The Blog

A Secret Path to Low Competition Keywords That Matter

Posted Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

secret pathYou want to rank, right?

If you're like most bloggers, small businesses, or SEO agencies, chasing competitive keywords is a waste of time.

You need to find queries you actually stand a chance of turning up in search results for, and that means finding low competition topics to cover.

So here's the problem. Most of the advice out there about how to actually accomplish this is terrible (at least in isolation). Advice like this:

  • Check how many search results Google lists for your exact keyword phrase (and throw in "allintitle," "intitle," "inanchor," or "inurl" if you like)
  • Use a keyword tool that automatically analyzes the SERPs to identify those perfect keywords with just the right combination of traffic and low competition
  • Analyze the competitors on the front page based on the number of backlinks, whether or not they are using keywords in the title and subheadings, their toolbar PageRank, etc.

Now, when I say this advice is "terrible," I'm not saying that you should never do any of this. Instead, what I'm saying is this:

That is not a strategy for finding low competition keywords.

That is a strategy for wasting time by checking keyword after keyword for months until you randomly discover one that works. In the case of the keyword tools designed to help you find low competition keywords, guess what? All the other SEOs are using the same tools, and they're eventually going to find the same low competition keywords, and swamp you with them.

Want to learn what it really takes to find low competition keywords that actually matter?

Read on. (more…)


How Can You Tell How Many Pieces Per Week You Should Produce?

Posted Monday, August 18th, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

calenderToday, we’re going to address what may well be one of the most common questions in blogging. It relates to quantity. In essence, how can you tell if you’re writing too much (or if you aren’t writing enough)?

On the surface, the answer to that question seems fairly cut-and-dry: write as much as you can without causing the quality of your writing to fall off. That could be several pieces a week, or it could be one or two pieces a month. Easy; right?

Not really.

The truth is a little more complicated, and if you ask six different bloggers, you’re liable to receive six different answers. There are some who will swear you should be writing at least two to four articles per week, with half going to your blog and the other half as guest posts. Others will insist that you should throw yourself into your work right at the beginning, working until you’ve got at least a hundred or so articles on your website – at which point it’s time for link building. Still more will maintain that you shouldn’t bother worrying about quantity, and just write.

Who's right? (more…)


Can SEO Without Backlinks Work?

Posted Thursday, August 14th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

links no moreThe relationship between SEOs and links has been an interesting one.

It seems that, almost overnight, the industry has gone from believing that links are "the most important ranking factor" (there is no such thing) to believing that links are a "spammy SEO tactic," and that you should instead be focusing your attention on "social media metrics" (which don't directly impact rankings at all), or whatever the latest fad is.

Can you really make SEO work without building backlinks?

The answer should be enlightening for many in this industry. (more…)


Why the NoIndex Tag is GOOD for SEO (If You're Careful)

Posted Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

wrong wayIf you're having trouble getting into the search results, the very first thing you should do is check your pages for the NoIndex tag.

It looks like this:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

This code tells search engines that they shouldn't show a page in their search results. More often than you might expect, webmasters have the noindex tag on their pages without even realizing it, because it came with one of their themes, or because of some other misunderstanding.

So, if you want a page to show up in search results, make sure you ARE NOT using the NoIndex tag.

However...

The NoIndex tag can be GOOD for SEO.

Yes, you read that right.

While you need to be very careful with how you use it, the NoIndex tag plays an important part in search engine optimization, and you would be wise to understand it, rather than simply assuming that it's always a bad idea to use it. (more…)


Does Google Lie? 3 Examples

Posted Monday, August 11th, 2014 in Marketing Strategy, Search Engine Optimization by .

conspiracy nutAs I've mentioned before, sections of the SEO industry have quite the conspiracy theory streak.

Some of the more skeptically-minded voices in the industry, such as Aaron Wall, have very legitimate criticisms to aim at Google, even if I don't always agree.

Others, in particular the anonymous internet forum trolls, bear more resemblance to the stark raving mad man standing on a street corner with a "The End is Nigh" sign dangling from his neck.

Of the criticisms thrown at Google by the SEO industry, one of the most common seems to be that "they are LIARS intentionally misleading SEOs so that they can put more money in their pockets (and Barry Schwartz, Rand Fishkin, and Danny Sullivan are all PAID SHILLS!!!!!!!111).

I've even seen the odd article or forum post here or there claiming that Google is in bed with Obama.

While I can't help but laugh at most criticisms of this form, a smart SEO does keep Google's motives and incentives in mind as they devise a strategy.

So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the public record, and see if I could find any examples of Google outright lying.

