SEO Articles

The Biggest SEO Trend You’re Ignoring

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

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

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

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

So, what do you think it is?

Well, I’ll give you a hint…

My traffic per region

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

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

Now here’s my traffic in the United Kingdom:

And here are the stats for Canada:

And Australia:

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

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

Here’s Spain:

Here’s India:

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

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

Why you may ask?

Because a Google employee told me to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Amazon

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

Amazon has invested billions into regions like India:

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

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

And it’s not just India…

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

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

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

International SEO on a budget

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

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

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

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

So how did we expand internationally without spending upfront?

We partnered with locals.

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

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

Here’s how I structure each partnership:

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

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

International SEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

So what region are you going to expand to first?

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

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Increase Website Traffic: Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting

Increase Website Traffic: The Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting

The Ultimate Guide To Guest Posting

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

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

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

What is Guest Posting?

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

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

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

How Does Guest Blogging Work?

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

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

How to Get Started with Guest Posting?

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

Find Guest Blogging Opportunity

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

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

Google and Social Media Searches:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Blogger’s Author Bio:

Know of any prolific guest blogger in your industry?

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

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

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

Google Search: Sites to Guest Post:

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

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

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

Ask for Guest Posting Opportunity:

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

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

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

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

Read their guidelines

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

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

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

Prepare a pitch

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

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

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

Write your Guest Post

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

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

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

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

Craft an Author’s Bio

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

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

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

Follow up

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

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

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

Getting Guest Bloggers to Your Site

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

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

Fresh content

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

Increase in Website Traffic

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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Local businesses can solicit GoFundMe donations via Bing Places

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

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

Why we care

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

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

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

More on the announcement

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

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

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The Ultimate DIY SEO Tutorial For Beginners (Free)

SEO Tutorial for Beginners

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

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

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

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

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

What to expect from this SEO Tutorial?

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

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

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

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

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

What is Search Engine Optimization?

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

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

SEO has two main objectives:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is black hat SEO?

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

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

Which way to go?

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

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

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

Why is SEO so important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to do SEO on your Own (DIY SEO)

Understand How Search Engines work

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

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

How does Google Search Works?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What you need to understand is this:

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

Domain Names and SEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should you buy an old domain?

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

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

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

Website Platforms and SEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn How to Approach the SEO Learning Process

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

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

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

Work on Your Technical SEO

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

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

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

SEO Friendly Site Structure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Website structure can look like this:

SEO Site Structure
SEO Site Structure

and the URLs like this:

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

User and XML Sitemap

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

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

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

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

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

Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console

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

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

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

Resources to Learn More

Robots.txt Optimization

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

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

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

Read robots txt SEO for all the details.

404 Page Optimization

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

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

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

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

PageSpeed and SEO

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

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

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

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

Website Speed and Bounce Rate
Website Speed and Bounce Rate

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

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

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

Mobile-Friendly Websites and SEO

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

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

What is a mobile-friendly website?

A website is considered mobile-friendly when:

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

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

Work on your On-Page SEO

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

On-Page SEO Techniques
On-Page SEO Techniques

On-Page includes the following tasks:

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

Page Title Optimization

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

Best practices for SEO friendly page titles:

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

How to SEO Optimize your page titles?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meta Description Optimization

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

Best practices for crafting good meta descriptions:

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

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

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

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

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

Resources to Learn More

Heading Tags and Page Formatting

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

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

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

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

Headings Hierarchy
Headings Hierarchy

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

SEO Copywriting

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

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

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

What is SEO Friendly Content?

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

What is a keyword?

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

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

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

Consider the examples below, keywords are shown in bold:

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

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

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

What is the role of keywords in SEO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

High-Quality SEO Friendly Content

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

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

Valuable Content Google
Google Guidelines for creating high-quality content

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

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

Resources to Learn More

Internal linking

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

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

What is the purpose of internal links?

Internal links serve 2 major purposes:

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

Internal linking best practices for SEO

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

Rich Snippets and Schemas

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

What are schemas and why you should care?

