Daily Archives: October 10, 2021

How to show the business value of your SEO proposal – Search Engine Watch

By | October 10, 2021


30-second summary:

  • Your SEO proposal plays an instrumental role not just for your agency but also for your client’s business
  • Forecasting needs to be a star element of your customer acquisition process – but how do you navigate these tricky waters?
  • SEOmonitor dissects the entire thought process and action plan for you
  • Here’s how to ensure realistic, practical, achievable, and mutually agreed milestones and budgets are set with your clients

Clients often ask for a forecast to estimate their ROI with this type of marketing investment. Agencies are caught between building a realistic business case and explaining that they’re all scenarios, not promises. Think about it like this – you both need to know where you’re going, or you won’t have a clue when you’re there. But it’s all about how you set expectations from the start. This is where your SEO proposal plays an instrumental role in customer acquisition and experience.

Let’s imagine the following scenario: a Client Service Director argues about the benefits of presenting a business case to a new lead to make the sell.

Yet, the agency’s CEO wants to make sure the initial internal evaluation is on point. After all, it makes sense to calibrate your model first and then show the opportunity.

With the right forecasting methodology in place, you can do both and prove your SEO services’ business value.

The big question is how to go about it.

Content created in partnership with SEOmonitor.

What does SEO success mean for your client’s business?

To invest in SEO, a client needs to understand how that strategy translates into sessions, conversions, and ultimately revenue. So, as an agency, you need to connect the business metrics with the non-brand organic traffic and keyword ranks – the data that you directly impact.

Keywords are influenced by many variables that you need to consider when designing a trustworthy methodology to create realistic SEO scenarios.

And even before that, the way you do your keyword research influences those scenarios:

  • What is the client’s industry trend like?
  • What is their business trend? Are they in a growth phase, or are they plateauing?
  • What is their market share in terms of organic real-estate (their visibility compared to their competitors)?

Understanding the opportunity for growth

The competitors’ keywords gap analysis

It’s common sense, but it can sometimes escape the client’s focus – showing them who their real online competitors are in terms of queries and search intent.

A perfume shop, for example, will be in tight competition with big retailers such as Amazon more than competing perfume shops, deciding to offer online services.

Exploring the client’s domain in connection with the competitor landscape will give you an overview of the overlapping and non-overlapping keywords, together with their key attributes (search volumes, seasonality, etc.). This is one significant way to understand which keywords are worth introducing into your SEO proposal and ulterior strategy so as not to get sidetracked by misleading keywords.

SEO proposal - domain explorer

Continuing our perfume shop example, although the client might want to focus on a specific set of keywords, you’ll be able to make a compelling, data-based argument on why it’s important to improve non-overlapping keywords.

Let’s say you found out that a competitor to our perfume shop had dedicated pages for aroma-based perfumes, with listings that target “vetiver” or “white musk”. Replicating this won’t involve changing the client’s product line and will add new valuable keywords to the mix.

The client’s market share

Another way to evaluate the client’s business status quo is by using the Visibility metric as a market share indicator. Calculated as an impression share and weighted against search volumes, it shows you the growth potential compared to the client’s competitors and the total shares.

As it’s expressed as a percentage, you’ll know where to focus your attention.

For instance, if it’s a competitive market, and the main competitor has a Visibility of 70 percent, then improving the rankings for high-volume keywords in the top-three group will be a game-changer. You’ll also know which keywords to select for a winning SEO strategy.

SEO proposal - Strategy

Transparent calculations for a realistic timeframe

After thoroughly researching and selecting the targeted keywords at hand, modeling how the non-brand organic traffic might look if a particular performance is achieved in a timeframe of six or 12 months will help your agency set the right expectations.

To do so, you need to look at all the variables impacting your keyword list:

  • Search seasonality and the keywords’ year-over-year trend
  • How the inertial traffic influenced by seasonality only looks (as if the website’s rankings would stand still)
  • The performance in time toward the SEO goal, calculated as linear or exponential
  • The average CTR curve calculated for the top 10 positions for each mix of SERP features and device segmentation, showing you the actual clicks that manage to reach your client
  • The long-tail keywords and their impact on forecasted traffic

With this model in mind, you get to estimate sessions and conversions instead of ranks. For instance, in SEOmonitor’s forecasting module, the estimation of the additional conversions is based on the estimated additional visits multiplied by the corresponding conversion rate of each keyword included in the calculation. You can verify each input and output at an individual keyword level and see what makes a realistic or too far-fetched scenario.

Thus, you transform the loaded notion of forecasting into a more tangible idea – various additional traffic scenarios which translate into possible business results, moving the conversation towards marketing added value.