Here's what I found. (more…)


How the Noscript Tag Impacts SEO (Hint: Be Very Careful)

Posted Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

javaIn case you didn't know, Google isn't great at indexing the content in Javascript and Flash files.

While it's true that Google now indexes this content (yes, even Javascript and CSS), you can't count on it to understand it as well as static HTML content.

Some SEOs advise using the noscript tag, an HTML tag that displays alternative content to users who don't have javascript enabled. Is this good advice?

The answer is, as you'll hear from me frequently, yes and no.

Noscript tags can be very helpful for your SEO in many circumstances. Unfortunately, when they are used incorrectly, they can also be downright devastating.

Read on to find out how noscript tags influence SEO, how to implement them properly, and how they can do tremendous damage if used incorrectly. (more…)


July Resource Round-up: The Best of SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing

Posted Monday, August 4th, 2014 in Resource Roundups by .

reading with HCAWhile sites like BuzzSumo have made it incredibly easy to find the most shared content each month, the most viral articles generally come from a few specific industry sites and authors. Each month, we try to dig a little deeper and find not only the most popular content, but also the best articles from a variety of different writers. Here's our favorite  SEO, social media, and content marketing articles from June to enjoy when you have a free moment. If you're looking for the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy!

SEO

Google Rewrites Quality Rating Guide – What SEOs Need to Know

Google has completely rewritten the Quality Ratings Guideline, the resource that their team of quality raters uses to rate websites for Google. This one is a brand new version, rewritten from the ground up, so it isn’t just a refresh of the old one.

The Evolution of SEO

Digital marketing technology is rather like high fashion — trends that were acceptable and even widely emulated suddenly find themselves hopelessly passé without even a hint of warning.

(more…)


Write How You Speak: The Importance Of Having A Voice In your Articles

Posted Monday, August 4th, 2014 in Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy by .

speak up

Technology has brought about a fundamental change in how we communicate.

That’s no surprise, of course. Thanks to the Internet, our world is more connected than it’s ever been; direct communication with just about anyone in the world is often a few keystrokes away. The advent of Smartphone technology and social media further means that we’re potentially in constant contact with every one of our friends and acquaintances.

It’s not just our personal relationships that we’ve constant access to, either. Modern web users are constantly being bombarded with information from all sides. Over here, there’s someone who wants to sell them a product. Over there waits a con artist who’s trying to phish out their personal information. Here, there’s a hundred different weblogs delivering the same basic message. There, we’ve got thousands of different personalities vying for their attention.

All this together has led to something known as information overload. Web users today are under constant assault by wave after wave of content. The end result of this is that they’ve grown quite skilled at filtering out anything which doesn’t immediately interest them as noise. Anything – and anyone – that bores them is passed over. (more…)


Matt Cutts isn't the Authority on Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Posted Thursday, July 31st, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

duplicate original

In case you're new here, it's not everyday that you'll hear me disputing something Matt Cutts said.

In fact, I tend to quote him, and other official Google sources, more frequently than most SEOs, primarily because I feel many SEOs are out of touch with what Google's guidelines actually say, and out of touch with what we actually know about Google's algorithm.

But when I took a look at what the search results had to say about duplicate meta descriptions, pretty much every search result quoted Matt Cutts and then called it good.

So here's the thing.

When Matt Cutts says something about the Google algorithm, or something about Google's guidelines, you should take it seriously.

If, on the other hand, Matt Cutts gives you business advice, such as when he says things like "just create good content" (paraphrasing), you need to keep in mind that Matt Cutts is not a business guru.

So yes, Matt Cutts is the authority on what Google considers spam.

He is not the authority on meta descriptions, duplicate or otherwise.

Here's why that matters. (more…)


The Pigeon Update Means FORGET Google Plus for SEO

Posted Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing by .

On the night of July 24, 2014, the "Pigeon" update hit Google's search results.

This update doesn't target spammy sites like Penguin, or content mills like Panda.

No, Pigeon does something very different.

It dramatically alters the landscape of the local search query, virtually spelling the end for Google's local listing pack:

local pack death

The number of search queries containing a local search pack has dropped from 12 to 3 percent, a seventy-five percent drop.

Needless to say, this has caused a lot of movement in the search results for local businesses, with inevitable winners and losers as a result.

What many seemed to have missed about the update, however, is how this relates to Google+ (and social media in general) as SEO tactics. If you were counting on Google+ becoming some messianic tool that would allow Google to finally understand your true influence and authority, the news doesn't look good.

In fact, Pigeon is probably just the beginning. (more…)


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