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

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

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

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

Resources to Learn More

SEO for Multi-lingual websites

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work on Your Off-Page SEO

Off Page SEO
Off Page SEO

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

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

Why is off-page SEO important?

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

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

What is off-page SEO?

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

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

Why are links important?

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

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

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

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

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

What is a good link?

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

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

What is a ‘bad link’?

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

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

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

What are Google Penalties?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you get quality links for your website?

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

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

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

In addition to the above:

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

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

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

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

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

How long does it take for SEO to work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEO Tools and SEO Resources

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

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

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

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

Key Learnings and Next Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The SEO Elevator Pitch – Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by KameronJenkins

This week, we’re revisiting an important topic for SEOs everywhere: how to show your value. In the wake of everything that’s happened recently with COVID-19, being able to describe your worth to potential clients or stakeholders is an integral skill. In this favorite episode of Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins shares how to effectively and succinctly build an SEO elevator pitch that highlights the value you bring to a business and three warnings on what not to do.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey guys, welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins. Today we’re going to be talking about creating an SEO elevator pitch, what is it, why we need one, and what kind of prompted this whole idea for an SEO elevator pitch.

So essentially, I was on Twitter and I saw John Mueller. He tweeted, “Hey, I meet with a lot of developers, and a lot of times they don’t really know what SEOs do.” He was genuinely asking. He was asking, “Hey, SEO community, how do you describe what you do?” I’m scrolling through, and I’m seeing a lot of different answers, and all of them I’m resonating with.

They’re all things that I would probably say myself. But it’s just interesting how many different answers there were to the question, “What do SEOs do and what value do they provide?” So I kind of thought to myself, “Why is that? Why do we have so many different explanations for what SEO is and what we do?” So I thought about it, and I thought that it might be a good idea for myself and maybe other SEOs if you don’t already have an elevator pitch ready.

What is an SEO elevator pitch?

Now, if you’re not familiar with the concept of an elevator pitch, it’s basically — I have a definition here — a succinct and persuasive speech that communicates your unique value as an SEO. It’s called an elevator pitch essentially because it should take about the length of time it takes to ride the elevator with someone. So you want to be able to quickly and concisely answer someone’s question when they ask you, “Oh, SEO, what is that?I think I’ve heard of that before. What do you do?”

Why is this so hard?

So let’s dive right in. So I mentioned, in the beginning, how there are so many different answers to this “what do you say you do here” type question. I think it’s hard to kind of come up with a concise explanation for a few different reasons. So I wanted to dive into that a little bit first.

1. Lots of specialties within SEO

So number one, there are lots of specialties within SEO.

As the industry has advanced over the last two plus decades, it has become very diverse, and there are lots of different facets in SEO. I found myself on quite a rabbit trail. I was on LinkedIn and I was kind of browsing SEO job descriptions. I wanted to see basically: What is it that people are looking for in an SEO?

How do they describe it? What are the characteristics? So basically, I found a lot of different things, but I found a few themes that emerged. So there are your content-focused SEOs, and those are people that are your keyword research aficionados. There are the people that write search engine optimized content to drive traffic to your website. You have your link builders, people that focus almost exclusively on that.

You have your local SEOs, and you have your analysts. You have your tech SEOs, people that either work on a dev team or closely with a dev team. So I think that’s okay though. There are lots of different facets within SEO, and I think that’s awesome. That’s, to me, a sign of maturity in our industry. So when there are a lot of different specialties within SEO, I think it’s right and good for all of our elevator pitches to differ.

So if you have a specialty within SEO, it can be different. It should kind of cater toward the unique brand of SEO that you do, and that’s okay.

2. Different audiences

Number two, there are different audiences. We’re not always going to be talking to the same kind of person. So maybe you’re talking to your boss or a client. To me, those are more revenue-focused conversations.

They want to know: What’s the value of what you do? How does it affect my bottom line? How does it help me run my business and stay afloat and stay profitable? If you’re talking to a developer, that’s going to be a slightly different conversation. So I think it’s okay if we kind of tweak our elevator pitch to make it a little bit more palatable for the people that we’re talking to.

