SEO

Understanding Simple Search Engine Optimization for Business Owners

Individuals beginning an internet business may wish to have a SEO company to help with their optimization or marketing of their website. The SEO services company will take their information and add marketing through internet marketing, or search engine marketing. To do this, a company will need information about the website and will need to make sure the site has a good domain name. Choosing a domain name is easy if the individual knows what they are offering on the website. A good domain name will incorporate the website into its name. This will help drive traffic to the website and help the domain to reach a higher level on the internet each time it is searched.

Search engine optimization can be important when an individual is trying to market their website and gain ranking. To do this one will need to drive traffic to their website through Google AdWords services and AdWords management. Individuals can use link building and links to drive traffic to their site as well as using articles that are linked to the original site. Adding keywords to an article will help individuals to type these words in to the search engine to locate the article or website through the keywords. These keywords can be something that individuals would think have when they saw the website.

Keywords, Google AdWords services, and SEO services are all things used to drive traffic to a website. The more traffic to the website, the more the individuals will see the site climb to the top of the Google search engine. This will help with search engine optimization. Internet marketing through using key phrases, words, and ad words will help an individual's site to reach the top. Reaching the top means every time one or two words, that are the keywords, are typed in the search engine, the site will pop up. It may not begin on the top but it will ever make its way to the top if the individual uses a good SEO company to manage their marketing. Individuals that are inexperienced with developing and managing a site will appreciate the capabilities of the companies that do SEO.

The websites with the most traffic to them will stand the best chance of having the most success on the World Wide Web. Individuals that take the time to do a good job of sending traffic to their site will stand the best chances of having great amounts of traffic to their site. A good marketing campaign will help drive the traffic and will help the website owner to manage their site after the services are complete. They will monitor how the site is doing and make sure that the site is continuing to remain on top. If the site begins to slip, the managers will do more marketing and management so that the site will return to the top of the search engines lists. When a keyword is typed into the search engine, they will know that they were smart to hire a SEO agency handle their marketing and optimization.

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What Is Search-Engine Optimization? The Basics of SEO

Recently a long-time business associate of mine asked, “Why in the world are you doing SEO? You’re a writer.” I laughed at first but, after thinking about it, realized that some people in the advertising business (and other businesses) still don’t understand what search-engine optimization is all about.

SEO is, yes, mostly writing.

That’s because Google and other search engines are continually sifting through the text on your website in order to determine what your pages are about. It’s the main way they determine your SERP (search engine results page) rank. And ultimately the way your website is found in organic search results–organic, meaning the way a search engine naturally finds you, without you driving traffic to your site through web advertising or word-of-mouth, etc.

Great organic search results are vital to a business, as the attention span of consumers get shorter and shorter every day. Rarely will a consumer even venture to search page two in their quest to find a product or company online.

So, how does search-engine optimization begin? Well, with thorough research. That’s key. Keywords and keyphrases, to be exact. You have to be a bit of an experimental slooth to determine the optimal words to use on a website. Google and other sites offer keyword tools to help you learn which words people are actually searching for. You shouldn’t use the interesting, and possibly quirky, words you might coin. You want to use the terms and phrases people are actually searching for. Then, code those words into your website’s pages so search engines can find them. I’m simplifying the process, of course, because there’s a lot of strategy that goes into SEO, particularly in choosing keywords.

Now, back to the writing part. The thing Google (and other search engines) values most is your title. That’s the text at the very top of your page (possibly invisible), the text that is bookmarked and also appears in blue on a search engine results page. Therefore, you’ll want to incorporate your main keywords into this title, and place them first–even before your company name. Unless your company name is Coke or McDonald’s. Or some other well-known brand.

Next in importance is the “meta tag,” the black text underneath that blue title that tells searchers more about your site. Prioritize your most important keywords there, as well. Then, search engines will scan your website’s HTML text for those same keywords. They give most value to what’s coded as h1 (your main headline) then h2, h3, h4 (subheads), then the rest of your html copy. Note: the text on your site must be in HTML fonts, or they won’t be recognized.

Search engines also give good rank to pages that are updated often, which is why blogs and news can do well, and to backlinks, such as articles that link back to your site. All of which is writing. Yes, writing.

It surprises me when I see prominent businesses, especially advertising agencies, that use “Home” in the title of their own home page, agencies that tout themselves as interactive experts. I figure, sure, they may be able to design a gorgeous site for their clients, but will anyone ever find it?

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Hiring the Services of a Good SEO Web Host

Hiring the Services of a Good SEO Web Host

Time and again, the world of internet marketing has never failed to impress in being able to offer webmasters with the best of services that they need the most. As more amount of webmasters try to focus on generating some of the best services around, it has opened up an entire new prospect of being able to grant webmasters with the best of what they want. Now, with the ability of finding out how one can get the most of what they want, there have been a few SEO Web Hosts in the market that were able to offer Multiple C Class IPs to those that want to find out how they are able to get precisely what they want. Fact of the matter is that as long as webmasters are able to master the art of creating effective link wheels and blog farms, it has provided them with the prospect of finding out which are the best of services that they want the most. Now, with so much up on offer, it has helped webmasters give their domains the boost that they have always wanted. Additionally, with super cost effective price tags that only a good SEO Web Host can offer, it has given webmasters a cheaper and much more cost effective way to get their work done and at the same time take advantage of the web.

While SEO Hosting has already set its standards across the world, it has opened up an entire new prospect for development in being able to help webmasters find the best of means via which they can create link wheels and blog farms that host domains on multiple C Class IPs. Doing so has helped a lot of webmasters find the best of means for them to create influential results on the SERPs. If you are under the impression that not many webmasters are able to create for themselves the results that they need, there will always be a focus to dive domains on SEO Hosting servers which today only a few of the top SEO Web Hosts can deliver. If you are one of the many webmasters across the world that is currently seeking a means via which you can give yourself and your domains the boost that they have always wanted, it would be essential that you find out which SEO Web Hosts in the market can help you find the perfect Multiple C Class IP Hosting package that would provide you with results that are on par with your requirements and standards.

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Best 25 SEO-Friendly Themes for Your Business

My Failed Attempt at SEO (And What I’ve Learned)

seo failure

Did you know that I’ve failed at SEO before?

No, I’m not talking about when I first started my career. This was when I knew SEO like the back of my hand.

I’m talking about when I was good enough to get sites ranked on page 1… that’s when I really failed at SEO.

And boy was it was heartbreaking!

Let’s just say this: I was able to rank a site on page 1 of Google for the term “online poker” and then my rankings tanked. Not because of a Google penalty but from something I never expected.

But before I go into what I learned, let’s first go over how it all started…

Online Poker Lowdown

online poker lowdown

Back in 2010, I bought an old poker site that was never really updated. It was called Online Poker Lowdown. Funny enough, the site is still up today even though I don’t own it.

The reason I bought it was because it ranked in the top 1,000 for the term “online poker.” The site just needed some updating.

If you are wondering how I found it, I was Googling for the term “online poker,” and I hit up a dozen or so sites who were ranking between page 30 and 100 for the term and bought the cheapest one.

And the reason I went after the poker industry was that back then a lot of us thought it was going to be legalized in the United States. So, if I could rank at the top, I would have a site that would eventually be worth a lot of money… assuming I was patient.

My first blog post

I published my first blog back in November 2010. It was called, the top 5 poker mistakes you’ll make.

poker mistakes

The blog post wasn’t the standard 2,000 plus words that I write these days, but it was long enough for 2010. Keep in mind, there weren’t as many blogs back then so it wasn’t as competitive.

But this blog post did well, there were 31 comments:

comments poker

And over time, the blog continually grew as I published more content.

My path to growing Online Poker Lowdown

I wish I had the analytics for the site still, but I don’t.

If my memory serves me correctly (and usually it does), the site capped out at roughly 41,000 unique visitors a month all from 104 blog posts.

And at one point I even ranked number 7 on page 1 for the term “online poker.”

The best part of all, it didn’t even take me a year to achieve those results.

Keep in mind that back then you could get rankings much faster than you can now. But still, it was pretty fast even for 2010/2011.

So how did I get my rankings and traffic so high in such a competitive space?

It wasn’t the content, it was the backlinks.

Google’s algorithm was much easier to predict back then and links impacted rankings more than anything else.

Now you are wondering how I got all of these people to link to me. Like today, no one wanted to link to poker sites… even back in 2011.

It was from writing posts like this.

top 30 blogs

By creating list-based posts of the top blogs within the poker industry, it was easy for me to get them to link back to me.

If you want to do something similar, it’s not as simple as writing a blog that includes the top 30 or even 100 blogs within your industry.

  1. Your post needs to be detailed – I know the example I showed on Online Poker Lowdown isn’t detailed. Times have changed. If your list-based post isn’t as in-depth and thorough as possible it won’t work nearly as well. For example, if you list out the pros and cons of the site and why you included it, that would be much better than just writing a few paragraphs and linking to dozens of sites.
  2. You need to include images – when listing out the top 100 blogs within your industry, make sure you include an image for each blog. This one little thing will add a bit of flair to your post.
  3. Your list needs to be long – a top 30 list isn’t as effective as writing a top 100 or top 500 list.
  4. Your list needs to be of bloggers – don’t list out the top 100 sites, it needs to be blogs. Bloggers are much more open to linking back to you.

Once you publish your list-based post you’ll need to drive a ton of traffic to it within 7 days of it being published. Back in the day, I drove traffic to the Online Poker Lowdown top 30 poker blogs post by paying for StumbleUpon ads.

But that is no longer an option as StumbleUpon doesn’t exist anymore.

You can still drive traffic through Reddit ads, Quora ads, Twitter ads, and Facebook Ads though. These options are technically better than StumbleUpon as they have better targeting options.

Even if your blog is popular, I would still recommend that you pay for ads… even if it is just 50 dollars. By paying for ads, it ensures your blog post gets read by hopefully a few thousand new people if not more.

You don’t need the highest quality traffic either, you just need visitors who are somewhat interested in your content.

The more people that read your post, the more will click through to one of the top blogs you mentioned. And the more people that click through to their site, the more of them will notice your blog when they analyze their referral traffic.

In other words, when they see a spike in their Google Analytics account, they’ll notice that the extra traffic came from your blog.

This will put your blog on their radar!

Now, on the 7th day of your blog post being live, you’ll want to email each website that you included.

The email should go something like this…

Hey John,

I just wanted to congratulate you for having an amazing blog. I loved OnlinePoker.org so much that I included it in my list of the top 100 poker blogs. [insert link to your blog post]

There are so many junk sites in the poker space, but yours truly stands out. I love how you go into great detail about poker strategy and you have some infographics breaking down how casinos make their money.

