data.


Unparsable Structured Data


Compared to the other validators above, it’s very useful because it will highlight errors for multiple pages at once, although it doesn’t highlight all the details of the issue.


Unparsable Structured Data SEO Search Console


Make sure you use Google’s SEO Tools to your advantage when implementing schema markup and structured data on your website.



10.2 Structured Markup Penalties


If you implement structured data wrong, you probably won’t get penalized. However, if you try to cheat, Google might apply a structured markup penalty on your website.


For example, if you just want the star ratings and number of reviewers, you can simply add them manually to your page. Your product could be 3 stars, but you might want to display 5 stars in the search engines. You could also add a smaller structured data price, while on the website, the real price is higher.


That’s not fair and the Google algorithm updates might punish you! 




If you get a similar message in your Search Console or your organic traffic to all the pages with structured markup has suddenly dropped, make sure to read this article about structured markup penalties to find out how to fix things.


11. Common Schema Markup Myths


There are a few myths that go around regarding rich snippets and structured data. Most of them are simply implementation mistakes and misconceptions.


However, even though we’ve already talked about this and covered these topics above, it’s a good idea


1. Schema markup guarantees rich snippets: They don’t. Google will pick whatever it wants regardless of whether you have structured data on your website or not. That’s why it’s a good idea to implement other, more important things first instead of focusing on structured data.


2. Schema markup is a ranking factor: It’s not. At least, that’s what the Google officials have stated over and over again. However, CTR is a ranking factor and since Structured Data can affect the CTR, your rankings might improve. But Google won’t care if you simply implement markup on your website.


3. You need schema for answer boxes: You don’t. Answer boxes and structured data might have something in common since Google has recently implemented the Q&A markup but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an answer box without structured data.




Since major search engines recommend adding structured data, go ahead and add it, especially if you have an eCommerce website. Make sure to implement it correctly and validate it with the above-mentioned tools. However, you should prioritize other important SEO tasks first.


What’s your experience with structured markup? Do you use it in your SEO & digital marketing strategy? Does it help with your clickthrough rates? Let us know in the comments section below.


The post Schema Markup for SEO → The Complete Guide appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

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1,083,219 People Per Month and Counting: My New Favorite SEO Strategy


You’ve heard about it before and I bet you’ve even listened to a handful of podcasts. But you probably haven’t created one yet.

Just think of it this way…

There are over 1 billion blogs and roughly 7 billion people
in this world. That’s 1 blog for every 7 people…

On the other hand, there are roughly 700,000 podcasts. That means there is only 1 podcast for every 10,000 people or so.

Podcasting is 1,428 times less competitive than blogging.

So, should you waste your time on podcasting?

Well, let me ask you this… do you want a new way to get more organic traffic from Google?

I’m guessing you said yes. But before I teach you how to do that, let me first break down some podcasting stats for you, in case you aren’t convinced yet.

Is podcasting even worth it?

From a marketing and monetization standpoint, podcasting isn’t too bad.

I have a podcast called Marketing School that I do with my buddy Eric Siu. We haven’t done much to market it and over time it’s grown naturally.

Here are the stats for the last month.

We got 1,083,219 downloads or “listens” last month. To give you an idea of what that is worth, Dream Host paid us $60,000 for an ad spot…

They’ve also been paying us for a while, technically we have a 1-year contract worth $720,000.

Now on top of the ad money, Eric and I both have gotten clients from our podcast. It’s tough to say how much revenue we’ve made from the podcast outside of advertising, but it is easy to say somewhere in the 7-figure range.

Keep in mind, when I make money through ads or generate revenue for my ad agency, there are costs so by no means does that revenue mean profit.

Sadly, my expenses are really high, but I’ll save that for a
different post.

But here is the cool thing: Eric and I only spend 3 hours a month to record podcast episodes for the entire month. So, the financial return for how much time we are spending is high.

And if that doesn’t convince you that you need to get into podcasting, here are some other stats that may:

  • 32% of Americans listen to a podcast at least
    once a month.
  • 54% of listeners think about buying products advertised
    in podcasts.
  • Businesses spent $497 million on podcast ads in
    2018 (probably much larger now).
  • 51%
    of monthly active podcast listeners
    have an annual household income of at
    least $75,000.

If you haven’t created a podcast, this guide will
teach you how
. And this
will teach you how to get your first 10,000 downloads.

Alright, and now for the interesting part…

How to get more SEO traffic through podcasting

Back in 2019, Google saw how podcasts were growing at a rapid pace and they didn’t want to miss out.

They wanted people to continually use Google, even when it came to learning information that is given over audio format. So they decided to make a change to their search engine and algorithm and started to index podcasts and rank them.

And depending on what you search for and the more specific you get, you’ll even notice that Google is pulling out details from specific episodes. This clearly shows that they are able to transcribe the audio automatically.

This shouldn’t be too much of a shocker as they’ve already had this technology for years. They use it on YouTube to figure out what a video is really about.

But here is the thing, just recording a podcast and putting
it out there isn’t going to get you a ton of search traffic.

So how do you get more SEO traffic to your podcast?

It starts with topics

Podcasting is a lot like blogging.

If you create a blog post on any random topic that no one
cares to read about, then you aren’t going to generate much traffic… whether it
is from social or search.

The same goes for podcasting. If you have an episode on a random topic that no one cares to listen to, then you won’t get many downloads (or listens) and very little SEO traffic as well.

Just look at the stats for a few of our episodes.

Look at the screenshot above, you’ll see some do better than

For example, the episode on “7 Secrets to Selling High Ticket Items” didn’t do as well as “The 7 Best Marketing Conferences 2020” or even “How to Drive More Paid Signups In Your Funnel.”

You won’t always be able to produce a hit for every podcast
you release, but there is a simple strategy you can use to increase your success

First, go to Ubersuggest
and type in a keyword or phrase related to what your podcast is about.

Once you type in your keyword or phrase, hit search.

You’ll land on a screen that looks something like this:

Then in the left-hand navigation, click on the “Content Ideas” option.

From there, you’ll see a list of popular topics on the subject you are researching.

This report breaks down popular blog posts based on social shares, SEO traffic, and backlinks.

Typically, if a blog post has all 3, that means people like the topic. Even if it has only 2 out of the 3, it shows that people are interested in the topic.

What we’ve found is that if a topic has done well as a blog post, it usually does well as a podcast episode.

See with the web, there are so many blogs, most topics have been beaten to death. But with podcasting, it is the opposite. Because there are very few podcasts, most topics haven’t been covered.

And if you take those beaten-to-death blog topics and turn them into podcast episodes, it is considered new, fresh content that people want to hear. And they tend to do really well.

Now you have to dive into keywords

Hopefully, you are still on the content ideas report and you’ve found some ideas to go after.

If not, just scroll down to the bottom of the Content Ideas report and keep clicking next… even if only a few numbers show, don’t worry, there are millions of results and as you go to the next page, more pages will show up.

Once you find a topic, I want you to click the “Keywords” button under the “Estimated Visits” column.

This will give you more specific keywords to mention and so you can go even more in-depth during your podcast episode.

Remember that Google is able to decipher your audio and knows what topics and keywords you are covering.

So, when you mention a keyword within your podcast, your podcast episode is more likely to rank for that keyword or phrase.

But there are a few things I’ve learned through this whole process:

  1. You don’t have to keyword stuff – you don’t have to mention a keyword 100 times or anything crazy if you want to rank well organically. Mention it whenever it is natural.
  2. Episodes titles that contain popular keywords tend to do better – do your keyword research and include the right keywords within your title (I’ll show you how in a bit).
  3. Episode titles that contain questions do well – eventually, you’ll also see these episodes perform even better because when people ask questions in the future on smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home, you’ll eventually start to see them pull from podcasts.

So how do you find the right keywords and questions to
incorporate into your podcasts?

Head back to Ubersuggest and type in a keyword or phrase related to a podcast episode you want to create. This should be a bit easier now because you’ve already leveraged the Content Ideas report to come up with popular topics that people want to hear about. 😉

This time, I want you to click on the “Keyword Ideas” report in the left-hand navigation.

You’ll then see a list of suggestions that look something like this.