3. Algorithm maturity

Three, why this is hard is there’s been, obviously, a lot of changes all the time in the algorithm, and as it matures, it’s going to look like the SEO’s job is completely different than last year just because the algorithm keeps maturing and it looks like our jobs are changing all the time. So I think that’s a reality that we have to live with, but I still think it’s important, even though things are changing all the time, to have a baseline kind of pitch that we give people when they ask us what it is we do.

So that’s why it’s hard. That’s what your elevator pitch is.

My elevator pitch: SEO is marketing, with search engines

Then, by way of example, I thought I’d just give you my SEO elevator pitch. Maybe it will spark your creativity. Maybe it will give you some ideas. Maybe you already have one, and that’s okay. But the point is not to use mine.

The point is essentially to kind of take you through what mine looks like, hopefully get your creative juices flowing, and you can create your own. So let’s dive right into my pitch.

So my pitch is SEO is marketing, just with search engines. So we have the funnel here — awareness, consideration, and decision.

Awareness: Rank and attract clicks for informational queries.

First of all, I think it’s important to note that SEO can help you rank and attract clicks for informational queries.

Consideration: Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries.

So when your audience is searching for information, they want to solve their pain points, they’re not ready to buy, they’re just searching, we’re meeting them there with content that brings them to the site, informs them, and now they’re familiar with our brand. Those are great assisted conversions. Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries. When your audience is starting to compare their options, you want to be there. You want to meet them there, and we can do that with SEO.

Decision: Rank, attract clicks, and promote conversion for bottom-funnel queries

At the decision phase, you can rank and attract clicks and kind of promote conversions for bottom of funnel queries. When people are in their “I want to buy” stage, SEO can meet them there. So I think it’s important to realize that SEO isn’t kind of like a cost center and not a profit center. It’s not like a bottom of funnel thing. I’ve heard that in a lot of places, and I think it’s just important to kind of draw attention to the fact that SEO is integrated throughout your marketing funnel. It’s not relegated to one stage or another.

But how?

We talked about rank and attract clicks and promote conversions. But how do we do that? That’s the what it does.

But how do we do it? So this is how I explain it. I think really, for me, there are two sides to the SEO’s coin. We have driving, and we have supporting.

1. Driving

So on the driving side, I would say something like this. When someone searches a phrase or a keyword in Google, I make sure the business’ website shows up in the non-ad results. That’s important because a lot of people are like, “Oh, do you bid on keywords?”

We’re like, “No, no, that’s PPC.” So I always just throw in “non-ad” because people understand that. So I do that through content that answers people’s questions, links that help search engines find my content and show signs of authority and popularity of my content, and accessibility. So that’s kind of your technical foundation.

You’re making sure that your website is crawlable and it that it’s index the way that you want it to be indexed. When people get there, it works. It works on mobile and on desktop. It’s fast. So I think these are really the three big pillars of driving SEO — content, links, and making sure your website is technically sound. So that’s how I describe the driving, the proactive side of SEO.

2. Supporting

Then two, we have supporting, and I think this is kind of an underrated or maybe it’s often seen as kind of an interruption to our jobs.

But I think it’s important to actually call it what it is. It’s a big part of what we do. So I think we should embrace it as SEOs.

A. Be the Google Magic 8-ball

For one, we can serve as the Google Magic 8-Ball. When people come to us in our organization and they say, “Hey, I’m going to make this change, or I’m thinking about making this change.Is this going to be good or bad for SEO?”

I think it’s great that people are asking that question. Always be available and always make yourself ready to answer those types of questions for people. So I think on the reactionary side we can be that kind of person that helps guide people and understand what is going to affect your organic search presence.

B. Assist marketing

Two, we can assist marketing. So on this side of the coin, we’re driving.

We can drive our own marketing strategies. As SEOs, we can see how SEO can drive all phases of the funnel. But I think it’s important to note that we’re not the only people in our organization. Often SEOs maybe they don’t even live in the marketing department. Maybe they do and they report to a marketing lead. There are other initiatives that your marketing lead could be investigating.