Hope you got some nice traffic from me… the blog post was pretty popular and well received by the poker community.

If you want to showcase your accomplishment, feel free and mention it to your readers. Or you can just place this badge on your blog.

poker badge

[insert embed code for the badge, which should also contain a link back to your site]

Cheers,

Neil Patel

You’re going to have to customize the email and then, of course, make a badge that looks much nicer and is smaller. But you get the point.

This one strategy really boosted my backlink count and skyrocketed me to the top. It still works today, but if you are going to leverage it there are a few things you should know:

  1. Your post needs at least 10,000 visitors – only a portion of your visitors will click through to some of the top sites you mentioned. The more people that read your post the better, so make sure to drive at least 10,000 visitors. If you need to use ads, use them because if only a few thousand people read your post it won’t work nearly as well.
  2. You need to create a badge – make one that is much prettier, simpler, and smaller than the example I showed. Without a badge and embed code, you’ll barely generate any links.
  3. Send follow up emails – for all of the people that don’t open up your email and respond, send them a follow-up email within 3 days asking them to share your content on the social web. The email should look something like the one below.

Hey John,

I’m not sure if you saw the email I sent you a few days ago. I just wanted to congratulate you for having an amazing poker blog. I included OnlinePoker.org as one of the top 100 poker blogs in the world. [insert link to your blog post]

Your blog truly stands out as you have gone above and beyond by creating content like infographics explaining how Las Vegas casinos work.

Hope you got some nice traffic from me… the blog post was pretty popular and well received by the poker community.

I know you are busy, but I would love it if you could share the article on your favorite social network.

Let me know if I can do anything for you. Or if you want me to update the post to showcase anything else that makes OnlinePoker.org unique just let me know.

Cheers,

Neil Patel

By combining those two emails with the promotions steps I break down in this blog post, you’ll notice that you’ll generate backlinks and social shares.

That’s how I was able to rank on page 1 for one of the most competitive terms.

So why was Online Poker Lowdown a failure?

I broke down how I climbed to the page 1 of Google for “online poker” and as you can see from some of the posts people were engaging with the content.

So why did Online Poker Lowdown fail from an SEO standpoint?

It’s because I didn’t know what I was talking about. See, I know very little about poker, and I hired mediocre writers to help me out.

Although I got the content to rank, my user signals were terrible.

When people landed on the site, many of them would hit the back button, so they could go back to Google and find a better site.

Just think of it this way: If your site has a terrible bounce rate, this tells Google that people don’t care for your site.

Although you may have “optimized” your site for search engines, it doesn’t really matter because people don’t care for your content, and this tells Google that your site isn’t as good as the competition.

Once my rankings started to drop I panicked, and I immediately reached out to a few poker players and I got their feedback.

They all told me the same thing… the content wasn’t great and if they were looking to learn poker all over again, the blog posts aren’t actionable enough to make someone a decent poker player.

They even broke down how I needed to teach scenarios within my content and tell people what they should do when they are dealt with specific hands like what to do you do if you were starting off with a pair of 2s.

For someone not knowing much about poker and because I wasn’t passionate about the topic, I threw in the towel and I sold the blog for a few thousand dollars.

The big lesson I learned was that knowing SEO isn’t enough. Even if you can build links, write content, and climb to the top of Google fast, you won’t stay if people hate your content (or product/service).

Google cares what people think first and foremost.

So, if you can’t create something people will love, your bounce rate is going to be high and you’ll find that it will be hard to get steady organic traffic.

Conclusion

This was my worst SEO failure.

When I started Online Poker Lowdown, I was good at SEO and I was a bit too arrogant. I never expected that not being a subject matter expert would really hurt me.

I know there were other solutions that I could have taken, such as partnering up with someone who knew poker (which I tried), but I quickly learned that if people aren’t passionate about the topic it won’t work.

People can tell by your content. You never want to put out stuff that people think is crap. It will just make you look bad.

Plus, when you are passionate about a topic, the writing is different. From the way you’ll tell stories to how you break down actionable steps or how you mix in life experiences… it’s hard to do these things when you aren’t an expert.

Don’t do what I did by popping up sites to make a quick buck. Build something real that you can be proud of.

So, what do you think of my SEO failure? Did you expect it to end this way?

The post My Failed Attempt at SEO (And What I’ve Learned) appeared first on Neil Patel.

Designer Wall

How to Build Links When No One Will Link to You

link building

Are you frustrated that no one will link to you? Have you tried all of the basic link building methods like email outreach to find out that none of them are working for you?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Everyone says you need to write amazing content to build links. And although that helps, what if I told you it isn’t a requirement.

Yes, link building is hard, but not impossible.

And if you are struggling to build links, here are the tactics you need to follow… even if your website, product, or content aren’t as good as your competition, these tactics will work.

Tactic #1: Link Intersect

If you email a site asking for a link, the chances are they are going to ignore it. I get these requests all the time… and I ignore them too.

But on the flip side, if you emailed someone that linked to 3 or 4 of your competitors there is a good chance they will also link to you.

When someone links to a few of your competitors, this tells you that they don’t mind linking to sites within your industry and that they are more open to linking to more sites as they already link to 3 competitors.

So how do you find sites who link to at least 3 of your competitors?

The way you do this is by heading over to Ahrefs and selecting their “Link Intersect” feature (it is under the “more” navigation menu option).

link intersect

You’ll want to enter your 3 closest competitors and then your domain at the bottom. This will generate a report of sites that link to your competition but not you.

link intersect report

From there you’ll want to drill down to specific pages to see what pages are linking to your competition.

link intersect drill

As you find common sites that link to a few of your competitors, you’ll have to dig in to figure out in what context they are linking out.

For example, if someone is linking to all of your competitors’ blogs in a resource page, you have to make sure you have a blog before hitting them up. Because if you don’t, why would they add you to the list?

Once you find a handful of sites that are a good fit, you should email the site owner, build a conversation, and then ask for a link.

Here’s an example that my team used for a site that I own:

link intersect email

And here was the response we got:

response link intersect

We use this tactic at scale. For every 100 websites that we emailed we picked up 9.7 links. We got this ratio for sites in a competitive niche and we aren’t using my name.

Tactic #2: Image link building

People love images… just look at social networks like Instagram. They’ve built a multi-billion-dollar company by encouraging people to take more photos.

As you’re blogging, you should consider using custom images on your site. If you aren’t a great designer, no worries, you can just use tools like Canva. Or if you have a bit of money to spend, you can always head to Fiverr and spend a few bucks paying someone to create custom images.

A good example of this is how I created a handful of custom graphs about Facebook for this blog post. The graphs look something like this:

facebook image

Over time, you’ll notice that other sites will take your images without linking to you. This may sound bad, but in reality, it is great because you can reach out to each of those sites and tell them to give you credit and link back.

Note, I am not telling you to “ask,” I am telling you to enforce that they need to link back to you.

Here’s how you find all of the people who have taken your images.

First, head over to Google Image Search. Once you land there, click on the camera icon.

google images

Once you click it, you’ll see a box that looks like this:

google image search

From there you will either want to paste in the URL with your custom image or upload it. And once you hit search you’ll see a list of sites who have taken your image.

image results

Some of these sites will have linked to you while others may have not. For the ones that have not linked to you, email them something that goes like this…

Subject: Copyright infringement – [name of their site]

Hey [their first name],

I noticed on this url [insert the url on their site that has used your image without linking back] you used an image that I created, and the rights of that image are owned by me.

I don’t mind you using it, but please link to back to [URL on your site where the image could be found] and give me credit. I spent a lot of time and money creating the images on my site, and I would appreciate it if people knew that it was originally created by me.

Please make this change in the next 72 hours.

Thanks

[insert your name]

Out of all of the link tactics mentioned in this post, this one has the highest success rate. It’s close to 100%.

If you email someone and they don’t link back, try them a few more times.

As your site grows in popularity, more people will steal your images, which will make it easier to build backlinks.

Tactic #3: Link reclamation

As your website gets older, you’ll notice that people will naturally mention you and your company. But when they mention your company name they won’t always link to you.

So why not email all of these people and ask them to turn the mention into a link?

It’s a simple strategy, and it works really well.

Just think of it this way, if someone has mentioned you or your company without you having to convince them, it typically means they already like what they see.

So, when you email them, not only will they feel flattered, but there is a high probability they will respond as well.

This means it will be easy for you to convince them to link to you.

But when you shoot off the email, I highly recommend that you also share the content that mentions you on the social web and let them know that you did this.

Here’s an example email:

Subject: I’m honored, thanks [insert their first name]

Hey [insert their first name],

I’m flattered! I really appreciate you mentioning me on your site [insert link to the article that mentions you but doesn’t contain a link].

I just wanted to let you know that I shared your article on Twitter to show my appreciation.

On a side note, I would appreciate it if you adjusted the mention of my name, “[insert your name]” and turned it into a link that pointed people to [URL of your site].

Cheers,

[insert your name]

PS: Let me know if I can do anything for you

Your success rate should be well over 50%. For me, my rate is close to 83%, but again a lot of people in marketing know who I am, so your success rate will be lower.

The key to leveraging this tactic is to email people right when they publish a post that mentions your site but doesn’t contain a link.

If you ask people to add a link to a post that is older than 6 months, you’ll find yourself generating only 1 link for every 5 or 6 emails you send.

In other words, if you want a high success rate, you need to be on top of it. The easiest way is to create alerts using Buzzsumo.

Just sign in and click on “monitoring.” Then click on “create new alert.”

buzzsumo monitor

Then click “brand mentions.”

alert

Fill out the name of your site or company. Make sure you also add any misspellings.

alert details

Select how you want to be notified anytime someone mentions you.

alert emails

Click finish, and you’ll then see see a report that shows you how many mentions there are over the last week, month or even 2 months. As well as a list of sites that mentioned you.

mention report

report list

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, but you should try and email people within 24 hours of having a brand mention. That’ll give you the highest chance of generating a link.

Tactic #4: Performance-based press

Do you want mentions on sites like TechCrunch and Entrepreneur? And no, I am not talking about guest posts.

Well, of course, you want to be mentioned on those sites. But how?

There are companies like PRserve that offer performance-based press. If they get you press, then you pay. If they don’t, you won’t spend a dollar.

The cool part about PRserve is that it is a real legitimate PR agency. They don’t sell links, they aren’t familiar with link building, and they don’t leverage author accounts or guest posts. They pitch editors to write about you and your company.