As you scroll down, you’ll continually see more and more keywords.

Don’t worry about the CPC data, but you will want to look at the SEO difficulty score as the easier the score the better chances you will have of ranking your podcast episode on Google. Also, look at search volume… the higher the number the better as that means more potential listens.

My recommendation for you is to target keywords and phrases that have an SEO difficulty of 40 or less.

Once you have a list of keywords, I want you to click on the “Related” navigational link on that report.

Now, you’ll see a much bigger keyword list.

In this case, you’ll see 405,513 related keywords that you can target. Again, ignore the CPC data but target keywords with an SEO difficulty of 40 or less and the more popular the keyword the better.

Lastly, I want you to click on the “Questions” navigational link…

Then scroll through the list and you’ll see a list of
questions that you can target.

According to Comscore, over 50% of the searches are voice searches. A large portion of those are questions, so covering them within your podcast or even labeling your titles based on questions is a great way to get more traffic.

If you don’t think going after questions is a good strategy
to get more traffic, just look at Quora.

With roughly 111,114,424 estimated visits a month from Google, Quora is getting a lot of traffic by optimizing their site for question-related keywords.


is the most popular site in the world
. Whether you love SEO or hate it, you
have no choice but to leverage it.

One way to get more SEO traffic is to write tons of content and leverage content marketing. It’s a competitive approach and you should consider it.

But another solution that’s even easier is to create a podcast and rank it well on Google.

And ideally, you should be doing both.

Do you have a podcast? Have you tried ranking audio
content on Google?

The post 1,083,219 People Per Month and Counting: My New Favorite SEO Strategy appeared first on Neil Patel.

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6 Social Media Blunders You Probably Didn’t Know You Are Committing

Social Media Blunders and How You Can Avoid Them

6 Social Media Blunders You Probably Didn’t Know You Are Committing

Image Source: freepik

The growing popularity of social media is encouraging every business to invest in it as a primary marketing channel. That’s because 46 percent of the global population is on some social channel or the other.

Besides connecting businesses to their target audience, social media broadens a brand’s reach and boosts its online reputation.

Social Media Overview

Source: We Are Social

However, social media is a double-edged sword that can make or devastate a business depending on how you use it.

More often than not, brands do not see the expected results from their social media strategy and don’t realize what they are doing wrong until it’s too late.

In this post, we have highlighted the top social media mistakes made by marketers. If you are committing any of these, it’s time to steer clear of them.

1. Poor Understanding of the Target Audience

One of the worst social media slip-ups is not allocating enough time to understand your followers and the type of content that resonates with them.

Consider these tips to better understand who you are talking to and how you can tailor your social messages for maximum impact.

i. Define Your Social Media Persona

Social media personas depict a brand’s ideal customer. Defining a persona will allow you to target content that’s most relevant and useful to your audience.

Gather demographic data about your audience using insights from social channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Twitter Analytics, for instance, can offer you key audience demographics, interests, location, and languages.

Similarly, the ‘Audience Insights’ tool on Facebook for Business offers valuable user information, such as demographics, page likes, location, usage, and purchase activity among others.

Finally, use SEOPressor’s 5 simple steps to create a buyer persona to paint a picture of the audience you are planning to target.

ii. Determine Your Audience’s Favorite Social Media Platforms

Take time to learn the type of content your audience consumes. Do they like watching videos or read long-form posts? Do they prefer engaging in social conversations? How do they respond to promotional discounts?

The answers to these questions will help you get a rough idea of where your audience is most active. Secondly, tools like Keyhole can help you analyze hashtags and find out the channels your customer is on.

Check out the top posts for Kellogg’s #GreatStarts campaign. The free search bar on Keyhole helps you get a peek into the top social networks the hashtag was used on.

Keyhole Hashtag Tracking

Keyhole Hashtag Tracking 2

Source: Keyhole

iii. Get Insights from Your Competitor’s Strategy

Your competitors may have done the groundwork on understanding their target audience (which is your audience too!). Use competitor intelligence tools like BuzzSumo to analyze the top shared content and the most popular content type (videos, long-form articles, or infographics).

For instance, a fitness blogger launching a blog related to ‘yoga in pregnancy’ can use this tool to find out the best-performing social posts in this niche. Going through these posts will help them know the top content contributors and the type of content your target audience appreciates.

Content Intelligence Tool

Buzzsumo – Content Intelligence Tool

iv. Validate Your Audience Profile

Finally, use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to verify your audience research. SurveyMonkey recently came up with a social networking survey template that can help marketers find out their audience’s favorite channel and content preferences.

Further, you can use UTM parameters to tag your social content and gather data on who is clicking or interacting with your posts. Here’s a handy guide from Hootsuite that shares effective tips on the subject.

2. Treating All Social Media Channels Equal

Each social platform is unique in more ways than one. They cater to different audiences with distinctive demographics, behaviors, and interests and offer varying features and marketing tools.

So, treating them as the same is probably the worst mistake you would be committing. Think about it – would you promote to the audience on TikTok the same way as your Twitter audience?

TikTokers are primarily Gen Zs who expect to see entertaining, relevant, and value-adding videos.

On the other hand, Twitter caters to different age groups and is essentially a content distributing tool where people share links and live updates and trigger conversations using hashtags.

Image Source: sproutsocial and Oberlo

Cross-posting often seems like a fast and convenient way to share special content on social media. However, blatantly copying and pasting the same content each day can significantly erode your user experience and engagement and create a negative perception of your business.

Avoid posting the same content across all social channels or multiple accounts on the same platform.

The content you post on different channels doesn’t have to drastically unique. Make enough changes to show that enough human effort has gone into tailoring the post for each channel. Bear these points in mind when reposting content on your social pages.

  • Determine what kind of content will do well on each platform. For instance, hashtags and memes work well on Twitter while good-quality images and videos will engage your Instagram audience. So, even if most of your content is similar, try mixing up the format to engage your users.
  • Change the headline or caption or use a different image to prevent your post from looking the same on all social sites. Sometimes, even the smallest change can make a big difference.
  • Optimize your posts for each channel. Format your content, captions, handles, internal links, hashtag sets, and tags for each social platform. Platform-specific posts tend to stand out from the rest, enabling you to engage the users effectively.
  • Schedule your posts for optimal viewing on each platform. Refer to the full infographic by SEOPressor. It shares information on the time of day and days of the week marketers should post to engage their audience in the best possible way.

best worst time to post on facebook

A thorough social media platform analysis is critical to understand which ones are the most relevant ones for your business. Don’t miss this important step when planning your social strategy.

3. Not Being Human

People trust people more than faceless brands. If you are a faceless corporate merely posting content without a human touch, you aren’t going too far in the social world.

Social media is all about creating relatable posts that add make your brand more social. For instance, frequently posting photos of your employees, workplace, or behind-the-scenes can help humanize your brand and build an authentic relationship with your audience.

Slack, a cloud-based instant messaging platform, frequently shares photos and videos of their team, showing their audience that they are social creatures just anyone else.

Slack's Instagram

Slack's Instagram

Source: @slackhq

Similarly, adding live videos of events or ongoing projects can help your audience see that there’s a real human behind the brand, building trust and authenticity.

Finally, automate in moderation. Social media automation has its own pros and
cons. Though it helps organize content and schedules your posts to perfection, overusing it can make you look like a faceless content-distributing machine.

Use the 5-3-2 rule of social sharing to strike a balance between automation and the ‘human’ element in your posts.

The rule states that for every 10 posts on a social media channel:

✔ 5 should be content from others
✔ 3 should be content from you
✔ 2 should be non-work related posts (like behind-the-scenes or fun events) to humanize your brand

5-3-2 Content Rule

Image Source: Social Champ

4. Failing to Engage in Social Listening

Not engaging in social listening can make you miss out on opportunities to connect with your audience and convert them into leads.

Simply put, failing to engage in social listening = Lost Sales

Participating in brand-related conversations can also offer you interesting insights about your audience’s pressing issues and their views about the brands in your niche.

Moreover, social media users appreciate firms exhibiting promptness in response. Research shows that 42 percent of social media users expect a response within 60 minutes.