Maybe they say, “Hey, we’ve just done some market research, and here’s this plan.” It could be our job as SEOs to take that plan, take that strategy and translate it into something digital. I think that’s a really important value that SEOs can add. We can actually assist marketing as well as drive our own efforts.

C. Fix mistakes

Then number three here, I know this is another one that kind of makes people cringe, but we are here to fix mistakes when they happen and train people so that they don’t happen again. So maybe we come in on a Monday morning and we’re ready to face the week, and we see that traffic has taken a nosedive or something. We go, “Oh, no,” and we dive in.

We try to see what happened. But I think that’s really important. It’s our job or it’s part of our job to kind of dive in, diagnose what happened, and not only that but support and be there to help fix it or guide the fixes, and then train and educate and make sure that people know what it is that happened and how it shouldn’t happen again.

You’re there to help train them and guide them. I think that’s another really important way that we can support as SEOs. So that’s essentially how I describe it.

3 tips for coming up with your own pitch

Before I go, I just wanted to mention some tips when you’re coming up with your own SEO elevator pitch. I think it’s really important to just kind of stay away from certain language when you’re crafting your own “this is what I do” speech.

So the three tips I have are:

1. Stay away from jargon.

If you’re giving an SEO elevator pitch, it’s to people that don’t know what SEO is. So try to avoid jargon. I know it’s really easy as SEOs. I find myself doing it all the time. There are things that I don’t think are jargon.

But then I take a couple steps back and I realize, oh yeah, that’s not layman’s terms. So stay away from jargon if at all possible. You’re not going to benefit anyone by confusing them.

2. Avoid policing.

It can be easy as SEOs I’ve found and I’ve found myself in this trap a couple of times where we kind of act as these traffic cops that are waiting around the corner, and when people make a mistake, we’re there to wag our finger at them.

So avoid any language that makes it sound like the SEOs are just the police waiting to kind of punish people for wrongdoing. We are there to help fix mistakes, but it’s in a guiding and educating and supporting, kind of collaborative manner and not like a policing type of manner. Number three, I would say is kind of similar, but a little different.

3. Avoid Supermanning.

I call this Supermanning because it’s the type of language that makes it sound like SEOs are here to swoop in and save the day when something goes wrong. We do. We’re superheroes a lot of times. There are things that happen and thank goodness there was an SEO there to help diagnose and fix that.

But I would avoid any kind of pitch that makes it sound like your entire job is just to kind of save people. There are other people in your organization that are super smart and talented at what they do. They probably wouldn’t like it if you made it sound like you were there to help them all the time. So I just think that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t make it seem like you’re the police waiting to wag your finger at them or you’re the superhero that needs to save everyone from their mistakes.

So yeah, that’s my SEO elevator pitch. That’s why I think it’s important to have one. If you’ve kind of crafted your own SEO elevator pitch, I would love to hear it, and I’m sure it would be great for other SEOs to hear it as well. It’s great to information share. So drop that in the comments if you feel comfortable doing that. If you don’t have one, hopefully this helps. So yeah, that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday, and come back again next week for another one.

Thanks, everybody.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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10 Important WordPress SEO Strategies

WordPress is the leading content management system because of a variety of factors that include its user-friendly platform and its huge plugin support. The latter allows WordPress sites to have a variety of options when it comes to choosing the perfect SEO plugin.

Although these plugins do the majority of the work when it comes to SEO, there are certain parts where the website owner needs to make decisions and optimizations himself. That is where WordPress SEO mistakes abound that cripple the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings of the website.

Here are ten important SEO strategies that will help you avoid those mistakes and make full use of the plugins available to you.


1. Increase the loading speed

A successful SEO strategy is dependent on the satisfaction of customers and a slow-loading WordPress site won’t do it any good. To positively contribute to the SEO strategy you are implementing, you should aim to increase the loading speed of each page that makes up your blog.

You can use PageSpeed Insights to gauge the speed of the WordPress blog you are managing and get to see the performance of your website. After running the test, you will get optimization strategies that you can follow through. When the tool tests the website and it scored less than 85, you need to improve on some characteristics of the blog.