These editors will either say yes or no. If they say no, again, you don’t pay a dollar. If they say yes, PRserve charges you a performance-based fee that ranges depending on the site (you’ll negotiate this rate with them in advance).

Now, there is one big thing to note about PRserve. There is no guarantee that when they get you an article there will be a link to your company. For example, if they convince TechCrunch to blog about you, there is no guarantee that TechCrunch will link to your site. They will mention you, but again there is no guarantee of a link.

But if you take this strategy and combine it with tactic 3, you should easily be able to turn that mention into a link.

As for all of the tactics, this one is my favorite. The reason being is that it drives revenue.

When sites like Venture Beat and TechCrunch cover you, expect to get more leads, sales, and traffic.

The guy I’ve dealt with at PRserve is named Chris. He typically knows before taking on a project what he can produce and how long it will take. As a heads up, things move a bit slow, but that is because he is actually pitching editors of big publications who tend to have busy schedules.

Tactic #5: Infographics

You’ve heard me talk about infographics before, but this tactic has a slight spin.

See, whenever you create content (whether it is blog posts, videos, podcasts) there is no guarantee that it will do well.

Here’s a screenshot of some my latest blog posts…

np blogs

As you can see from the image above, some posts have done much better than others. You can tell by the number of comments on each post (the higher the comment count, in general, the more popular the post was).

Can you guess why some posts have done better than others?

I put in a lot of time to each of my posts, so that’s not it. To be honest, no one really knows the answer. Content marketing tends to be a hit or miss, in which some of your content will do really well and others won’t.

You are going to have many more misses than hits, which is why I am about to explain a strategy that will only produce hits (at least from a link perspective).

I want you to go to Ahrefs, click on “content explorer,” and type in keywords related to your space.

content explorer

Ahrefs will show you all of the popular articles based off of social shares and links. Look for articles that contain at least 100 backlinks.

Here’s an article I found in the content marketing vertical that has over 3,600 backlinks.

hubspot

What’ll you’ll want to do is read that post and turn it into an infographic.

You’ll need to cite the original source. You can easily do this by adding their logo to the footer of the infographic and include the text “data provided by.”

If you don’t know how to create an infographic, you can pay people on Fiverr or you can use tools like Infogram.

Once you create the infographic, publish it on your blog and, of course, link to the original source. Now you’ll want to email each of the sites that linked to the original article and mention how you have turned it into an infographic. You’ll even want to give them the embed code.

The email would go something like this…

Subject: I think you need to see this

[insert their first name], would you agree people are more visual learners?

Well of course you do. We all tend to learn better from looking at visuals than reading text. 🙂

I noticed you linked to [insert the article they linked to] and I get why. It is an amazing resource for your readers. I also enjoyed it, which is why I turned it into an infographic.

[insert link to your infographic]

If you think it will help your readers digest the information, feel free to embed it within your blog.

Oh, and if you are wondering where you linked to [name of the article they linked to], it’s here [URL of on their website that links out].

Cheers,

[insert your name]

PS: Let me know if I can do anything for you.

This approach to link building requires a bit of work, but it works really well. The reason being is you are taking out the guesswork of what people love.

As long as you pick informational articles that can be turned into infographics and these articles have at least 100 links, you’ll be able to generate links.

Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, but you need to go after articles with at least 100 links. Some of the sites linking in will be junk and not everyone will embed your infographic… so going after a site with 100 links, in general, should help you build 16 or 17 links.

If you also don’t know how to create an embed code for your infographic, just use this WordPress plugin.

A good working example of this strategy is this science of social timing infographic we created. The data was originally gathered by Dan Zarrella. We just turned it into a visual graphic. This strategy helped me generate 1,070 backlinks.

infographic links

Tactic #6: Moving Man Method

Do you know how many businesses shut down each year? I don’t know the exact number, but it has to be a lot because 7 out of 10 businesses fail.

When these businesses shut down it opens up a lot of link opportunities… hence broken link building exists. But today I’m not going to teach you about broken link building as you are already familiar with it.

Instead, I am going to share with you a similar strategy, that has a slight twist, called the Moving Man Method. It was created by my friend, Brian Dean and it has helped him generated high domain authority links.

If you want to leverage the Moving Man Method, you need to find businesses who:

  • Changed their name
  • Stopped updating resources
  • Discontinued products and services
  • Are slowly letting their business die as they are running out of money
  • Have announced that they are going out of business (but haven’t yet)

Brian used this strategy to get a DA 87 link.

backlinko example

If you want to leverage the Moving Man Method you need to first find sites within your space that have done one of the 5 things above.

For example, in the marketing space, Search Engine Watch used to be a popular research site within the marketing community, but since they got bought out years ago the current owners haven’t done much with it. The business isn’t doing well, and they don’t put much time into it.

And Blueglass was once a popular SEO agency until they shut down their main US operations. Here are some sample emails Brian sent to gain links.

outreach

In most cases, people respond because you are helping them ensure their site stays up to date by not linking to URLs that won’t benefit their readers and, secondly, you are giving them a new option to link to, so they don’t have to waste time finding a replacement.

And here’s the response Brian got:

email response

This strategy works similar to broken link building. All you have to do is take the link that meets one of the 5 requirements above and put it into Ahrefs.

search engine watch

Conclusion

I know link building is hard. I’ve been where you are today. You spend countless hours trying to build links, but for some reason, you just can’t convince anyone to link to you.

No matter how tempting it sounds, don’t take shortcuts by buying links. Focus on long-term strategies as it will ensure that you will do better in Google in the long run.

And if you are struggling, start off with the first tactic I mentioned in this post. It tends to be effective and you can leverage it at scale.

Tactic 2 and 5 take a bit more effort, but they also work really well. For example, the infographic I showcased in tactic 5 has more backlinks than the original article. 😉

Tactic 3 and 4 also work, but they won’t generate you hundreds of backlinks. You should still leverage them as the more links you get the better off you are. You just have to be patient with these two.

And lastly, tactic 6 works well too, but you can’t always control the timing. Reason being is you have to wait for sites within your industry to meet one of the 5 requirements I gave you in tactic 6.

If you are struggling to build links, use all of these tactics. They work well and you’ll notice results within 30 days.

Are you struggling to build links? Have you tried any of the tactics I mentioned above?

The post How to Build Links When No One Will Link to You appeared first on Neil Patel.

Web Design - Appealing to the Hunter

The 7 Biggest SEO Lessons I Learned from a Google Employee

google

In the past, I broke down the most vital SEO strategy I learned, which came from a Google employee. This time, I thought I would do something similar and share the 7 biggest SEO lessons that I learned from a Google employee.

Some of these things you may already know, but most you probably aren’t too familiar with. And of course, I am not telling you anything that would jeopardize my relationship with or the career of the Google employee.

So here goes, these are the 7 biggest SEO lessons I learned from a Google employee.

Lesson #1: Penalizations and bans don’t work the way most people think

Google’s goal isn’t to penalize sites. Their goal is to serve the most relevant listing to each searcher.

For example, if BMW had a handful of bad links pointing to it or they were caught building links, it could be foolish to ban or penalize BMW.

The reason being is that BMW is a popular brand… there are millions of people each year who search for the term “BMW.”

bmw

See, the average person doesn’t know what SEO is. They also don’t care about link building or even Google’s algorithm. They just expect to see BMW.com when they search for “BMW” and if they don’t, they are disappointed in Google.

Plus, BMW is a brand. Google loves brands and trusts them more because you as a consumer trust brands.

As the Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt once said:

Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

Now, hypothetically speaking, if Google decided to remove BMW.com from their index and showed you a random site when you searched for “BMW”, Google knows you will be disappointed based on click-through data. And when users are disappointed with Google, there is a higher chance they won’t come back and use Google again, which means less ad revenue in the long run.

For this reason, Google doesn’t just ban or penalize sites, they keep fine-tuning their algorithm to ignore bad signals such as paid links or negative SEO.

For example, if your competitor all of a sudden sends 1,000 spammy backlinks to your site, there is a high likelihood that Google sees this as negative SEO and ignores it.

I experienced this when I started a nutrition site years ago (I no longer own it). Someone built thousands of adult links to the site and it made up the majority of the backlinks.

The site was generating well over 100,000 visitors a month from Google before the adult links kicked in… and can you guess what happened when they indexed all of those bad links?

Nothing!

Google was smart enough to see that it was unnatural so they just ignored it. My traffic stayed the same.

As long as you aren’t doing anything bad, you shouldn’t worry about penalizations.

Lesson #2: Google prefers automation

Yes, there is a webspam team, but Google prefers automation. They leverage technologies like machine learning to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it in the future.

And, of course, in an automated fashion. They don’t want to hire thousands of people to manually fine-tune their algorithm.

This is one of the big reasons that Digg didn’t get acquired by Google years ago… it was because Digg’s algorithm required a lot of human intervention and their engineers weren’t up to par with Google’s.

You are going to see constant updates on Google’s algorithm on sites like Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable.

But if you focus on what’s best for your users, you should do well in the long run.

As for your traffic swings because of algorithm updates, it’s natural. It happens to all of us.

If their algorithm was perfect you wouldn’t see constant updates. But like every good company, they learn from their successes and failures and adapt. And, of course, they try to do this in an automated way.

Again, as long as you do what’s best for your users, you should see a nice growth in search traffic over time.

Don’t worry if you see a slight drop due to an algorithm update if you are doing what’s best for users. And don’t worry if a spammy competitor outranks you because it won’t last forever. Their ranking algorithm isn’t perfect, but it is really good and keeps getting better over time.

Lesson #3: Don’t waste your money on expired domains (or other shortcuts)

When I was in my early 20s, I thought I was a hotshot marketer. I thought I was smarter than a multi-hundred-billion-dollar search engine and that I figured out a shortcut to climb to the top.

One of those tricks was to purchase expired domains and optimize them. I purchased domains that had EDU and GOV backlinks and skyrocketed to the top of Google for terms like “online casino.”

Can you guess what eventually happened?

My rankings tanked!

Just like any shortcut that can drastically boost your rankings, it will get closed. The question becomes when.

I know for a fact that expired domains don’t work that well. Not just due to my experience but because Google knows marketers buy them and either 301 redirect them to their site or create a network of blogs to leverage for backlinks.

Google is also a registrar like GoDaddy, don’t you think they have all of the information you have, plus more, on domains? 😉

Lesson #4: Google ignores most guest post links

Do you get those emails from people offering you paid links on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Buzzfeed, and many other sites that have a high domain authority?

Well, we all do.

buy links

And they just don’t stop…

link buys

Nowadays, most of the big sites like Entrepreneur nofollow their links. But even if they didn’t, it isn’t hard to figure out which URLs and profiles on these sites are guest posts.