Hence, the time you take to respond to a brand mention plays a critical role in winning user trust and converting them into leads.

Check out how Best Buy wins customers just by being quick with their responses:

Engagements - Best Buy Support on Twitter

Image Source: FreshSparks

Most brands do not engage with social comments or brand mentions which is a grave mistake they make.

The following blunders often give followers the impression that brands aren’t interested in stirring up a conversation with the community.

i. Not Engaging with Followers

Brand mentions and comments are often scenarios where prospects become customers and existing users become fans or brand advocates. In fact, such comments are a great opportunity to connect with the audience.

Missing mentions, messages, or comments from users can prove to be fatal to your brand image. If you have a follower sharing their brand experience (positive, negative, or neutral), make sure you respond to them.

For instance, if you have a satisfied customer sharing a positive brand story, make sure you respond with – “I have been following your posts. Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you like it!”

McDonald’s never fails to directly respond to its customers by addressing them in their tweets.

Twitter Engagement Examples - McDonald's

Source: Twitter

ii. Ignoring Neutral Mentions

What can one possibly derive from neutral mentions, you think? Well, neutral comments can offer you important brand insights that can be used to improve your marketing strategy.

Notice how this user compares Lays with the Doritos version of wasabi chips. Not only does it show that the customer is a Frito-Lay consumer (both Lays and Doritos belong to the Frito-Lay family) but also shares information about their favorite flavor, wasabi.

Neutral Mentions on Social Media

Source: Instagram

iii. Avoiding or Deleting Negative Comments

Don’t ignore negative mentions. Also, avoid being rude or deleting a comment that’s not in favor of your brand. All of this can give you a bad reputation.

A negative comment is an opportunity for you to offer a viable solution to the concerns raised and win the trust of your followers. Use these quick tips when responding to a negative social mention.

✔ Acknowledge the issue and apologize for the inconvenience caused.
✔ Be polite and offer solutions to help resolve the specific problem mentioned.
✔ If there are issues that cannot be resolved immediately, take it off the social channel by
asking the user to call or email you separately.
✔ If possible, offer a small token of appreciation to the user for sharing their valuable brand experience.

Here’s an infographic by Brand24 that shares a six-step negative comment action plan.

How to Respond to Negative Feedback on Social

Source: Brand24

5. Ignoring the Power of Analytics

Social media analytics is the sure-shot way to evaluate your social strategies in real-time.

The insights derived can be used to tweak your campaigns on the go, gather competitive intelligence, and get maximum returns on investment.

Thus, being active on social media and not paying attention to the numbers is not merely a faux pas: it’s an intolerable offense that will cost you a lot of money and resources in the long term.

Measure the impact of your social media efforts and spending using the below-mentioned tools.

  • BuzzSumo is an excellent tool to analyze social engagement for a piece of content. As seen earlier in this post, BuzzSumo can instantly share insights on the number of shares and likes a post has received on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  • Awario is a social listening tool that specializes in tracking brand mentions and conversations. It offers real-time insights into industry conversations by analyzing keywords related to a business or niche.
  • Keyhole is a real-time hashtag tracking tool for social channels like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It also helps you understand how each influencer is impacting your social campaigns and end goals.
  • Sprout Social is a cross-channel social analytics tool that can track and evaluate Facebook page impressions, LinkedIn engagement, Instagram followers, and Twitter clicks. It also organizes the data into an easy-to-understand report that helps you keep a track of the core social metrics.
  • A few other tools like TapInfluence, Snaplytics, Social Status, and Quintly can also offer interesting performance insights, allowing you to draw actionable ideas to boost your social media performance.

    The following point was added by SEOPressor Connect editorial team

6. Not Adding Schemas for Social Sharing

As businesses, we all want our posts to get engagements and sometimes, shares. If you want to share your webpage on social media, there’s one thing that you need to look into.

Adding lines of schema markup to your webpage.

So, what these lines of schema markup do is it gives users a better idea of what the link is about. It will show the page’s featured image, title, as well as the description.

Below, you’ll be able to see how the links appear on Facebook and Twitter, with and without the markup.

On Facebook:

With and without Facebook OpenGraph

With and without Facebook OpenGraph

On Twitter:

With and without Twitter Card

With and without Twitter Card

Generally, people will be more inclined to click on your link as well as share your posts if it’s clear what the link is about. I’m sure you’re more inclined to click the ones with markup as well.

So, start getting more engagements on social media by adding social markups.

You can learn more about the markups below:
Facebook Open Graph Markup
Twitter Cards

Alternatively, consider using SEOPressor Connect WordPress SEO plugin to add them in easily. All you need to do is enter information in respective fields and the markup will be added to your page.

SEOPressor's Social Markup

SEOPressor’s Social Markup

Use SEOPressor today: subscribe

Summing Up

Everyone’s jumping on the social media bandwagon but very few take the time to analyze what’s working for them and what’s not. Too many slip-ups in the social media realm can adversely affect your brand reputation and revenue stream.

To err is human. But what’s important is to identify these blunders and take lessons from to avoid them in the future. Follow this list of big no-no’s to up your social media game and put your business on the fast track to success.

    This article is contributed by Pratik Dholakiya.

    About the Author:
    Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, content marketing, entrepreneurship, and digital PR.

    Pratik has spoken at the 80th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting & Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and other major events.

    As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42, to name a few. Find him on Twitter @DholakiyaPratik

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Get 10X Like On Facebook And More!

    Want to increase your social media profile engagement?

    We have created a simple checklist for you to tick off.

    “Great checklist, gives me tons of suggestions to improve my social marketing that I could never have thought of. I’m gonna work on checking the whole list off now!” – Ryan Godfrey

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Are H1 Tags Necessary for Ranking? [SEO Experiment]

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

In earlier days of search marketing, SEOs often heard the same two best practices repeated so many times it became implanted in our brains:

  1. Wrap the title of your page in H1 tags
  2. Use one — and only one — H1 tag per page

These suggestions appeared in audits, SEO tools, and was the source of constant head shaking. Conversations would go like this:

“Silly CNN. The headline on that page is an H2. That’s not right!”

“Sure, but is it hurting them?”

“No idea, actually.”

    Over time, SEOs started to abandon these ideas, and the strict concept of using a single H1 was replaced by “large text near the top of the page.”

    Google grew better at content analysis and understanding how the pieces of the page fit together. Given how often publishers make mistakes with HTML markup, it makes sense that they would try to figure it out for themselves.

    The question comes up so often, Google’s John Muller addressed it in a Webmaster Hangout:

    “You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit — neither upper nor lower bound.

    H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings, so I would use them in the proper way on a page.

    And especially with HTML5, having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected. So it’s not something that you need to worry about. And some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like ‘oh you don’t have any H1 tag’ or ‘you have two H1 tags.’ From our point of view, that’s not a critical issue. From a usability point of view, maybe it makes sense to improve that. So, it’s not that I would completely ignore those suggestions, but I wouldn’t see it as a critical issue.

    Your site can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

    Despite these assertions from one of Google’s most trusted authorities, many SEOs remained skeptical, wanting to “trust but verify” instead.

    So of course, we decided to test it… with science!

    Craig Bradford of Distilled noticed that the Moz Blog — this very one — used H2s for headlines instead of H1s (a quirk of our CMS).

    H2 Header
    h1 SEO Test Experiment

    We devised a 50/50 split test of our titles using the newly branded SearchPilot (formerly DistilledODN). Half of our blog titles would be changed to H1s, and half kept as H2. We would then measure any difference in organic traffic between the two groups.

    After eight weeks, the results were in:

    To the uninitiated, these charts can be a little hard to decipher. Rida Abidi of Distilled broke down the data for us like this:

    Change breakdown – inconclusive

    • Predicted uplift: 6.2% (est. 6,200 monthly organic sessions)
    • We are 95% confident that the monthly increase in organic sessions is between:
      • Top: 13,800
      • Bottom: -4,100

    The results of this test were inconclusive in terms of organic traffic, therefore we recommend rolling it back.

    Result: Changing our H2s to H1s made no statistically significant difference

    Confirming their statements, Google’s algorithms didn’t seem to care if we used H1s or H2s for our titles. Presumably, we’d see the same result if we used H3s, H4s, or no heading tags at all.