Jennifer Hutton is a website developer for NSBroker. She says, ‘’our audience is mainly students and corporate professionals and with that kind of audience, we cannot afford to offer anything below tier-1 services. After all, your website is the source that makes your business run.’’

In her opinion, WordPress has a plethora of plugins that could help you with increasing the loading speed of website pages. One of those plugins is the caching plugin that helps decrease the overall time it takes for each page to load.

The most popular caching plugin is W3 Total Cache and is being used by more than 1 million users and has good reviews online. There are other alternatives to this plugin if you happen to dislike this one like WP Super Cache, WP Rocket, Hyper Cache, etc.


2. Use static permalink structures

Each website has a default permalink structure that is attributed to it but unfortunately, it is not good for SEO purposes. The permalink assigned to each WordPress site is similar to this example – “http://sitename.com/?p=N.” As you can tell, this permalink does not look user-friendly at all and due to that, it does not contribute to SEO efforts.

Thankfully, you can alter the permalink easily when you are using WordPress and create one that is more user and search engine friendly. To benefit the SEO efforts you are implementing, use a permalink that makes it clear what the post is about.

That can be done by breaking it up into a title in very few words or by even including keywords on the permalink. For example, you might choose to set your permalink to something like this, “http://doglovers.com/training-labradors”.

You can do this by heading to Settings on the WordPress dashboard and clicking the section with permalink settings. Afterward, click on “post name” and then do the alterations you need on the permalink.

When users get to see the link, they will know exactly what to expect and if you used keywords, it will have the chance to rank higher on the SERP.


3. Upload an XML sitemap

Using an XML sitemap can help Google easily and more efficiently index the pages and posts you make on the blog you are managing. Although using an XML sitemap isn’t entirely a necessity, it makes the process more efficient and simple.

Whenever you make a new blog post, the XML sitemap will ensure that it is found quickly and with great ease on the SERP.

It essentially makes the content you post on the blog after initially launching readily available for users on Google. WordPress also makes things simple in this regard because there are sitemap plugins that ensure that it is always up to date. The most popular plugins for that purpose are Google XML Sitemaps and XML Sitemaps.

These plugins will automatically generate the XML sitemap you need for the WordPress blog you are running. Above that, these plugins will also send a notification to Google when you post new articles or other content on the WordPress blog.

To ensure that the sitemap you have set up really contributes to SEO efforts, make sure that the data in the robots.txt is relevant to what you provided Google. That especially refers to when you blocked a certain page on the robots.txt file, ensure that it is not included in the sitemap.


4. Set up Google Search Console

How would you like it if there was someone or something that gives you a warning on the not-so-good practices on the website you are running?

Undoubtedly you would feel overjoyed because you would not be in constant worry of whether you are doing it right. Google has made that a reality by inventing Google Webmaster tools that is now commonly known as the Search Console.

If you are not using this greatly beneficial tool, you are definitely missing out on warnings concerning your SEO strategy. Whenever Google finds it hard to access and index the content you have posted, the Search Console will alert you to this.

This will keep you on alert and updated if you are deviating from the goals you have established prior to launching the website.

You can also get to see the penalties that the website has incurred due to bad SEO practices that were found on it. Fortunately, you do not only receive bad news on the Google Search Console but also good ones like where you are getting traffic from.

With this tool, you can also get to see the keywords and links that drive the most traffic to the website you are managing.


5. Use HTTPS

Some website owners do not pay much attention to the protocol used on their website and they might not even know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. The notable difference between these two protocols is that HTTPS is secure than the other. It has SSL security and is important if you want your site to be more trustworthy and credible.

The audience you have targeted will most likely prefer a site that is secure in comparison to one that does not have any form of security. Fortunately, you can make use of plugins that make this possible on the WordPress site you are managing.

The plugins you can use include SSL Zen, Really Simple SSL pro, WordPress HTTPS and others. Using HTTPS is essential, especially for online shop owners that use the same domain for their blog.

Securing the blog will indicate that you are cautious when it comes to their cybersecurity and safety of their personal information shared on the website, you are running. You can get free or paid plugins but obviously, they come with different features, so ensure that you are paying for what the website really needs.