To make a case for a certain scenario, you can highlight what their traffic would look like with and without the proposed SEO campaign, being transparent about what went into your calculations and what assumptions you’ve made.

Letting the client understand the overall opportunity and what’s in it for their business will help you set a common ground for success.

Is it the right budget for the client’s business now?

When your agency builds a business case, another important thing is to evaluate the direct connection between SEO performance and results, correlated to an objective benchmark that both, you and the client can easily gauge.

Compare the SEO budget and forecasted results to its equivalent in Google Ads, and you’ll have an external comparison showing the worth that SEO brings. For instance, if the estimated Google Ads Value for your realistic scenario is $55,000 for 12 months, then a $500 to $700 retainer seems more plausible than a $1,500 one.

In contrast, if the estimated Google Ads Value reaches $250,000+ for the same 12 months timeframe, it’s clear that we’re talking about international SEO on a highly competitive market and a $5,000 to $7,000 retainer at least.

Determining the pricing for your client SEO proposal

Instead of guesstimations and the painful back and forth of establishing a budget benchmark, you’ll now have an overview of where the business is and how you can contribute in terms of revenue. So these calculations can help you set the right price for that client profile.

Even if you choose not to put that forecasting scenario in your proposal and instead negotiate KPIs after the SEO technical improvements are in place (the third or fourth month of collaboration), you’ll have an important internal calibration tool at your disposal.

The forecasting exercise helps assess if the new client’s objective is worth it and keeps your agency accountable for the SEO strategy you propose.

Is the campaign going in the right direction?

An initial business case with variable scenarios helps the agency define success for the new client. Then, it’s just as important to track the SEO campaign’s progress once it’s in place. After all, forecasting is just a way to estimate a possible future and set “a north star” for both of you. The rest depends on how the strategy evolves against the shifting context.

Here’s where re-forecasting plays a significant part.

Perhaps the agency decides to share KPIs for the first time in the third or fourth month of collaboration after implementing the audit requirements. Or it’s time for the quarterly review, and the initial SEO strategy and subsequent forecasting are scrutinized. Either way, it’s crucial to revise and adapt.

Maybe there are new keyword lists to add and model into a traffic scenario or a digital PR opportunity to add to the overall plan. Maybe the client has additional products or services that they want to optimize that weren’t included in the starting plan.

For instance, coming back to our perfume shop and its pandemic challenges, it’s important to touch base regularly to see what new opportunities are in store. They might be looking to branch out in the home fragrance industry but don’t know how much demand is in their target market. As their SEO agency, you can re-pitch an SEO campaign based on search data for “home perfumes” and design a creative digital PR campaign with that hook.

This step of the client relationship-building process is an added advantage in proving how you’ve created business value and what more you can do.

Summary

Effectively communicating your proposed SEO campaign’s value is crucial for potential clients to decide if – 

  • the price is right,
  • the timeframe is right,
  • the ROI is worth it.

It’s also a way to keep your agency honest and accountable.

A trustworthy forecasting methodology helps with all of the above, as you get to:

  • Establish a common definition of what success looks like – rankings achieved for relevant keywords, Visibility achieved against competitors, and other established factors which directly translates to additional traffic, conversions, revenue
  • Establish a realistic budget based on the client profile and its Google Ads equivalent value
  • Keep track of the SEO objective and re-forecast when it’s the case to adjust the strategy

SEOmonitor’s forecasting module supports SEO agencies to do all that with reliable data and all the necessary variables, taking into account seasonality, YoY trends, and more.

Plus, with the Google Slides integration, you get a Proposal Builder that automatically pulls the forecast data and transforms your business scenario into a pitch-ready presentation.

SEOmonitor's SEO proposal builder model

The forecasting module is just one of the solutions SEOmonitor develops for agencies to acquire, manage, and retain more relevant customers.

Join us in our quest to bring more transparency to the SEO industry!

SEOmonitor SEO proposal builder



Source link : Searchenginewatch.com

What’s the cost of SEO? – Free Tool: How Much To Rank – SEO News

By | October 10, 2021


What’s the cost of SEO? Or, to be more specific: How much does it cost to get a top ranking for a given keyword? Chances are that you faced this question before.

If you ask an SEO expert, they will most likely respond with “it depends…”. Although this answer is always correct ? … it’s not really helpful for beginners who are just getting started with SEO. However, especially for them, a rough orientation would be particularly valuable: What is the cost that I can expect, and what are the chances of getting a top ranking?

That’s why we wanted to answer this question. The result is a free tool that we developed for you: How Much To Rank.