    It should be noted that our titles still:

    • Used a large font
    • Sat at the top of each article
    • Were unambiguous and likely easy for Google to figure out

    Does this settle the debate? Should SEOs throw caution to the wind and throw away all those H1 recommendations?

    No, not completely…

    Why you should still use H1s

    Despite the fact that Google seems to be able to figure out the vast majority of titles one way or another, there are several good reasons to keep using H1s as an SEO best practice.

    Georgy Nguyen made some excellent points in an article over at Search Engine Land, which I’ll try to summarize and add to here.

    1. H1s help accessibility

    Screen reading technology can use H1s to help users navigate your content, both in display and the ability to search.

    2. Google may use H1s in place of title tags

    In some rare instances — such as when Google can’t find or process your title tag — they may choose to extract a title from some other element of your page. Oftentimes, this can be an H1.

    3. Heading use is correlated with higher rankings

    Nearly every SEO correlation study we’ve ever seen has shown a small but positive correlation between higher rankings and the use of headings on a page, such as this most recent one from SEMrush, which looked at H2s and H3s.

    To be clear, there’s no evidence that headings in and of themselves are a Google ranking factor. But headings, like Structured Data, can provide context and meaning to a page.

    As John Mueller said on Twitter:

    What’s it all mean? While it’s a good idea to keep adhering to H1 “best practices” for a number of reasons, Google will more than likely figure things out — as our experiment showed — if you fail to follow strict H1 guidelines.

    Regardless, you should likely:

    1. Organize your content with hierarchical headings — ideally H1, H2s, H3s, etc.
    2. Use a large font headline at the top of your content. In other words, make it easy for Google, screen readers, and other machines or people reading your content to figure out the headline.
    3. If you have a CMS or technical limitations that prevent you from using strict H1s and SEO best practices, do your best and don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Real-world SEO — for better or worse — can be messy. Fortunately, it can also be flexible.

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

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    Keyword Research Guide for SEO

    The Big Keyword Research Guide for SEO

    1. Why is Keyword Research So Important to SEO?
    2. What is Keyword Research?
    3. How to Find the Best Keywords to Target?
    4. Understanding The Use of Keywords and Intent Targeting
    5. How to Get Started on Keyword Research
    6. How to Use Keywords for SEO
    7. Tricks and Advice for ranking

    There we said it. Keyword Research is the backbone of SEO.

    If you think about it, everything starts with a keyword or search phrase.

    People type keywords into the search box on Google to look up information. They explore by clicking on related keywords or finish their sentence with the autocomplete by Google.

    For SEOs, though every one of us adopts different search engine optimization strategies, we always begin by finding the right keywords to focus on.

    That is even right from the start when we pick out our domain names.

    As a matter of fact, picking out your domain name is just the beginning.

    Keyword research impacts every other SEO task that you might perform, including content creation, on-page SEO, and even social media marketing.

    That’s the very reason why it is usually the start of every SEO to-do list.

    If you look at present modern day marketing, it’s no longer just about finding your targeted keywords, it’s also about using keywords to inform your marketing.

    Why is Keyword Research So Important to SEO?

    Researching keywords is no longer just about identifying what words people are typing into search engines to find your business and your products or services.

    Keyword analysis is increasingly important to provide valuable insights, to find out why they are searching for it and helping them understand what they want.

    The Right Keywords Leads You to Potential Buyers

    You may have already pre-created your buyer personas, but you can’t really consolidate and sort them without keyword data.

    Because simply put, different user personas will conduct different search terms and use slight variations in phrases. Take for example, two buyers who are looking to buy flowers for valentines day can either go to the internet to search for nearby flower shops or roses for valentines day.

    The intention is different and that drives different keyword searches.

    That’s why going through keyword data can help you identify all variations of phrases and search intent based on a keyword.

    This in turn will also let you come up with more accurate user personas that you can target and in addition craft more personalized and creative sales messages to win them over!

    Keyword Analysis can Inform Your Marketing and Writing

    My favourite part of keyword analysis is that it gives you a better idea of how to answer search terms with relevant content. With one quick search on Google, you will know what your users are looking for and what to provide for that keyword.

    For example, just do a quick search of “painting walls for beginners” and you will discover that most prefer a quick video instead of reading a how-to list.

    Click on the image to view it in full size.

    For businesses, this also means identifying the money phrases and creating the relevant content for it.

    Let’s say you have created a paid online survey website and described it with keywords related to money making and earning extra income. By chance, you may still get traffic but you will have a difficult time attracting the right audience.

    Because while your website does indeed give people the opportunity for making extra income, people who first learnt about money paid surveys may still not be ready to commit.

    A better keyword to target is the search term “survey for money” that are most likely looked up by users who already have an understanding of earning money through surveys.

    However this does not mean you should just focus on money phrases, it is also important for you to create content for informational and educational keywords as it will help you create a strong brand and impression.

    Think about it — nothing beats ranking on the featured snippet to show that you are an authority.

    Expand Your Funnel By Understanding Leads & Their Interests

    At the same time, keyword research can also benefit through letting you uncover more about your audience’s interest and where they stand in a funnel.

    For example, you have a website that’s dedicated to staying healthy and one of your categories is food and nutrition.

    You may have already written lots of content about nutritional advice, etc. But your keyword data shows you that your target audience is also searching for “what to eat after a run”.

    What this tells you is that your target audience isn’t just interested in getting nutritional tips, but also in exercise. You could start catering to these interests by creating lists and blog posts covering these topics.

    This will help you capture the attention of your audience much more effectively.

    On the other hand, some queries for example, may also result in a Quora or Medium page which goes to tell you what social media platform you should be active on.

    Finally, though It might be stating the obvious, but let’s not forget about the SERP rankings and organic traffic. By researching keywords, we have succeeded in growing our site’s traffic!

    Keyword Research Boost SEOPressor’s Traffic

    Creating our content and reoptimization strategy as informed by keyword analysis has helped SEOPressor’s traffic grow. Our overall blog traffic grew close to 50% in the next month.

    But one particular highlight was our HTTP vs HTTPS: The Difference And Everything You Need To Know blog post grew three-fold, from 2k to 6k after reoptimization for intent and keyword.

    Now that you have seen the results analyzing your keyword can bring, next we will look into how and what exactly does it mean to do keyword research?

    What is Keyword Research?

    We have all performed some basic or complex keyword research, for a variety of purposes.

    For ecommerce marketers, it can be simply to see how you should name your product listing or for budding YouTubers, it can be to determine how you should title your YouTube video.

    Truth to be told, there is no single definition or process to keyword research and here we decided to provide two basic explanations for keyword research: through the eyes of a digital marketer and an SEO.

    Keyword Research Definition

    For any digital marketer, keyword research is about identifying the actual search terms or phrases that are often used by their potential audiences.

    For SEOs, keyword research also involves an added value of metrics which we use to identify the best keywords to aim for first.

    How to Find the Best Keywords to Target?

    Now it’s time to go through the actual keyword research. Before that, here are some important keyword tools and metrics you should know.

    Use Google Trends to Decide Your Topics

    In contrast to evergreen keywords are popular keywords, but even popular keywords can be seasonal. That’s where Google Trends comes in.

    What is Google Trends, you ask? It is a platform that allows you to analyze the popularity of search queries in Google search across different regions and language.

    With Google Trends, you can explore what topics people care about and when they care about it. The tool will also give you data not just for today, but a longer period of time.

    While the keyword tool is often under the radar when it comes to keyword research, I find it to be one of the most important steps in the beginning, especially when you decide on your content topic and ideas.

    Let’s say you are running a business selling chocolate, you might want to find out between dark chocolate and white chocolate – which is more popular.

    Turns out many prefer their chocolate sweet.

    This here is one of the cool things you can do with Google Trends — comparing search terms. You also might have noticed that I have repeated the same chocolate twice, but if you have a closer look, it is actually not the same.

    Google Trends: Topic vs Search Terms

    When using Google Trends, topic keywords will include all search terms related to it while search terms are the specific terms.