6. Get a mobile-friendly website theme

Google is very personal about the mobility of sites because of the number of users that access this search engine on mobile devices. As a result, this search engine does not rank sites that are not mobile-friendly high on SERPs. To improve the SEO strategy you have in place, ensure that the theme being used on the WordPress blog you are running is responsive.

There are a lot of benefits that come with using responsive themes and they include a lower bouncing rate. Internet users tend to bounce websites that take a long time to load and responsive sites also improve the website page speed.

Also, when content appears distorted or stretched on mobile devices, they might not get a great user-experience and choose to bounce the website.

All these troubles could be avoided by ensuring that the WordPress blog you are running is responsive. When customers stay for longer periods on the site you are managing, they may even buy the product or service offers you are offering, thereby improving the conversion rate.


7. Ensure that you have Yoast installed

Do not leave out Yoast in the SEO strategy you are implementing because it gives you all-around support. The features offered by this tool can help you gain control over the SEO strategy currently being implemented on the WordPress blog.

The robust features it offers are optimizing keywords, indexing the pages faster on different platforms, ensuring that the content stays up to date.

Every six months, Yoast will remind you to update the most important pages on the blog you are running. Google also checks the website for the readability of the content that you have created and if it does not look good, you might be penalized by getting lower rankings.

Yoast helps with scoring the readability of each page that is on the WordPress blog that you are managing.

Also, you will not have to worry about the technicality of the blog because it will manage everything for you in a simple and efficient manner. Above that, users do not get stuck on the error 404 message because it will automatically redirect old URLs to new ones.


8. Use a CDN to improve the performance of the WordPress blog

The performance of your WordPress blog is very important because it dictates the number of visitors that stay on the site and the experience they get. When the website lacks in the performance output, users might be left with the only option to bounce the site.

To avoid that, you should pay close attention to the quality of the web hosting service you are currently using. Alternatively, you can Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) improve the overall performance and speed on the WordPress blog. Using CDNs makes static content closer to the users by using remote servers spread across the globe.

Whenever a user opens a page, that content will be nearer to them instead of being in one server and take a few more seconds to download on their screen.

Ensure that you get a high-quality CDN provider that will reliably transport the static content to improve the performance of the website. Some of the most reliable CDN providers are Cloudflare, Microsoft Azure CDN, and Amazon CloudFront.


9. Have a solid linking strategy

There are three types of links that you can use for the WordPress blog you are managing and they are inbound, outbound and internal linking. The first one is the most efficient when you would like to drive more traffic to the site you are running. You can request another site to link you to get inbound links.

Alternatively, you can just write quality content and hope that a trustworthy site picks up on the work you have done and links it on their blog. The second type of linking should be actively conducted by you. The end goal here is ensuring that you source and use high-quality links from authoritative websites.

That will boost the SEO strategy you have in place by making you appear as a trustworthy site on Google algorithms. Although these two types of linking are very important, you should also focus on internal linking. The latter form of linking is when you link other published content on your site on the blog post you are writing at that time.


10. Optimize the images you post

Images really do beautify the content you have created and post on the WordPress site you are managing. As much as they can be beautiful, they can also slow down the entire site page or, alternatively, affect the appearance of the page negatively.

Images that are stretched or out of size in any manner can make the website they are posted on look cheap. To avoid this, ensure that the images on the website are perfectly sized and that they are compressed. Uncompressed images can make the website slow and perform badly, so ensure that these two factors are considered and done accordingly.

Also include tags on the pictures and use keywords when doing so to make the images rank higher on the Google Images section. All these SEO efforts will increase the chances of your website ranking higher on the SERPs.


The bottom line

SEO is very important for business websites and this task can be simplified when using WordPress as a content management system. There are plenty of plugins that you can use to improve the SEO of the site and they include cache and SSL plugin tools.

You can also use Yoast SEO, which gives all-around service to WordPress blogs because it indexes the pages, reminds you to update content and helps with keywords. There are so many tools that you can use to improve the SEO of your site so do not neglect this important aspect.

The post 10 Important WordPress SEO Strategies appeared first on WP Fix It.

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