Just search for “guest writer” on Entrepreneur and you’ll find tons of articles like this.

entrepreneur

By no means am I saying that the author above is selling links, I am saying that it isn’t hard for Google to spot these type of posts and devalue the links even if the publication decides to use do-follow links.

Heck, Google even commented on how links from Forbes were useless.

tweet

tweet

As Google commented…

Google devalues or ignores bad links, which reflects the changes we saw in Penguin, where Google devalues those links rather than penalizing for them.

If you want to build links through guest posts… especially obvious ones that clearly state the article was a guest post, don’t expect those links to have much of an impact on your search rankings.

Lesson #5: Google isn’t trying to take clicks away from your website, they are trying to build a better product

Over the last few years, I continually saw SEOs complaining about how Google is just trying to keep people on Google and not drive any traffic to their websites anymore.

Some of these marketers even claim it is unfair because they are just scraping content from your site and using it for their own benefit.

Let’s be honest here… none of you are going to block Google from crawling your site. You should be happy that you are getting traffic for free!

Who cares if Google scrapes your content… some free traffic is better than none.

It’s a big misconception that Google just wants to keep people on their own site. The real truth to this is that Google wants to do what is best for searchers, not marketers.

For example, one could say that they only care about ad revenue and they should blanket the page with ads… funny enough, though, over time they have reduced the number of ads per page by removing all sidebar ads.

sidebar ads

Yes, they are placing a few more ads at the top to make up for it, but overall it is still fewer ads per page.

I know many of you don’t like this, but they are a publicly traded company… they have to make money. And, ideally, more money each quarter.

Whether it is the knowledge graph or a mobile-first index, their goal is to do what is best for searchers. They know that if they do that their traffic will go up over time and a small portion of you will click on ads.

It really is that simple.

They don’t make these decisions based on what they want to do… they are logical engineers that use data.

For example, if 99% of their traffic said they hate knowledge graphs, there would be no knowledge graphs. Or if 99% of their users wanted more links per page going to external sites, then that is what they would add.

They do whatever you want, assuming you have the same opinion as of the masses.

The lesson to be learned here, don’t worry about Google taking your content or not driving as many clicks to organic results versus paid. You will constantly see changes coming, especially with the popularity of voice search. Know that these changes are based on data that the masses want.

Lesson #6: The biggest search opportunity currently lies in YouTube

Google loves text-based content. That’s part of the reason why so many companies have a blog.

But it isn’t as easy to rank on Google as it used to be… unless you expand internationally. But even that is getting more competitive as we speak.

The biggest opportunity in search is YouTube. According to Alexa, it is the second most popular site on the web and people tend to find their content on YouTube using the search feature.

If you aren’t convinced that you should start going after YouTube SEO, here are some interesting stats for you:

  • YouTube has 1.9 billion monthly active users
  • Only 50 million users are creating and sharing video content
  • Average viewing session is 40 minutes
  • Roughly 5 billion videos are watched per day
  • Mobile devices account for 500 million daily video views

If that doesn’t convince you to go after YouTube, just look at my stats. I should have done it much sooner as the employee at Google pushed me to create videos years ago but I was a bit slow to move on their advice.

And now I am generating 724,464 views a month:

view count

Of which 185,290 comes from YouTube search:

stats breakdown

How many of you can say your website is generating over 100,000 visitors a month from Google?

That’s the power of YouTube… it has volume and it is easier to rank than on Google. Just look at me, I generated over 100,000 views a month in less than a year from YouTube SEO.

Lesson #7: You are not going to like the future

I saved the biggest lesson for last because it affects most marketers who are used to Google in its current form and how it has been for years.

From all of my conversations with people who work at Google, they all know the world is changing and they want to make sure Google adapts with it and, more importantly, stays ahead.

For example, they know a lot of searches are going through voice devices like Alexa and Google Home. If you just look at mobile devices, voice already accounts for 20% of the searches.

And it is happening at a rapid pace based on the graph below:

voice search

And it isn’t stopping there. Both the Internet world and the real world are starting to be connected.

From self-driving cars, which Google has spent billions of dollars on, to simpler things you use every day that Google is starting to connect with (like your stove and fridge).

They want to control it all. And not in a creepy way, more so in a way that makes your life easier.

For example, if you are cooking and are unsure about a recipe, they want to be there to make sure that you are doing everything correctly.

As for what it will look like in the future, no one knows yet, not even Google. But they are paying smart product people and engineers to solve these problems. For example, they know that kids aren’t using Google search the same way adults are.

A good example of this is when my 8-year-old nephew isn’t sure about something, he asks Alexa. I, on the other hand, will perform a search on my laptop.

All we can do here is make sure that we adapt with technology to ensure that we keep getting traffic from Google. This doesn’t mean to just adapt your SEO strategy but more so to adapt your business and ensure that you are staying on top of things and providing users with what they want.

Conclusion

As SEOs, we continually try and play a game of cat and mouse. But why?

Instead of wasting our time on short-term thinking, why not start putting yourself in your customers’ shoes?

That’s what Google is doing. And the changes they are making to their search engine, their future product roadmap, and even to their algorithm are based on what people want.

If you want to continually do well, yes you still need to do traditional SEO. But you need to start thinking about your end user and do what’s best for them.

So, what’s your SEO game plan now?

The post The 7 Biggest SEO Lessons I Learned from a Google Employee appeared first on Neil Patel.

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How to Dominate Google in 2019

google

You’ve already experienced it… SEO is becoming harder and harder.

As time goes on, it takes longer to rank and you have to spend more money to get the results you want.

But the reality is, you can’t wait forever to get results. And you have no choice but to leverage SEO as a tactic because everyone else is doing it.

So, what should you do?

Well, the first thing you need to do is adjust how you think about SEO. SEO isn’t only about rankings. To be honest, I don’t even track them for my own site. It’s about getting the right kind of traffic.

You know, the visitors who are ready to buy.

So, instead of teaching you how to rank for competitive head terms, which is going to be even more difficult in 2019, I’m going to break down a formula that will give you much faster results and sales in this ultra-competitive environment.

And best of all, I am going to break it down into 4 steps as I know you don’t have the time to do everything.

Here’s the 4-step SEO strategy you should follow in 2019:

Step #1: Attract customers before they are ready to buy

The most expensive keywords to go after are buyer intent keywords. You know, the ones where someone types in a keyword and is ready to spend money right then and there.

And that will always be the case. Not just from an SEO standpoint, but even a pay per click standpoint.

So, what should you do… not go after these lucrative keywords?

Of course not. More so, you have to go after them no matter how long it takes to rank. You just have to be patient.

But in the short run, there are other keywords that have similar search patterns and they aren’t as lucrative and they are more so informational related. In which people are doing some research before they buy.

So how do you find the keywords that aren’t as competitive that have a similar search pattern?

You use Google Correlate.

Here’s how it works…

Let’s say you are selling beard oil but you know the term is competitive and will take you a lot longer to rank for than you have.

What should you do?

With Google Correlate, it will show you all of the terms people search for on Google that has a similar search pattern to the term “beard oil.”

In other words, think of it as Google Trends in reverse. With Google Trends, you type in a query and it shows you how well the term performed over time. With Google Correlate, you get a list of queries that have a similar trend pattern to the main keyword you want to rank for.

In other words, if you know the term “beard oil” will cause a sale, Google Correlate will show you other terms that match the same pattern (some keywords will be relevant while others will not).

Type in “beard oil” or the term you want to rank for in Google Correlate. Then, shift series to -1 week or -2 weeks (which means it is negatively correlated), which means you will be given a list of terms.

Here’s what I got…

google correlate

As you can see from the image above, people type in terms like beard products, best beard oil, beard balm, what is beard oil, and how to make beard oil.

If you write blog content that is super in depth about those phrases, you’ll appeal to a similar audience. Some of those keywords may not cause a sale right away, but what we’ve found over and over again is that if you write content related to your main subject, a lot of your blog readers will come back within a few weeks and purchase.

That’s how most people generate their sales from content marketing.

And you don’t even have to write blog content, you can just create new landing pages targeting those new keywords.

And similar to how you put in -2 weeks as the shift series, you can turn it into a positive number and see what people search that is positively correlated:

positive

You’ll notice that searches for oils related to coughs have a similar search pattern to beard oil.

Most people who sell beard oil probably don’t think about offering oils for coughs, but if the oils are similar you can expand your offering fairly quickly without spending much money and generate extra income by creating a new line of products.

Step #2: Land and expand

Everyone focuses on ranking for new terms. But there is an issue, it’s hard to rank for new terms.

Even though SEO has a huge ROI, it’s a strategy that requires patience.

But here is the thing, you can get results faster if you use the land and expand strategy.

Here’s how it works. Log into Google Search Console. Next, click on “performance” and you will see a list of terms that you currently rank for:

search console keywords

Then I want you to click on one of the most popular terms you already rank for and then click on pages. You should see a report that shows you the URL that ranks for the term on Google. You need this URL because you will be modifying this page.

search console pages

Now I want you to take that term and put it into Ubersuggest. Once the report loads, click on “Keyword Ideas” in the navigation. You’ll see a report that will look something like this:

ubersuggest keywords

You’ll see a laundry list of long tail phrases… I want you to take the ones that are buyer intent related and add them to the page that already ranks for the head term.

When adding the long tail phrases, make sure you adjust your content to be relevant to those keywords. And pick the ones that are highly related to your product or service. Just stuffing them into your page without adjusting the content is spammy and won’t provide a good user experience to searchers.

What you will find is that because you are already ranking for the head term, typically you will shoot to page one within 30 to 60 days for the long-tail variation by adjusting your content. It’s a quick win!

But the key to this strategy is to pick the right longtail keywords. Don’t just look at traffic numbers, focus on terms that you know will cause a sale or a lead.

Step #3: Build a brand

Google has been placing more emphasis on brands. In other words, if you have a strong brand, you’ll rank faster.

When I really started focusing on brand building, my traffic went from 240,839 in June 2016:

june traffic

To 454,382 in August 2016:

aug traffic

As the Ex-CEO of Google said:

Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

In other words, if you want to succeed on Google in the long run, you have to build a brand. As your brand grows, your search traffic will as well.

The way to monitor your brand growth is Google Trends. Type in your brand name into Google Trends as well as a few of your competitors to see how you are stacking up.

google trends

Sadly, there isn’t a quick hack to skyrocket your brand. There is, however, a formula that works for both personal and corporate brands.

So, what is the formula?

You do something that is bold!