      Here are 3 Tips for Using Google Trend for Keyword Research:

    1. Choose your time period. Your widest time frame should be no more than 3 years to have enough of a snapshot to see recurring patterns.
    2. Select your targeted location.Depending on where your target audience or business is located, always filter your search by location.
    3. Related Search Queries You can collect ideas for your content and marketing through looking at related queries.

    Now that you have your keywords from Google Trends, know that the results shown are actually relative search volume and not the actual search volume.

    Next, it’s time to use Google Keyword Planner.

    Use Google Keyword Planner to find Search Volume

    Most SEO’s favorite tool, there is so much to talk about Google Keyword Planner that Brian Dean wrote a super long blog post about it here.

    To avoid confusing you, let’s just focus on the two primary keyword research metrics in Keyword Planner, which are: search volume and competitiveness.

    Keywords with higher search volumes mean more potential exposure or impressions, but will also likely be much more competitive.

    This can make it harder to rank these terms as you will most probably be going up against well-established publishers.

    To decide which types of keywords to target largely depends on your marketing goals.

    If you are working on a brand new website, you will want to start by targeting low volume keywords with average monthly searches between 100 to 1k.

    On the other hand, if you have an established website that already has several strong organic rankings in the niche, you may want to target higher volume seed keywords.

    So running on the same chocolate business idea where you decided to go with white chocolate, you will see other related keyword ideas that can let you find out what kind of white chocolate are in search demand.

    A keyword research tip is to always do these searches yourself and find out what is being shown in the SERP rankings.

    Because having done enough keyword analysis, I’m sure you will find there are times when a single search query may have different user intents. In these cases, it is the most popular user intent that will be featured at the top – not the site with the most keyword anchor text.

    This goes to tell you how important search intent is which we will cover below.

    Understanding The Use of Keywords and Intent Targeting

    Keywords are something users type in the search bar when they are looking for something. As businesses, we need to attempt to guess what our target audience would type in the search bar and their intent.

    If you’re wondering why we do so, it is because we want to show up on the search engine result page (SERP) for the keywords they entered.

    If we guessed it accurately, it’ll bring us various benefits such as traffic, conversions and more!

    To guess it accurately, you will need to understand the types of searchers’ intent and the types of keywords.

    So, without further ado, let’s begin with understanding the 4 types of searchers’ intent first before we move to how we can target them.

    Understanding searcher’s intent

    There are four main types of searcher’s intent. They are navigational, informational, transactional, and commercial.

    1. Navigational Search

    A navigational search is a search with the purpose of finding or reaching a specific website or webpage. An example of a navigational search would be “Nike”. The search will lead users to Nike’s website.

    Now, for navigational search, it could be difficult to rank for that search organically as users already know which websites they want to visit.

    2. Informational Search

    An informational search is a search with the intent of finding more information about something. It could be anything; a business, a product, or an event. An example would be “how to lose fats and build muscles?”

    3. Transactional Search

    A transactional search is a search that users make when they want to purchase a product or service.

    An example would be “Gold’s Gym membership options”. In this case, the user is ready to make a purchase if they find a deal that suits their needs and budgets.

    4. Commercial Search

    A commercial search is where users are comparing the different alternatives that they have through the information they find online.

    Examples of commercial searches would be “Gold’s Gym Review” or “Benefits of Apple Watch Nike”.

    Now that we know the 4 types of searchers’ intent, let’s look at the types of keywords we can use to target them.

    Types of Keywords

    a. Short-tail keyword and Long-tail keyword

    As their names suggest, a short-tail keyword is key phrases that are short and vice versa. Short-tail keywords typically consist of less than 2 words, whereas long-tail keywords consist of more than 3 or more words.

    Here are some examples to get you started:
    Short-tail keywords: running shoes, dance class, WordPress plugin
    Long-tail keywords: best Nike running shoes, dance classes for kids near me, WordPress SEO plugin

    To know which type of keywords would be best for you to target the searchers’ intent, you will need to know the characteristics of them.

    The characteristics are all related. Let’s start with short-tail keywords.

    Short-tail keywords are keywords that have low focus. They are general keywords that get a high volume of searches. This is evident in the SERP. When volume is high, the competition, without a doubt will become high.

    Hence, the cost to rank for the keyword would be high as well. Considering there are many competitors, and if your business isn’t ranking well, the conversion rate will be low.

    For long-tail keywords, the characteristics are the complete opposite. They are focused keywords. Not all users type in the same focused keywords. With that said, their search volume is low as well as their competition.

    The cost to rank for this keyword will be low. On the other hand, the conversion rate tends to be high.

    In conclusion, long-tail keywords would be easier to target and rank for, if you’re not widely known yet. With these characteristics listed, it should be clearer for you to decide which type of keywords are best for your business.

    We do have a more detailed blog post on these two types of keywords, read them here: Side-by-side Comparison of Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords.

    b. Short-term fresh keyword and long-term evergreen keyword

    Short-term fresh keywords are terms popular for a specific time period only. It could be a one-time popular event or it could be a yearly event. Meaning, it will only get search volume during that period of time.

    On the other hand, an evergreen keyword is a keyword that is relevant all the time. Meaning, there will always be people searching for the keyword and wanting to read your content even if it’s written 2 years ago.

    You can determine how fresh or evergreen a keyword is by using Google Trends.

    An example of a short-term fresh keyword is “winter jacket”.

    As you can see from Google Trends, the interest starts to increase around September and reaches its peak in November. That’s because winter is around the corner.

    What do you do with this data? Well, you’ll know when is the right time to start promoting your items and focusing your efforts. Promoting them in May wouldn’t bring you much good as compared to October.

    Now, let’s look at an example of a long-term evergreen keyword, “build muscle”.

    As you can see from the Google Trends result below, the interest over time is pretty high and consistent.

    It’s simple. It’s getting traffic consistently because it can be talked about at any time of the year.

    These two examples show how helpful Google Trends is when doing keyword research. So, starting today, remember to take a look at the trends of your keyword before writing. You should also refer to the interest by region as well as related queries below.

    c. Customer defining keyword

    Surely, a business must have a targeted persona. A targeted persona will help you drive your marketing campaign better and more effectively.

    It’s rare to have one-size-fits-all products. So, address your target audience clearly. It may only add one or two words to your product but it makes a whole lot of difference.

    If you’re selling bikes, you will have different bikes for men, women, and kids. Adults without children may not be interested if they were shown the kids’ bikes. So, it’s very important to identify your target audience, in order for them to find you.

    Trek has perfectly utilized customer defining keywords.

    d. Geo-targeting keyword

    This type of keyword is especially helpful for small local businesses. Typically, they’re used to getting people to a storefront.

    Geo-targeting keywords make search results more relevant as it is more focused.

    Let’s say, Jeffrey, an Iowan, typed in “Carpet cleaning in the United States” in the search engine and got the results below.

    Do you think Jeffrey would consider the search result?

    No… because it does not serve Iowa.

    Then, Jeffrey decided to be more specific and typed in “Carpet cleaning in Iowa”. He then got the results below.

    What about now?

    Jeffrey finds this helpful and begins looking into them one by one because their relevant and serve the Iowa state. He ends up having an appointment with one of them.

    There you have it, the power of geo-targeting keywords. Also, if you noticed, the search results are also way less, meaning, there is lesser competition.

    e. LSI keywords

    LSI keyword is short for latent semantic indexing keywords. LSI keywords were never meant to be synonyms.

    They are keywords that are semantically related to your main keyword, which means, keywords that have a high degree of correlation with each other.

    They’re used in content to give contextual information to the search engines and the users. When your page is better understood and provides good value, it will get a better ranking.

    Let’s take the word “apple” as an example.

    If in a set of content we can find the words “vitamin C”, “sweet”, and “healthy”, we know that the word “apple” is referring to the fruit.

    On the other hand, if words like ” camera”, “accessories” and “music” are being used, it is clear that the word “apple” is referring to the giant tech company.

    Image credit: LSIGraph

    Can LSI Keywords help you better understand user intent?

    Why yes, yes it can. With the list of LSI keywords generated, you get an idea of what other relevant keywords users are searching for. With that, you will know what else interests your readers and this will contribute to the big idea.

    Another upside of LSI keywords is that you may appear for keyword variation/ multiple keywords.

    In the next chapter “List of Keyword Research Tools”, I will teach you how you can find LSI keywords.

    f. Intent targeting keyword

    For informational search intent, users are trying to know more about a particular item. Keywords that frequently appear in informational content are “benefits of”, “ways to”, “guide”, and the 5W 1 H (who, what, where, when, why, and how).

    Just one tip to remember; the ultimate aim is to educate readers.

    The next intent is commercial intent. When making this search, the users are more interested in making a purchase. Your goal is to provide them with plenty of valuable information and then get them to make the conversion.

    Use keywords like product description, features, shipping fee, and places of origin. You will also need to do keyword research to know what to include in there.

    The last intent is transactional intent. This is the process where users are ready to make a transaction. You need to give them a good reason why they should buy from you.

    So, consider using keywords like “best quality”, “guaranteed”, “sale”, “free shipping”, and “no-fuss refund”.

    For a more detailed information on the types of keywords, read 9 Types of Keywords in SEO You Need to Know to Convert.

    How to Get Started on Keyword Research

    Let’s get into how anyone can get started on keyword research. The basic step is actually done where you understood the metrics you should know; which is also provided by keyword research tools.

    The next step is to know the tools that will give you information about keywords.

    With these tools, you’ll be able to create a keyword silo for your content planning, which allows you to interlink your blog posts strategically.

    Besides focusing on just your own keywords, you will also need to study your competitors. Keyword research is never complete if you don’t find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for.

    I’ll bring you through how you can perform competitive research and keyword gap analysis in just a bit.

    Let’s take a look at the list of keyword tools first.

    List of Keyword Tools

    1. LSIGraph

    Yes, I’ve mentioned this tool earlier.

    LSIGraph is a freemium keyword research tool. Specifically, it’s an LSI keyword generator.

    It will give you hundreds of keywords that are semantically related to your target keyword. Just like most keyword tools, it also provides you with trends, volume, cost per click, and competition.

    However, what makes LSIGraph unique is its LSV value and semantic classification.

    Some additional features of LSIGraph premium are white-label reports creation, project management, and bulk keyword research.

    2. BiQ Keyword Intelligence

    BiQ. Have you heard of it? I think most of you who visit our blog occasionally would know about BiQ by now.

    For those of you who do not know what BiQ is, let me introduce. It is an SEO Suite but it isn’t like the rest. BiQ prides itself as the World’s First SEO Suite That Lets You Control The Price.

    In simpler words, you will only need to pay for the features you use. Enough introduction, if you would like to know more about the suite, here’s their homepage: BiQ Keyword Intelligence.

    Of course, BiQ has a module that allows you to do keyword research. Its module is pretty awesome, I’d say. I’ve tried the tool firsthand during their first beta.

    Check out a screenshot I managed to take:

    Do feel special, because you’re one of the first few people who’ve seen the inside of BiQ.

    Just like LSIGraph as mentioned above, it has data like other keyword tools. However, BiQ goes a little wider. It allows you to filter results by search intent, long-tail, and relatedness.

    BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence module also gives you content ideas, popular questions related to the keyword, and trending searches involving that keyword.

    To summarize, you can do a lot with this tool and get lots of important data. It’s still in the beta stage, and it is actually inviting people to test the tool. If you would like to be amongst the first to try the tool, request early access here: Early Access for BiQ.

    How to Use Keywords for SEO

    Now you basically know everything from tools to use, metrics to look at, and understanding searchers’ intent.

    But there’s more to come.

    Do you know where to use your keywords for SEO?

    Some may think that everybody knows the answer to this, but the truth is, not everybody does. We all know that there are some people out there who are only focusing on putting their keywords in the content.

    Well, that’s not it. Now, for the keywords that you have decided to use, there are many other places you should add your keywords, if applicable. They are as follows:

    i. Title Tag and description tag

    The title and description tag is the first thing that users see in the SERP. What’s the point if you have the keywords in your content?

    Even if you rank for a certain keywords because it’s inside your content, chances are some of the users will not click into it because the title and description tags doesn’t give them exactly what they want.

    So, start adding your keywords to your title tags and meta description. If you noticed, search engines are mainly showing results that contain the keyword in the title tag and meta description.

    ii. Header and subheader Tags

    Let’s hear what John Mueller of Google said about headings:

    “H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings. So I would use them in the proper way on a page.”

    With that said, the next place you want to put your keywords at is your headings. Headings are a great way to tell the search engines and users what your site is about.

    Heading tags also tend to appear as short answers in the featured snippet often, so you would want to do some keyword research on what keywords to have in your headings.

    Process Street has demonstrated a pretty good way to use the keywords LSIGraph generated as headings. Take a look below:

    Image credit: Process Street

    I personally think that it’s a brilliant idea.

    iii. Image Alt Tags

    Image alt tags is an HTML attribute applied to image to describe what the image is about.

    The main purpose of using an alt tag is to benefit visually impared users who use screen readers, users who turned off images and users that use text-based browsers.

    So, use alt tags to provide good experience to the users and give search engines a better idea of what the image is about.

    The alt attribute will also show on your page if your image cannot be displayed for some reason. Here’s an example from Google:

    Image alt tags by Google

    Lastly, having keywords in your image alt tags and title may give you a better chance of showing up in the search engine.

    iv. Anchor Text

    Anchor text are words that contain links. Having keywords in your anchor text helps to give users and search engines an idea where the link is leading to.

    It also gives the search engines a good understanding of what your post is about. Just remember to use a LSI keywords in your anchor text to avoid Google penalty.

    Tricks and Advice for ranking

    Now, I’ll be sharing with you some tricks and advice for ranking through keyword research.

    The first being creating a content silo, and the next, conducting keyword gap analysis.

    Create Content Silo

    Content silo means grouping up your content based on the topic.

    This can help you in 3 ways,

      1. Your readers can easier navigate your content since they are grouped together and closely related topics are easily available

      2. It’s also easier for your writers or you yourself to systematically pump out content focusing on 1 topic at a time

      3. Having a good amount of content on the same topic, closely placed in your website helps search engines understand and associate your website with the topics which you are an authority in.

    Why you need a content silo

    “Design your site to have a clear conceptual page hierarchy.”

    When you have content silo, Google understands the width and depth of your expertise better.

    Look at these examples,

    In these examples, the blog posts are all filled under /blog without further categorization.

    Here, the blog posts are further categorized based on their topic, be it keyword-research or on-page-seo.

    Which one do you think is easier for the readers looking for a certain blog post? Going through all the posts under blog or clicking on the silos for the topic they are interested in?

    This shows that having a taxonomy helps you organize, maintain, display, personalize, and ensure content discovery around your audience’s buyer’s journey

    You start losing visitors and sales if the content on your pages are organized in ways that

    Does not match user expectation
    Not easily discoverable

    How to create a content silo

    First, decide on the depth of the silo – how many levels do you want?

    It is best to control your content silo at 3 levels. Any deeper than that, it becomes harder to navigate.

    Let’s look at this


    The first one is definitely easier to navigate right?

    Imagine the amount of frustration you’ll feel having to navigate through so many categories and layers just to look for a pair of jeans.

    This shows just how important it is to have less than 4 silo layers.

    Make sure that your top tier silo actually makes sense.

    If you’re providing writing service, the first tier of your silo should look like this.

    Service & Pricing, Sample, Contact us, FaQ

    Now imagine you’re starting your silo with the names of the writers in your team, Jackson, Phoebe, Jessica, Hugh, Ben.

    You’re not only missing out on keyword and search opportunities, but this also doesn’t make much sense to visitors navigating your website looking for a helpful product.

    You want to use key terms that are clear and defined for your visitors. If those keywords have a high search volume, that’s another plus.

    For content creation, fit your silo layers to your buyer’s journey

    A silo doesn’t have to be a rigid structure on your website. It can also simply mean the flow of your content.

    An example of a content silo for a fitness site, starting from the top tier of the silo.

    Informational – What is muscle cramps > Actionable advice – Integrating stretching into your workout routine > Guide with product example – How to stretch out your back muscles using a rolling foam

    You see, the deeper the silo goes, the more specific and focused your content becomes.