Sure people can tell you to blog, speak at conferences, run ads… but none of that helps you build a brand that has a loyal following because everyone else is already doing the same things (or trying at least).

But what your competition isn’t doing is being bold. If you want a brand like Tony Robbins or Apple, bold is the way to go.

So how do you do something that is bold?

Well, lets first start with a personal brand (although I recommend that you build a corporate one instead).

Do the opposite

When it comes to building a personal brand, you’ll have to take the opposite approach of most people in your space. Whatever is working for them won’t work for you.

No one cares for the copycat, especially when they are satisfied with the original solution.

In other words, if you do exactly what your competitor is doing no one will care to follow you.

Let me give you examples of how to do the opposite of your competition:

  • Genuinely help people – a lot of people blog and participate on the social web, but how many people take the time to respond to their community? As far as I can tell, less than 1%. Just look at me. For years, I’ve responded to comments on my blog, Facebook, and even YouTube. I am so engaged with my community on LinkedIn that they honored me as one of their Top Voices of 2018! Most people are too lazy to do this… doing the opposite has helped me build a connection with you. And if you are wondering why I do this it’s because when I started out I had no money and people helped me. I’m just trying to do the same.
  • Writing 10x content – when I got into blogging, everyone was doing it. So I had to find a way to separate myself. I did this by writing in-depth guides… not those 5,000-word blog posts, I am talking about 30,000-word guides. On top of that, I spent money on the design so they would look beautiful.
  • Creating video content – when I got into the digital marketing community, there were already large conferences that had thousands of attendees. I thought speaking at all of them would help my brand… and they did to some extent, but I was just another speaker. But very few people in my space were creating video content… so now instead of giving speeches at conferences, I give them on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I’m able to reach more people without having to travel and the content lives on forever (and is available for free to everyone!).

That’s how I stood out from my competition and built a personal brand. And then I did it for years as brands aren’t built overnight.

If you aren’t sure on how to do the opposite of your competition when it comes to your personal brand leave a comment and I’ll try and give you some ideas.

Now let’s go into building a brand for your company… It all comes down to one thing…

Be bold

No matter what you are selling online you have competition. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C business… you have competition, which means it is going to be hard for your brand to stand out.

So, how do you differentiate yourself?

You do so by being bold.

Let me give you an example. In the United States, there are tons of options when it comes to cell phone carriers. So how do you stand out when everyone offers the same phone and competitive pricing?

Well, T-Mobile separated themselves by offering free Netflix, unlimited data, and free roaming.

tmobile

And you don’t have to be a big company to do something bold. When Zappos started selling shoes they decided to do a few things different. First, they offered a refund policy that lasted 1 year. Just think about that… if you return a shoe to them 12 months later, the chances are it’s out of style and they won’t be able to resell it.

zappos

Then they decided to randomly upgrade their shipping. So instead of ground shipping, they would randomly upgrade you to 2-day or next-day air.

And Amazon crushed their competition the moment they rolled out their Prime program. When it first came out, you would get free 2-day shipping on all Prime products for just $99 a year. What a ridiculously amazing offer.

Now that’s being bold!

Being bold doesn’t have to break your bank account. You don’t have to do something like Amazon and T-Mobile… it can be as simple as providing amazing customer service when you are in an industry that’s known for terrible support.

If you are unsure of how you can be bold with your business, leave a comment and I will try and give you some ideas. Make sure you provide an overview of your business so I can give you halfway decent ideas. 😉

And of course, being bold won’t build your brand overnight (it takes years) but you should see growth each quarter. If you aren’t, that means you aren’t being bold enough.

Step #4: Build a better mousetrap

A mousetrap? Why would you want to build a mousetrap?

Link building is still important. Sure, Google is looking at many other factors now, but link building still helps with rankings.

But it is harder to build links than it used to be back in the day. Everyone is blogging… heck, there are over 440 million blogs and over a billion if you count Tumblr, Medium, and WordPress.com.

Yes, that means there are more sites to hit up and ask for a link but everyone is doing that.

So how do you build links when everyone is getting those spammy emails asking for a link, such as the one below?

spammy links

You have to build a better mousetrap. Something so amazing that everyone wants to link to it without you asking for a link.

It used to be detailed guides but seeing 10,000-word guides that have fancy designs are more common these days than when I started creating them.

They still work, especially when it comes to brand building, but they just aren’t as effective when it comes to link building.

Same with infographics, they used to get tons of social shares and links (they still do to some extent), but they aren’t as effective as they used to be.

So what kind of mousetrap do you need to build? You could start off with something that people are used to paying for.

For example, the consulting firm Price Intelligently released a free analytics software called ProfitWell.

With very little marketing, they were able to generate 943 backlinks from 187 domains.

profitwell

I also did this with Ubersuggest.

ubersuggest tool

I put in more effort into marketing, so I was able to generate 10,667 unique backlinks.

ubersuggest links

A great example in the consumer space (this would do wonders for e-commerce sites as well) is animated infographics. Everyone has seen infographics, so Aminagraffs decided to make their infographics animated, which caused them to go viral.

Here’s part of their infographic that breaks down how a car motor works.

car motor

Best of all, the Amimagraphs founder didn’t do any marketing… the graphic just spread. Even with no marketing, it generated 751 backlinks from 136 domains and over 200,000 visitors.

car backlinks

If you want to use old-school link building tactics, you can, they just won’t help you as much in 2019. So, get creative and build a better mousetrap.

When you build a good mousetrap, you may be worried about cost. But there is a different way to think about it…

How much would you be spending on marketing to get the same results?

People make fun of me for what I am doing with Ubersuggest and think it is silly that I can “lose” $150,000 or so a month. But if I had to buy the traffic that I get because of Ubersuggest it would cost me much more than $150,000. Even though my mousetrap is expensive, it is still cheaper than paid ads.

And you don’t have to go as far as me. Doing what Animagraffs is affordable. I paid them $750 to create an animated infographic for me. I’m not sure what they charge these days, but I bet you can find someone on the web who will do it for a few hundred bucks.

Conclusion

Instead of thinking of SEO in the traditional sense, I want you to shift your strategy.

SEO is only going to get harder, Google is going to continually change their algorithm in ways you may not like, but the one thing that is certain is the old way of doing SEO will get you results, just not in the timeframe you want.

So, follow the 4 steps above. They are unconventional, but the industry is so competitive and saturated that you have no choice but to think outside of the box.

So what other unique strategies are you going to leverage in 2019?

The post How to Dominate Google in 2019 appeared first on Neil Patel.

Best 25 SEO-Friendly Themes for Your Business

The Definitive Guide to Voice Search: How to Beat Your Competitors to the Punch

voice search success

Nothing moves quite as fast as the digital marketing world.

Every year, and sometimes every week, there seems to be a new invention or iteration that’s changing the landscape marketers have grown accustomed to.

One year, the rage was blog content. Then, it was video content. And now, it’s live video.

But that’s just one example of the quickly changing environment.

To give you another, a current change that the world of SEO is experiencing comes in the form of voice search.

During the 2016 holiday season, for instance, the Echo was Amazon’s best-selling product.

If you don’t know what the Echo is, it’s basically a listening robot you can ask questions whenever you want.

Amazon Echo Dot Add Alexa to any room

And the Echo is selling extraordinarily well.

But why is that important?

Well, the Echo as a bestseller is just one illustration of how voice search is adapting and what it means for SEO experts and marketers everywhere.

In this guide, I’m going to show you exactly how to prepare for the era of voice search. But first, let me tell you why it’s so important.

Why is voice search important all of the sudden?

Chances are, you haven’t thought much of voice search. I didn’t for a while.

So far, it’s just been a tool that is semi-convenient when you’re in a hurry or need to be hands-free with your Google search.

But voice search hasn’t been the primary form of searching online. After all, if your hands are free, you’re probably just going to type your search into Google the old-fashioned way.

For people who do use voice search, though, there are a few different devices they can use. Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google’s voice search are some of the most popular options.

pasted image 0 47

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Great. Those are the devices, but not many people are actually using voice search. At least, there isn’t enough use to worry about it as a marketer, right?”

And that’s where you’d be wrong.

The reality is that more people are using voice search than you probably originally expected. Specifically, that number sits right around 20% of all mobile searches.

pasted image 0 61

And since 2013, voice search queries have continually been on the rise.

pasted image 0 54

That’s a lot of data pointing to the prominence of voice search.

Most likely, voice search is on the rise because of its convenience. No one likes to type a long search on their phone and misspell it several times because the buttons are too small.

And now that voice search is actually quite good at translating human language into text, the era of voice search has begun.

But what should you, as a marketer and SEO expert, do about it?

Here are the eight things you need to do to prepare.

1. Understand and target micro-moments

The first thing you need to do to optimize your SEO strategy for voice search is target micro-moments.

What are micro-moments?

These are the short windows of opportunity where a searcher is ready to buy, try, or commit.

They aren’t searching because they’re curious or interested. They’re searching because they need your product and they are prepared to spend money to get it.

To be more concise, Google defines micro-moments as the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments.

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In other words, these are the moments packed with lead-generation and conversion potential.

They represent a gold mine of potential for your business.

If you can target people during micro-moments, then your conversion rate will skyrocket.

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These micro-moments are arguably even more important when it comes to voice search.

Think about it.

When was the last time you voice searched for something leisurely, such as, “Top 10 online gifs” or “Funny videos” or something of that nature?

Usually, when people use voice search, they’re doing it because they’re in a hurry. They are searching for things like, “How to cook broccoli in a microwave” or “Why won’t my car turn on?”

That means searchers might actually be more invested in their online activity when they are searching vocally rather than through text.

But how can you target these critical moments that require a decision? Well, it comes down to targeting the right keywords on your website.

Do a little keyword research with a resource like Wordstream’s keyword tool.

Free Keyword Tool WordStream 1

Type in the keywords that you’re interested in targeting. In this case, I’m using “buy shoes” as an example.

Free Keyword Tool WordStream

Then, Wordstream’s tool will show you a list of the top keywords surrounding that search. It’ll list the keywords in the order of highest search volume at the top to lowest search volume at the bottom.

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Why is this so important? Well, it helps you prepare for micro-moments with voice search and text search by determining exactly what people are searching.

Once you know that, targeting your prospect’s high-commitment moments is simply a matter of selecting the keywords.

Choose the ones that represent micro-moments and create content and web pages around those keywords.

In the above example, for instance, the keywords that represent the highest commitment are probably “shoebuy,” “shoes online,” and “discount shoes.”

These are the moments that people opt-in, buy, and, ultimately, help your bottom line.

And often, these moments happen during voice search. To leverage their potential, select the keywords that represent these high-commitment gold mines.

2. Prepare for more long-tail keywords

When people are searching vocally rather than by typing, the long-tail keywords shine.

What is a long-tail keyword?

It’s simply a keyword that is longer, and generally less common, than short keywords.

For instance, “Buy shoes” would be a short keyword, and “Buy blue basketball sneakers” would be a long-tail version.

As you can see, the long-tail keyword is more specific than the generic one.

And since it’s more specific, there is generally less competition surrounding it. In particular, these keywords are the heartbeat of voice search.

Why?

Because when people are talking instead of texting, they tend to use longer keywords.

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This means that, in order to optimize your SEO strategy for voice search, you need to pay special attention to long-tail keywords.

You might, for instance, want to go against the grain and consider keywords that include filler words and prepositions.

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In other words, you should target keywords that mimic the way people speak.

You probably wouldn’t say “Buy shoes” into your phone. But you might say, “Buy blue basketball shoes” or even, “Where can I buy blue basketball shoes?”

Generally, people who are searching with their voice are in a hurry and will be more specific.

And since they are speaking, they’ll be more conversational.

That makes long-tail keywords the pinnacle of SEO for voice searches.

Here’s an article, for instance, that targets the long-tail keyword within its title.

How Marketers Make the Most of Voice Search ExchangeWire com

That’s a perfect example of something you would ask voice search. Almost verbatim.

You can do the same thing with your website content. Think about the topic you’re going to try to rank for, then ask yourself these two questions.

  1. How would someone ask this question if they were speaking instead of typing?
  2. How can I target a keyword that is similar?

The more prepared you are for the rise of long-tail keywords, the more prepared your SEO strategy will be for voice search.

3. Optimize load times

When you think of voice search, you probably don’t immediately think of the importance of a fast website.

Maybe you think of developing your keyword strategy or changing around your PPC. But what is this about load time?

What does that have to do with voice search?

Well, it’s no secret that your website’s load time directly impacts your bounce rate. The longer your website takes to load, the more people will leave before viewing anything.

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But here’s the more important thing to remember for our purposes:

If people leave a slow website when they’re typing in a search, what about when they’re voice searching?

After all, voice searchers are usually in more of a hurry than people typing in their search. That’s why they’re talking into their phones in the first place.

This means that if your website is slow, that load time will be even more detrimental.

But how can you test your website to see if it’s fast enough?

Pingdom is a great tool for doing so.

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Enter your website’s URL and choose the location that you want to test from.

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Click “Start Test.”

Website speed test

Pingdom will provide you with a website speed diagnoses. You want to make sure that your website is at least a “B.”

Ideally, your website load time should be under three seconds. This will ensure that you’re not losing visitors due to a slow website.

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One thing’s for sure: If your website load speed is suffering, so is your SEO strategy. Especially when it comes to voice searches.

Voice searchers are in more of a hurry than text searchers, so make sure that you optimize your website’s load speed if it’s suffering.

4. Study the searcher’s intent

Have you ever typed something into a Google search only to get results that weren’t what you were looking for?

So, you reworded the search a few times trying to find an article or website that actually answered your question, but to no avail.

It seemed that Google misinterpreted each search, and you couldn’t find what you needed.

It’s important, whether voice search or text search, to study what searchers actually want when they type in your target keywords. Then, deliver it to them.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uGnlYUjII8?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Define your target keywords.

Ask yourself what searchers want when they type that keyword into a search engine. And then, create a piece of content that caters to exactly that desire.

Someone, for instance, who types in, “What is digital marketing”…

what is digital marketing Google Search

…is at a very different place in the buying journey than someone who types in, “Hire a digital marketer.”

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The first person simply wants to investigate the basics of digital marketing, whereas the second person wants to hire a digital marketer.

When you create website content, determine which type of content you’re creating.

Are you creating content for people who are ready to convert? Or, are you creating top-of-the-funnel content to generate traffic and leads for your website?

The difference is critical.

In particular, “what” and “who” questions are low-commitment. “How” questions are a little higher, followed by “when” questions. Finally, “where” questions are high-commitment.

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Take the following questions and their level of commitment as an example.

  • What is digital marketing?
  • How does digital marketing work?
  • When should I invest in digital marketing?
  • Where can I hire a digital marketer?

You can see the different levels of commitment with each type of question.

And, when optimizing your website’s content for voice SEO, what you’re serving up needs to match the intent behind the keywords because it’s usually the highest commitment.

5. Understand your customer

Beyond the searcher’s intent and no matter your marketing efforts, understanding your customer is critical.

To market successfully to the people who are going to buy from you, you need to know who they are, how they think, and what they want.

And for voice search, this is critical because people speaking into their phones are in a hurry and will quickly get annoyed with results that aren’t what they were looking for.

If you don’t understand your customer, you can’t market to them successfully, much less create an SEO strategy around voice search.

One of the best ways to define your ideal customer is to create a customer avatar surrounding the person you want to market to.

Fill in these blanks.

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In the end, your customer avatar sheet should look something like this.

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The more specific you are, the better you’ll understand your target market. Treat your customer avatar like they’re an individual, a real person.

Then, create content and web pages that cater directly to their pains, needs, wants, and desires.

There’s no better way to prepare your website for voice searchers than by understanding the people who are behind the microphone.

6. Use content marketing to increase top-of-funnel generation

Many voice searchers are seeking out how to do something. They want to know how to cook a certain vegetable, fix their car, or swaddle their baby.

All of those questions make for great top-of-the-funnel content marketing topics for you to target.

Simply do some keyword research to seek out the top questions your ideal customer might have and then create content targeting those exact keywords.

I know that optimizing for top-of-the-funnel SEO strategies can sometimes feel like a waste of time. But if you don’t get people to enter your funnel, you won’t be able to get them to purchase and become an existing customer.

Content marketing, in particular, is wildly effective for generating traffic to your website.

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That’s probably why 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing as part of their outreach strategy.

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Content marketing does a great job of capturing the “how-to” queries of voice searchers.

These searches aren’t necessarily high-commitment. But if you’re the person to help them with well-placed content when they need it, the chances are good that they’ll return to you when they are ready to buy.

7. Build a mobile-responsive website

You probably know how important it is to have a mobile-responsive website.

The number of devices that people search on today (desktop, mobile, and tablet) requires your website to quickly and easily adapt to the device it’s viewed on.

If it doesn’t, then the experience seems lazy and under-performing to the viewers.

In fact, 57% of customers wouldn’t recommend a brand with a bad mobile experience, 40% have gone to the competition after visiting a bad mobile site, and 23% have cursed at their phones when a site didn’t work.

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And with voice search, this is even more important.

Why?

Because people who search using voice are usually using a mobile device. They aren’t using a computer or tablet.

But how do you check to see if your website is mobile-friendly?

Simply use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

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Type in your URL. In the below example, I’m using the baby fashion online retailer, Swanky Sweetums.

Click, “Run Test.”

And then, this page will come up.

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If the test shows that your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then you might want to consider using a website-creation service that automatically optimizes for mobile. WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace are a few options.

8. Test and iterate as often as possible

Nothing is arguably more important for your website’s voice search optimization than the ability to test and iterate your strategy.

Voice search has been around the digital globe for some time now, but only recently has it become a viable and sought-after option for searching online.

Most voice search tools can understand human speech far more accurately now than they once were able to.

That means that people are more confident about using the voice search feature on their mobile device.

Since voice search is just now finding its footing, testing and iteration are increasingly important.

Your process should look something like this.

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Start with analysis, move to strategy, then jump to optimization. Rinse and repeat whenever you can, and your voice search strategy will be bringing in traffic, leads, and conversions in no time.

Conclusion

Sometimes, the marketing world is difficult to keep up with.

It’s likely that the next speedy but noteworthy invention is voice search.

Now that voice search is finally capable of translating human speech to text with accuracy, it’s becoming a more viable search option for consumers.

That means that you should pay attention to it, too.

In particular, target micro-moments and long-tail keywords to create a realistic user experience.

Then optimize load times on your website, study the searcher’s intent and understand your customer so they don’t become annoyed and bounce somewhere else.

Finally, use content marketing, make sure you have a mobile-responsive website, and test and iterate your strategy as often as possible.

With those strategies, you’ll beat your competitors to the voice-search punch.

How do you optimize your website for voice search?

The post The Definitive Guide to Voice Search: How to Beat Your Competitors to the Punch appeared first on Neil Patel.

Marketer Cheats his Field With Design - Creates 15 Logos in 15 Da...

5 SEO Formulas That'll Kickstart Your Rankings

seo ranking formulas

So, you want to kickstart your rankings?

Well, it’s hard to blame you. Few things in the marketing world are as enticing as the prospect of generating traffic, leads, and sales passively.

Who doesn’t want to sit back, do nothing, and make money?

That’s right: no one.

And the lucrativeness that SEO promises is no secret.

93% of all online experiences start with a search engine, 75% of users never scroll to the second page of results, and 70% to 80% of users completely ignore paid search advertisements.

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This means that if you get your website ranking organically on search engines, you’ll leverage all of that percentage potential.

Unfortunately, you’re not the only one trying to do it. Since SEO offers so much promise, everyone with a website is trying to get their cut of SERP potential.

That means that you’re going to have to compete with a lot of other websites to get to the top.

In fact, 27.88% of marketing dollars go toward SEO. That’s a higher percentage than social media, PPC, and link building combined.

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But don’t get discouraged.

Even though everyone is trying to climb to the top of the rankings, it doesn’t mean that you should give up.

It just means you should spend more time, money, and energy than everyone else.

Then, you’ll win.

To do so, you need to know the SEO formulas that will rocket your website to the top of the search results.

Here are five formulas that will do the trick.

Formula #1: Use competitive analysis

One great way to optimize your SEO efforts is to analyze the successful competition.

What are they doing? How are they doing it?

How much are they spending?

And how can you mimic their efforts?

These are all valid questions to ask when trying to determine what your competitors are doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and how you can copy their successful tactics.

As with most marketing practices, it’s best to have an understanding of what other people are doing to win rather than trying to build a strategy from scratch.

After all, why use a strategy that you’re not sure works when you could use one that is tried and tested by a competitor?

But how do you go about analyzing the competition?

Well, you’re going to need a few tools. The first one is BuzzSumo.

Arc and BuzzSumo Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers 2

BuzzSumo has a free trial you can use every day if you like. It won’t give you as many results as the paid version, but it’s still worth your time.

If you type a competitor’s URL into the domain text box, BuzzSumo will show you which pieces of content on their website are getting shared the most.