    In the deepest layer of the silo, you’re presenting your readers with actionable and tailored advice on a specific topic, while slipping in just enough exposure for your own product. So if they want to, they can click on that purchase button.

    And by that point, they have enough trust in you to follow through with the advice.

    Which makes it easier to convert them into joining your email list, downloading your ebook, or purchasing your products.

    Silo your content based on a buyer’s journey, so you can push them from a reader to a buyer.

    Internal linking your keywords

    Have you ever been to Wikipedia to look upon one thing, and find yourself still one Wikipedia hours later on a topic completely irrelevant to the one you first lookup?

    That’s because Wikipedia has terrific interlinking.

    Look at all the interlinks (blue texts) in this Wikipedia article, and that’s just the introduction.

    When you’re linking one page in your website to another, it’s called an internal link, since those pages all belong under that website.

    Internal links are super important if you want to keep visitors in your website, to keep them moving from one content to another, one product to another.

    And also keep your bounce rate low.

    A bounce happens when a visitor leaves your website after having only visited one webpage.

    For blog posts and articles, the bounce rate is usually around 70%, so if you can’t keep it around or lower than that, you have to rethink your interlinking strategy.

    Search engines such as Google tracks certain user interaction with your page to determine your ranking.

    Which in this case, having a lower bounce rate – fewer people exiting your website after only visited one page – can be beneficial for your ranking.

    How to choose which pages to link?

    Now that you know what is internal linking and why it’s important, how do you choose to link from one page to another?

    1. The topic must be relevant

    Interlinking is not only a way to guide your visitors from one content to another.

    It’s also a way to reinforce Google’s understanding of your authority on a certain topic.

    Let’s say you have a silo for muscle gain, and you interlink them. This is a way of telling Google that you have all these related content on muscle gain.

    So the next time someone searches for muscle gain on Google your website might be shown right up there.

    Now, you can interlink your pages if there is a topic relevance at the post level or sentence level.

    Even if the content is majorly about muscle gain, but if one of the sentences mentioned yoga, then you can definitely link that keyword “yoga” to a yoga-related content.

    Here’s an example of a simple hyperlink in a sentence.

    When you want to draw more attention, you can also create a box to showcase that blog post specifically.

    Like this.

    Another way is to put in recommended posts.

    You have probably seen this everywhere, even on YouTube. Once your video ends, the screen will be filled with thumbnails of recommended videos.

    Recommending related content must be great. Amazing even. Why else would YouTube be doing it right?

    A simple way to integrate recommended posts into your content is by listing them down after the conclusion of your blog post.

    2. You should push your readers along the buyer’s journey

    The deeper you dive into a silo, the more specific the content goes.

    And the further along the silo is your reader, the further along the buyer cycle they should be.

    Your content should be synchronised with your potential buyer’s journey.

    How can that happen?

    Through interlinking.

    Interlinking is another way to push, or in a better word, guide your readers gently down the funnel.

    They may have reached you through your general article targeting a short tail keyword. You can then strategically place links there that leads them to related content further down the silo.

    If you led them down the funnel on the topic they’re looking for, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

    Just using content alone, you could have warmed up these readers enough to turn into a lead or even a client.

    Remember the example I’ve shown before?

    Informational – What is muscle cramps > Actionable advice – Integrating stretching into your workout routine > Guide with product example – How to stretch out your back muscles using a rolling foam

    Keep the buyer’s journey silo you have created in mind, and link your contents from the first silo to the second silo as a way to guide the readers further along.

    Conducting Keyword Gap Analysis

    An important part of keyword research is identifying the keyword gap.

    What is keyword gap analysis?

    You’re comparing your keyword rankings with your competitor’s keyword ranking. From there, you can see which keywords they are ranking for that you don’t, thus, exploring new ranking opportunities and keywords to write about.

    At SEOPressor, we conduct Keyword Gap Analysis using BiQ’s rank intelligence tool.

    I used to do that manually on Google search, but with the tool, I can get more data in a shorter time, which is definitely a plus.

    So what you want to do is just click on the Rank Intelligence bar at the left, then click on create a new profile on the menu.

    Now, you can put in any of your competitor’s website here to get a glimpse on your keyword rankings.

    Once you’ve keyed in the website, you need to choose how much of the data you want to be shown. Since I’m on the free tier plan, I just chose the maximum available which is 1000 keywords.

    That is already a lot to work on, so don’t worry about not being able to see all the data.

    You can then filter the keywords based on rankings, or search volume, there are more but I find those 2 the most useful.

    Now that you have the keywords ranking of your competitor, you just repeat and rinse the same process for your own website, then compare which keywords you should be ranking instead.

    Amazing right?

    This is a wonderful trick to use to explore and create a keyword profile that you can be sure is profitable for your own content creation effort.

    Filter and categorize the keywords based on your keyword silo

    Now that you know which keywords to target, remember the keyword silo that you have set up earlier?
    Now, to create a list of keywords that you can use.

    1. Filter your keywords based on search volume, or competition, or a mix of both. But I usually go with search volume.

    2. Pluck out those that your competitor is ranking for that you’re not.

    3. Identify which silo they belong to and keep a record of that.

    4. Now you can create content that you can have a good reference on (your competitor), which you know will bring in good traffic (search volume), you also know which other contents you can link your readers to based on your keyword silo.

    Key Takeaway: Keyword Results are Unique

    Ultimately, understand that every keyword result is unique and that can be down to a single letter ‘s’ which separates singular and plural keywords.

    Just like “teddy bear” vs “teddy bears” — can create the difference between the former being an informational query and the later a transactional one.

    If you are looking to do digital or content marketing at all, keyword research is a must-do process.

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    Complete Guide: Become The Perfect Inbound Marketer Today

      10 must-have qualities of an inbound marketer.

    • Learn how you can effectively attract people
    • Proven examples on applying the best inbound marketing techniques.
    • Detailed, yet simple.

    Complete Guide: Become The Perfect Inbound Marketer Today

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    What You Can Do With a Free SEMrush Account

    Building your SEO toolkit is generally dictated by two things: your budget and your goals. This makes test-driving tools and platforms an ideal way to figure out which platforms provide the features that you need most, and lets you determine just how much you have to invest in tools to access them. Many platforms offer free trials, but they can be very limiting. One tool we use at Distilled is SEMrush. They offer a 7-day trial that gives users the flexibility to try a range of features for free.

    As mentioned above, we regularly use SEMrush at Distilled. If we were to maximize our trial while tightening our purse strings, however, what would we do with this free subscription? 

    The short answer: Many of the same things we would do with a paid subscription, the caveat being that the reports and data we pull will be limited to just a handful of results. To get a clearer view of our options, let’s look into the benefits and limitations of this free account 

    What are the Limitations of a Free SEMrush Account?

    First things first: Let’s talk limits. As comprehensive as the SEMrush free trial is, it still only offers users a sampling of the features of a paid account. To get the most out of a trial, a low-budget marketer should know these limitations before starting. Otherwise, you could risk going over budget on each feature too quickly before you’ve had a chance to leverage each one.

    As a general rule, you can access up to 10 listed results. For more involved features such as reports, you can create one of each.  Below is an overview of some popular tools and their limitations:

    • 10 searches per day
    • 10 results per search
    • Max 100 pages crawled for the site audit
    • 10 keywords to track
    • 10 idea units for On Page SEO Tracker
    • 1 SEO content template
    • 1 SEO Writing Assistant template
    • 1 Keyword Magic Tool list
    • 2 search queries in Topic Research
    • 1 PDF report

    Now that we know our boundaries, we can determine the best tools to use during the trial period.

    Keyword Research

    Domain Overview

    As imperative as keyword research is to any digital content marketing strategy, adding in a limited budget makes this even more challenging. Thankfully, the keyword tools within SEMrush are extensive, and luckily, you have access to many of these via their free trial. You can view a URL’s top organic keywords by position, volume, cost per click, and traffic, all under Domain Overview. 

    Simply enter a URL into the Organic Research search bar to see that domain’s top organic keywords, position changes, competitors, SERP features, top pages, and top subdomains. 

    Beware that each of these reports counts toward your 10 searches per day maximum, so we recommend planning out searches for the week to see which keywords are your top priority and execute those first.