And shares are good for SEO since it increases your social signals for that page.

You can then click on the content and read through it to get an understanding of how they generated all of those shares.

Here’s what that process might look like.

Enter the URL. I’m going to use Quick Sprout as an example.

Arc and BuzzSumo Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers

Then, click “Go.”

Arc and BuzzSumo Find the Most Shared Content and Key Influencers 1

Now, you’ll see all of the results from most-shared content at the top to least-shared content at the bottom.

Arc and quicksprout com Most Shared Content

If you have the paid version, you will see more results, and you can view the backlinks leading to each piece of content and the specific shares as well.

Either way, this information is extremely valuable.

Click through a few of their blog posts, read them, and try to get an understanding of what they’re doing right.

Consider the following:

  • Keyword placement
  • Length
  • Number of images

That will help you get an idea of how they’re driving SEO traffic to the post and generating social media shares.

You can also use Moz’s Open Site Explorer to do something similar.

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Type in the URL of the competitor that you want to analyze.

Open Site Explorer Link Research Backlink Checker Moz 3

Click “Search.”

Open Site Explorer Link Research Backlink Checker Moz 4

Then, you’ll receive a massive amount of free information.

On the dashboard, you can see everything from domain authority and page authority to inbound links and root domains.

On the left side, you can navigate through different menu options to explore the website’s top pages, anchor text, and the specific linking domains.

Arc and Open Site Explorer Link Research Backlink Checker Moz 4

This is a great tool for analyzing your competition and getting an idea about why certain pages are ranking well and why others aren’t.

By simply looking at your successful competition, you’ll be better prepared to rank your own website.

Don’t neglect the power of copying other successful strategies.

Formula #2: Get active on social media

What does social media have to do with SEO?

That’s a great question.

After all, SEO happens on the entirety of the web, whereas social media is on a single platform.

But claiming that social media doesn’t influence SEO represents a fundamental misunderstanding of how search engines determine who to rank high and who to rank low.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if69s7576SY?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Think about it this way.

Search engines try to take into account as much information as possible about your website.

They use it to determine the quality of your website and thus where they should place you when someone searches regarding a topic within your niche.

One of the factors that search engines consider is social media. In particular, they consider the following questions:

  • How active are your social media accounts?
  • How up-to-date are your social media accounts?
  • How many shares does your website content get on social media?

On top of all that SEO attention, keep in mind that social media also offers 2.7 billion social media users. That’s a lot of selling potential.

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In other words, social media sharing and marketing are well worth your time.

It’s not just worth it for the sake of reaching a larger audience on the social media platform itself, but also because all that attention will benefit your SEO strategy.

When it comes to which social media platforms to focus your efforts on, it’s ultimately up to you.

But here is the usership on each platform.

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In particular, keep these tips in mind.

  • If you sell a highly visual product, Instagram is a great place to focus your energy.
  • If you want to connect with your audience on a deeper level, then YouTube is perfect.
  • If you want to share your website’s content and get it shared, Facebook is the winner.

In the end, the social media platform you choose will depend on exactly what you want to do. Beyond increasing your SEO.

Simply being active on social media will help accomplish that.

To prove it, here are six different companies that saw a major benefit to their SEO from social shares of their content.

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To help you choose a platform, consider these differences.

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But how do you share content on social media that users are likely to share again and again and again?

Well, here’s one great tactic.

It revolves around tagging other people.

When you share stuff on social media, you want to increase your audience size and encourage people to engage with your content.

To do that, you can tag some of your friends who you think might be interested in the content.

Aaron Orendorff does this regularly on Facebook.

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This doesn’t just show the post to people you tagged. It also ensures that Facebook will show your post to all of the friends of those you’ve tagged.

You can easily increase your audience size by several thousand with a few relevant tags.

However you do it, use social media to build your SEO. The search engines are watching. Start performing.

Formula #3: Optimize on-page elements

One of the best ways to kickstart your website’s SEO is by optimizing the on-page elements.

In fact, if you don’t make sure that you have optimized all of the on-page elements, it’s going to be difficult to get very far with all of your other efforts.

For that reason, this should be one of your top priorities.

But what on-page elements matter most, and how can you optimize them?

Well, the lowest-hanging fruit is correct keyword placement.

To research the keywords that you should target with each page on your website, go to Keyword Tool.

Arc and Keyword Tool 1 FREE Alternative To Google Keyword Planner for SEO

Then, at the top of the tool, you can choose the search engine you want to focus on. Most of you will probably want to look at Google, but not necessarily.

Next, type in your niche product or industry that gives a basic idea of the keywords you want to target. Try “content marketing,” for instance.

Arc and Keyword Tool 1 FREE Alternative To Google Keyword Planner for SEO 2

Click the red search icon on the right.

Arc and Keyword Tool 1 FREE Alternative To Google Keyword Planner for SEO 1

What you’re going to see on the next page is awesome. Keyword Tool will show you a list of the keywords that people have searched for the most that include the words you typed in.

If you purchase the paid version, you’ll even be able to see the exact amount of searches for each keyword and the competition for each.

Search for content marketing found 412 unique keywords

But how do you use this list of valuable information?

Simply choose a few of the keywords that you think you could create a blog post from.

In the example above, you might choose “content marketing strategy,” or “content marketing definition.”

Once you choose a topic, write a blog post with those keywords in the title and within the content itself.

You can also include LSI keywords. To find these, simply type the keyword you’re targeting into Google.

digital marketing Google Search 1

Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see the related searches.

digital marketing Google Search

If you sprinkle these related keywords — also known as LSI keywords — throughout your content as well, it will give your page a better chance of ranking for the right topic.

You’ll also need to make sure that you include your primary keywords in the title tag of your page.

digital marketing Google Search 2

You’ll want to add a meta description as well.

digital marketing Google Search 3

That will help Google quickly and easily recognize what your page is about and place it in the right category.

Another way to quickly optimize your on-page SEO is to increase the word count of your blog posts.

Generally, longer posts perform better.

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Sometimes, writing long content can feel like a drag. But it doesn’t have to be.

Just do plenty of research and put together a thorough outline before you start writing. Then it won’t be difficult to know what you’re going to discuss in the upcoming paragraphs.

Finally, to optimize your on-page SEO, you’ll want to include some internal links in each blog post.

Two or three links on each post that lead to other pages of your website should suffice. Just make sure that they’re in-text citations (rather than image attributions) since those count for more on Google.

All of those elements, from keyword optimization to word count, will prep your site for ranking like you want it to.

Formula #4: Generate backlinks

Backlinks are a great way to generate traffic to your website and increase your rankings at the same time.

Backlinks are simply links that point from someone else’s website to your website.

And they basically tell Google that the referring website trusts you, which, if that website has a high domain authority, is good for your rankings.

But how can you generate these valuable nuggets?

One tactic is to create an infographic and ask other blogs to share that infographic.

Choose a topic within your niche that you think will interest your audience. Ideally, choose something that is either driven by data or best practices.

Then, create your infographic for that piece of content. You can do it on your own by using the free infographic maker, Venngage.

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Once you have a good-looking infographic, send an email to similar blogs that you think might be willing to share it with their audience.

You can use the email below as your template.

Hey, [name]!

My name is [name], and I’m the content marketer over at [website]. I’m a big fan of the content you put out, and I wanted to run something by you.

I just created an infographic for my own blog about [topic], and I thought it might also be relevant to your audience. I’ve attached the infographic for you to check out.

If you like it, I’d love for you to share it with your audience.

Otherwise, no worries 🙂

Let me know what you think of it!

[name]

The people who agree to share it will publish it on their blog and give you a free backlink. Voilá!

Another way that you can quickly and easily generate backlinks is by writing testimonials for other websites. When you do, just be sure to include a nice link back to your website.

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Finally, you can repost your content on Medium and LinkedIn with a link to your website.

Be sure to monitor mentions of your brand with Ahrefs and ask for unlinked mentions to add a link to your site.

You can use this strategy as you guest blog for other websites, too.

All of these strategies are effective in their own right. You just need to decide which ones you have time for and which ones you don’t.

Formula #5: Target Google snippets

Have you ever typed a question into Google and received a result that looks something like this?

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Well, as it turns out, these are called snippets, and there’s a science behind getting them.

The best part about them is that they push you to the number one result (also known as the coveted “position zero”) even if you’re not winning in the rankings otherwise.

It’s an easy way to push your result to the top of the page.

Here’s the best way to target them.

Think of a question in your industry that people are regularly typing into Google. Try something basic like, “What is digital marketing?” or “How to rank on Google?”

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Then, in your content, have that exact phrase as a subtitle and answer the question as obviously as you can in the paragraphs directly after.

You’re trying to make it easy for Google to read your content robotically. That means that you need to organize it logically.

The other thing you can do is create checklist-type content like you see in the image above.

Numbered lists are notoriously good at snagging Google snippets because they are easy for the robots to read and understand.

The more that search engines can understand your content, the better chance that you’ll rank when people search, and the better chance that you’ll get your very own snippet.

Conclusion

You came here because you want to kickstart your rankings.

You’re either sick of having a website that never shows up on Google, or you’re wondering what it would take to start generating passive traffic.

After all, that’s what all website owners want, right?

They want to generate passive traffic to their website with very little effort.

Well, I can’t promise it will be easy, but I do promise you can do it if you put your mind to it.

And the way to do it is with these five formulas: use competitive analysis, get active on social media, leverage on-page elements, generate backlinks, and target Google snippets.

SEO is simply a matter of knowing the right strategies, putting in the work, and being patient.

If you do those things, you’ll climb to the top faster than most other websites.

What formula do you use to optimize your website for search engines?

The post 5 SEO Formulas That’ll Kickstart Your Rankings appeared first on Neil Patel.

Designer Wall

The 80/20 Guide to Keyword Research Without a Opening Single Spreadsheet

pareto keyword research

There is no doubt about the importance of keyword research even in today’s search engine landscape.

Targeting keywords can have a big impact on your search engine optimization and organic traffic.

But it’s also time-consuming, painful, and often futile.

You could find yourself wasting hours upon hours trying to find the right long-tail keywords to target.

Top-performing industry sites dominate most of the popular, high-volume keywords.

That means that you have almost no chance to rank for them.

So, you turn to long-tail keywords. But those often take hours to find.

By then, you could have written two pieces of content, doubling your impact on traffic with more indexed pages.

If you want to maximize your efficiency, you need to 80/20 your keyword research.

There’s no reason to still be using spreadsheets to analyze thousands of keywords anymore.

In fact, there are a few ways to find keywords in minutes, eliminating the need for intense analysis.

Ranking on Google today is all about content.

The more content you can create, the more opportunities you have to rank for organic terms.

So, how do you do keyword research without opening a single spreadsheet?

Here’s the 80/20 guide and how to get started today.

What the 80/20 principle is and why it matters

If you aren’t familiar with the 80/20 principle, let me give you some basic background.

The 80/20 rule, also known as the law of the vital few or the Pareto principle, is as follows:

80% of the impact comes from 20% of the causes.

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That means that a small portion of your efforts will produce a major portion of your results.

Think about it like going to a gym, trying to add muscle to your body:

Major exercises that tax your entire body and require maximum effort are going to take up less time in your training, but they will have the biggest impact on your growth.

So 20% of your workout being major compound exercises is going to drive 80% of your results. All of the rest of the work is just supplementary.

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An Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto developed this principle in 1896. He showed that about 20% of the population in Italy owned 80% of the land.

He also showed that 20% of the peapods in his garden produced 80% of the peas.

Applying this rule to any marketing strategy is critical.

If it’s taking you 100 hours to do keyword research every month, yet it only allows you to produce 5 pieces of content a month, you probably aren’t following the principle.

If you’re spending 10 hours a month on keywords and producing 25 posts a month, driving way more traffic with more indexed content, you likely are following the principle.

The goal here is to focus on the big-impact stuff that produces 80% of your results.

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Oftentimes, using spreadsheets and analyzing data isn’t going to produce your big results.

Producing real content is what will bring the results.

You still need keywords to go along with it, but that shouldn’t come at the sacrifice of content quality and frequency.

Here’s how to insert the 80/20 principle into your keyword research and content strategy.

Scan top industry blogs for category keywords

Look, I get it. Keyword research is probably the bane of your existence when you look at the time it takes vs. the impact that it has in the end.

Most time spent on keyword research is a waste of potential.

One of my favorite ways to get top keywords in just minutes without using a spreadsheet and analyzing data is to simply scan the top industry blogs for category-based keywords.

For example, when you navigate to some blogs, you’ll see categories of content, like on Search Engine Journal:

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Notice that they’ve got a few primary categories:

SEO, News, PPC, Content, Social, and Advertising.

Under these top categories, they get even more specific with content like:

Content marketing guide, local search, and complete SEO guide.

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These are literally keywords that are already crafted and curated for you!

On top of that, most sites will have a popular section that outlines their most popular content for you:

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You don’t have to do any work to know that these topics are valuable keywords with a large enough volume to make them worth your time.

Follow the next step to take this even further.

Check for top content on BuzzSumo

Once you’ve explored a few of the top sites in your industry for blog content, you can then head over to BuzzSumo to explore what content is most popular.

This will give you an idea of what people in your niche care about the most.

You can discover the topics that they are showing the most interest in by checking out the forms of engagement and social shares.

BuzzSumo is great for this because it will pull up the most popular content from a given site for free.

Head to BuzzSumo and search for a blog site in your industry:

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BuzzSumo will scan the site and find the most popular and most-shared content:

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From here, all you have to do is take inspiration and explore the shared content.

Do you see a topic that you know you can write about? Are there any that you feel like you’re an expert on?

If so, take the topic and run with it.

For example, 101 Quick & Actionable SEO Tips That Are Huge probably is using “SEO tips” as their keyword.

Simply restructure the post to fit your own style and goals, and make sure to use that keyword.

You can even see who gave a backlink to that post to get an idea of which influencers or sites to mention:

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Over time, you can improve this post and see big amounts of traffic if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to share it and start backlink campaigns for it.

Explore your own content ideas on Google

Keyword research is great. But what I am about to say might shock you:

It pigeonholes you into a box that becomes dangerous for your business.

Let me explain.

When you do keyword research, you need to create content around that keyword.

But top sites already dominate most of the top keywords.

For example, a simple search for “content marketing” has a super competitive SERP:

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And oftentimes, keywords that you find are on specific, long-tail topics that lock you into a box.

You often have to adjust your content to fit the keyword instead of writing about topics that you’re an expert on.

The best way to combat this is by choosing which topics you are an expert on before doing keyword research, and then using Google to get ideas.

To start, Google search for the topic that you want to write about:

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You should quickly see the box of questions on a given search:

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The “People also ask” box is great for getting even deeper ideas than your general topic.

Every time you click on a question, it generates even more questions related to the one you clicked:

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Instead of sifting around a keyword research tool for hours, you get tons of detailed content ideas and common questions that people ask.

This can instantly provide a structure for your content, giving an idea of which terms you can rank for, like “content creator” and definition-based keywords.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you get even more keyword data:

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These are related (or semantic) keywords, which we will discuss in more detail in the next step.

The idea here is to grab as many ideas as you can from Google when you want to write about a subject rather than gathering keywords that force you to write outside of your comfort zone.

Better content will convert with a weaker keyword more often than worse content for a stronger keyword.

Then use the LSI keyword generator to outline your post

Once you’ve built up some ideas using Google’s keywords, it’s time to get even more data on popular terms.

I’ll give it to you straight:

Researching long-tail keywords isn’t that viable.

Often, the topics are way too specific. You can only write a few hundred or a thousand words on it.

And that sort of content doesn’t fulfill a need or solve a pain point or problem.

It’s not long enough or in-depth enough.

Long-form content ranks best on search engines for one simple reason:

It includes almost everything on the topic, meaning that the searcher doesn’t need to go back to Google to find more data.

This is why LSI keyword generators succeed.

On top of that, LSI keywords are big for helping add context to your content, giving you an even better chance to rank high.

One of my favorite tools is the LSIGraph tool.

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It’s a free tool that allows you to generate semantic keywords for your keywords that are more generally focused.

For example, if you want to write on the broader topic of content marketing, generate a search with that keyword.

This will pull up dozens of semantic keywords related to your original keyword:

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If you take a minute to read these keywords, you can already see an outline for a long-form guide, can’t you?

For example, you could take these keywords and use them to inform an outline:

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Your outline could look something like this:

  • Intro: Content marketing process — what is it, etc.
  • Body 1: Content marketing examples
  • Body 2: Content marketing ideas
  • Body 3: Content marketing tips and tricks
  • Conclusion + lead magnet CTA: Content plan template + strategy PDF.

Within just minutes of searching for a topic that you want to write, you can generate dozens upon dozens of ideas.

You can also get ideas of what people are searching for in their entire journey so that you can write about all of their topic interests.

Keyword research is way too static.

Instead of writing about topics that you know, keyword research forces you to write about topics that are good volume and low difficulty. Often, that type of content does not convert.

Guides are what convert users to leads — not a 1,000-word post without any actionable data.

The LSI keyword tool can generate outlines for your content with a single push of a button.

You can use it for just about any topic:

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Make some of these semantic keywords your subheaders in the article to improve your SEO, too.

Structure them in outline format like I showed you above and you’ll be improving your SEO while delivering the most valuable content you can provide.

Try using the LSI keyword generator today to create great, in-depth content that converts.

Now get ideas from an Analytics on-site search

Now that you’ve created amazing content based on real searches from Google and LSI keywords, you need to keep your existing audience engaged.

If you can keep your existing audience engaged on your content, you have the opportunity to give it the traction it needs to find major success.

Evergreen content happens when you write about content that remains relevant for a long time.

It’s content that your audience is constantly looking for.

One of the easiest ways to create it is by checking the on-site search report in Google Analytics.

To do this, head to Analytics and navigate to the search terms report:

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From here, you can view the search terms report of on-site searches.

This gives you amazing insight into topics that your blog visitors are already searching for.

They are looking to you for content on these topics!

This is actually a first step in becoming a thought leader.

When people are looking on your site for content that you haven’t tapped into, it shows that they think you’re knowledgeable.

They want to read your content and your take on the subject at hand despite thousands of other articles out there.

If you want to cut out tons of time and focus on effective keyword strategies, tap into your on-site search keywords and write content that matches them.

Produce an all-encompassing post with multiple keywords

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uGnlYUjII8?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

Most people think that you can’t rank a single page for multiple searches.

But that’s simply not true.

It’s why LSI, or semantic keywords, exist. They give you context and allow you to show content for multiple related searches.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can rank for “SEO Guide” and “E-commerce Traffic” in the same post. But, you can rank for related terms.

How? You have to create content that is all-encompassing.

Have you heard of the Skyscraper Technique?

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Brian Dean of Backlinko used this technique to grow his search traffic by 110% in just two weeks.

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His backlinks increased dramatically as well:

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The number of different domains giving him links was almost off the charts!

His organic traffic more than doubled in that short period of time, giving him tons of new visitors:

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And now, he’s driven hundreds of thousands of visits to that single post:

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So, what exactly did he do?

The Skyscraper Technique is simple in practice:

You find the best content with the best keywords, and you make that content even better.

This drives more links, increases traffic, and boosts your rankings.

While it sounds easy in theory, it’s no cakewalk.

If the best content is a 30,000-word guide on SEO, you have to outshine that if you want to rank for it.

To do this, try using all of the tactics in this post, especially keeping in mind the impact of the 80/20 rule.

Cutting out the supplementary content and focusing on producing more results with fewer tactics can have a big impact on the way you spend your time, run your business, and ultimately, grow your traffic.

Conclusion

Even in today’s search engine landscape, keywords are still important when trying to drive organic traffic.

Targeting specific keywords can help you get more traffic and find better performance from your campaigns.

But finding good keywords with low competition isn’t easy. Industry experts dominate most of them.

It’s hard to find long-tail keywords, too. The ones that can boost your traffic with low competition aren’t easy to come by.

Those are even more difficult to locate.

With all the time that marketers spend on keyword research, you could have likely written multiple pieces.

Analyzing a spreadsheet of keywords every week and then producing content isn’t optimal.

And if you want to get something done right, you can’t settle for less than optimal.

You need to 80/20 your keyword research, eliminating any wasted time and spending time on what really matters.

You can scan top industry blogs for categories and topic ideas in just minutes.

You can also plug those sites into BuzzSumo to get their top-performing content for your own inspirations.

Then, you can use Google’s search data to get ideas for articles.

Next, use the LSI keyword generator to create outlines for long-form content.

You can even gather on-site search data from Analytics in seconds to find topics that are trending with your audience.

Lastly, produce an all-inclusive guide that can help you target all of your industry keywords using the Skyscraper Technique.

What are your favorite ways to 80/20 your keyword research without opening a single spreadsheet?

The post The 80/20 Guide to Keyword Research Without a Opening Single Spreadsheet appeared first on Neil Patel.