    Organic position tracking

    The Keyword Overview is an excellent resource to kickstart keyword research on a budget. Search up to 10 keywords per day to monitor how you and your competitors rank for specific keywords and related terms. 

    Keyword magic tool lists

    Use this keyword research tool to narrow in on niche terms and optimize your content with long-tail keywords. This is especially useful if you’re building a hub and spoke model. Once you determine the hub topic you want to concentrate on, the Keyword Magic Tool provides related terms to add to your content strategy. The trial offers up to 10 keyword suggestions, so have your topics in mind before starting to search.


    Backlink analysis

    It’s important to identify who links to your site and where, and to eliminate spammy links to your site. While it may not stand in for a full competitor backlink audit, SEMrush’s Backlink Analysis does have its benefits for marketers looking to manage their backlinks within budget. This tool lets you view backlinks by link type, link attribute, country, domain category, and key anchor terms to pinpoint where your content gets the most traction. 

    SEMrush also provides its own domain Authority Score to help you determine the quality of backlinks to your site. Monitoring the value of your backlinks can help increase your site’s visibility and rankings, making them an important component in your overall SEO strategy. The tool’s Authority Score is based on an amalgamation of various data points including Page Score, Domain Score, and Trust Score. In using it to determine which links are most and least valuable, you can clean up your backlinking profile. 

    You can also easily keep track of your backlinks by viewing a chart of your lost and gained backlinks over the past 3 months, full year, or of all time.

    If you need a more in-depth, semi-automated analysis of your backlinks, the Backlink Audit Tool is a useful option for an initial audit to locate and clean up irrelevant or spammy links.

    Backlink gap

    If you want to take a closer look at your competitors’ backlinks and find some leads yourself, SEMrush’s Backlink Gap is a helpful tool. Plus, the 10 results you get in the trial put you in a good position to start your backlink campaign.

    With this tool, you can compare your domain to up to four others. You will get two views of their backlinks–a chart and a table. For each domain you compare, you’ll see who links to them and the Authority Score of each linking domain. 

    On-Page SEO/Content

    SEO content template

    Once you know which keywords you want to target, you can start developing content ideas with SEMrush’s SEO Content Template. Enter the keywords you aim to rank for, and you’ll be presented with your top 10 Google competitors for those keywords, partnered with recommendations to challenge them. On-page recommendations include semantically related keywords, backlinks to acquire, a suggested readability score, recommended metadata, and suggested content length.

    From here, you can access the On Page SEO Checker which gives you real-time feedback on your content. This way you will know right away if your content follows SEO best practices while also competing with your top-ranking URLs/ Google rivals. 

    Content Strategy

    Topic research 

    Developing content ideas can be challenging. The Topic Research tool can help with the brainstorming process by providing potential topics and sub-topics to create content around. You can see the terms your competitors are ranking for and find gaps in their content with this free trial. Run a comprehensive Keyword Gap analysis and search by country, device type, and the date range you need.

    Pulling the data is easy. Simply enter up to five URLs that you want to compare in the respective search boxes and select the types of keywords you want results for. Choose from organic, paid and PLA keywords depending on the campaign you’re planning. You can then specify your results further by selecting the intersection you want to explore. Whether you want to see the keywords you and your competitors have in common or you’re looking for gaps in their content, you can narrow in on the data you receive based on that goal.

    Lastly, hit “Go” to start your data pull.  

    From there, you can filter your data within the tool and analyze it via the various charts and diagrams available. Alternatively, you can easily export your keyword data into XLS or CSV format and analyze from there. The choice is yours. Be aware that this is a trial, however, so you will only see the first 10 results for any given intersect and each data pull will go against your daily maximum of 10 queries.

    Tracking and Reporting

    Create a project

    If you’re looking for the fullest view of your site, and have some time to dedicate to setting it up, the Project tool can be incredibly valuable. Set up the features you need most depending on your goals. Choose from 12 project-types ranging from a site tech audit to a backlink audit, social media tracker, and PPC keyword tracking.

    As you may have noticed, the tracking possibilities here are vast. To get you started, here are some of our most-used features that have the most functionality in the free trial.

    Site audit

    If you’re looking for another crawling tool, you’re in luck! You can run a limited crawl with SEMrush. Check for technical errors including broken internal links, long title tags, and missing h1 tags. Keep in mind that this free trial version will only crawl 100 pages of your site, so this sampling will get you started and is ideal if you’re a super small site.

    Position tracking

    Use this tool to track your top-ranking keywords within a given project. To get started, simply set up your campaign: Select your root domain, search engine and device of choice, and your location. SEMrush then pulls the top-ranking keywords for that domain. You can also upload keywords manually or through Google Analytics if you like,  but that will be more helpful if/when you invest in a paid plan. 

    Once you have your list, you can add these top keywords to your project and start tracking them. After a minute or two,  your Position Tracking dashboard will appear.

    Here, you can monitor the progress of your keyword targeting. Track how your site ranks in the top three positions for the keywords you’re tracking and look for opportunity keywords on the second and third pages of the SERP. You can also compare rankings with competitor sites, monitor the success of select landing pages, and track any featured snippets you may have gained or lost over the week.

    Backlink Audit

    While there are a variety of tools out there to help you run a backlink audit, it’s worth testing out SEMrush’s Backlink Audit during your free trial. This tool helps you quickly locate toxic backlinks and request their removal.

    Once you run your audit, you can take a closer look at the backlink results. It marks each backlink with a score: 45-59 is potentially toxic and should be examined more closely; 60-100 is a toxic link and you should strongly consider removing it from your site.

    Note: This tool is a guide, so before removing any links from your site it is important to review and analyze them.

    If you do find toxic links in this audit, you can send requests to remove or disavow the links directly from SEMrush.

    Create a PDF report

    If you have to bring your findings to a team of stakeholders or justify the value of SEMrush to managers, you’ll likely enjoy one of the most comprehensive and advanced features on the SEMrush’s free trial–the report feature. 

    Within the trial scope, you can create one report to communicate your digital marketing status. Choose from an array of templated reports or create your own from scratch. The drag and drop method comes in handy here as you can select the most relevant data points for your team and compile them into an easy-to-digest report. 

    You can connect a domain’s Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google my Business accounts to instantly pull data from each source.

    Additionally, choose from the wide variety of domain analytics SEMrush can pull from its own platform into graphs, charts, and tables.

    Don’t get too excited, though. Since the trial is free, you only get to create one report and your options for selecting data points are more limited than the paid accounts, so make sure you have a plan in mind before starting to create your report.

    How to Make the Most of Your Seven Days

    Know which data points you want to research

    Are you using the trial to suss out your competitors’ rankings, for instance, or are you more interested in building out your backlink strategy? Defining your goals and the data points you need to attain them is crucial to leveraging your free SEMrush trial to its fullest, so we recommend having a clear idea of what you’re looking for before getting started.

    Identify your most trafficked pages

    It’s beneficial to define your best-performing content prior to starting your 7-day free trial. That way, you’ll know which URLs you want to look into first, as well as those that need additional optimization. 

    Prepare your keywords

    If you already know which keywords you’re ranking for and want to take a closer look at your competitors or to flesh out your content strategy, be sure to gather those queries ahead of time. This will make it easier for you to check search volume and semantically-related keywords for relevant terms without blowing your search budget.

    Have a list of possible competitors

    Having a handful of competitors in mind can be extremely helpful when setting up your SEMrush dashboards. While the tool will suggest your top Google competitors, it may not pick up on the more indirect competition. If you have a list of these companies prior to starting your trial, you can save a portion of your search budget to dig into your nuanced competitors while also discovering additional ranking rivals.

    Leverage Google Search Console

    Understanding your site’s current status will help you determine which direction to head in next. Google Search Console gives you insight into how you rank for various terms, and which pages resonate most with your audience. You can then use this information to retarget any pages that are ranking for irrelevant keywords, for example, within SEMrush.

    With these tips, you can comfortably get started with a free 7-day trial from SEMrush, and make the most of your limited searches.

    Have you had to sell the value of SEMrush to internal stakeholders? Did we miss your favorite free feature? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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