How Much To Rank allows you to calculate the estimated cost of a top 10 ranking for any search term. You can use it to get a quick estimate of how much you will have to invest to get on Google’s page 1, and what you actually have to do to get there. (Please note that the tool assumes that a new page is created. We do not check your already existing website.)

Try out How Much To Rank

You want more details? Keep reading! In this post, we’ll explain how exactly the tool works and what data we use for the calculations.

How does How Much To Rank work?

How Much To Rank is very simple to use: Just enter the search term you want to rank for and choose a country version of Google (e.g. Google.com or Google.co.uk). If you run a local company and aim for a top ranking in a specific city, you can choose this city to get localized results.

HMTR entry

How Much To Rank then shows you the estimated cost of a top 10 ranking by displaying a simple dollar amount. In addition to that, it determines the success probability of getting into the top 10 for that keyword.

budget for dentist *** springs

You’re wondering how we come up with these values?

How Much To Rank analyzes the top 10 websites ranking for the keyword you entered and includes various SEO metrics into the calculation, such as:

  • search volume of the term
  • intensity of competition
  • average number of referring domains of the top 10
  • content of the top 10
  • Google Ads CPC

All of these metrics are used to determine the estimated cost. The success probability is calculated independently of that value and is based on search volume, CPC, and competition.

But How Much To Rank not only provides you with an estimate of the effort you will have to invest. It also generates a list of specific recommendations, so you know what to focus on during the optimization process.

recommendations dentist

These recommendations also indicate how the cost displayed above is put together. As you can see, they include the most important SEO tasks such as on-page optimization, content creation, link building, and local SEO.

Examples

Now you know how the tool works. Next, we’re going to show you a few examples of the results and how the calculated values can be explained in each case.

In the example above, How Much To Rank displays an amount of $790. This value is quite low which can be explained by the fact that the recommendations won’t cause too much effort:

low effort recommendations

The analysis of Google’s top 10 has shown that content with at least 500 words will probably be sufficient to beat the competition. Also, the top 10 pages only have a few backlinks, so we assume that building two backlinks will be enough. Another part of the cost are reviews in order to get an average rating of at least 4.5 stars.

It’s also important to note that this is a local search query which is why the competition is low. This causes the success probability to be relatively high (70%) and the costs to be low.

low competition

Note: The metric “competition” actually refers to paid results via Google Ads but it’s also helpful to assess a keyword’s attractiveness and competitiveness in general and for organic search in particular.

Let’s have a look at another example.

The keyword “green eating” (search engine: Google.com, no localization) gets us the following result:

green eating results

In this case, the cost is a little higher as we’re not dealing with a local search. Therefore, there’s not an easy way to get on Google’s page 1 through local results.

Nevertheless, this is still a relatively low value. The recommendations below show us why:

recommendations for green eating

Although the recommended content length is higher than in the example before, the effort is still rather low as you only need 3 backlinks according to our analysis. Also, there are no costs for local SEO.

Finally, here is an example where the costs are significantly higher:

phone review results

When entering the keyword “phone review” (without localization) the estimated budget is $27,000 and there’s a success probability of only 40%. This can be explained by the fact that the competition for this keyword is extremely high. Also, the top 10 on Google have an average of 106 referring domains, so a lot of link building work will be necessary which increases the cost.

phone review details

Now you should have a clearer understanding of how the tool works. But how realistic are these values actually?

How realistic are the results of How Much To Rank?

When we launched How Much To Rank on Product Hunt in March, we got a lot of positive but also critical feedback. We appreciate all the constructive feedback we received and we are already working on making How Much To Rank even better for you. So if you still have any suggestions, please let us know about them!

We know that there are still some outliers in the data and that there’s room for improvement. That’s why we would be extremely happy if you give the tool a try and let us know about your feedback in the comments! ?

However, please note that How Much To Rank is not able to deliver exact values that you can rely on with 100% certainty. The main purpose of the tool is to provide a first impression of the estimated SEO costs and of the effort to optimize your website for a specific keyword.

How Much To Rank thus provides an alternative to the widely used metric of keyword difficulty. As the results are presented in the form of a simple budget, they are less abstract and easier to interpret for SEO beginners.

Test How Much To Rank

Background information: What is the cost of SEO (in general)?

You want more details about the cost of SEO? In this section, we provide some general information about this topic.

Let’s start with the basics: In general, the cost of SEO varies greatly depending on the keyword and the type of website you run. But the basic cost components are usually the same. These include (without aiming for completeness):

Costs for an SEO audit of your website

No matter if you do SEO yourself, work with an agency, or use an SEO tool – your first task should always be a comprehensive SEO audit of your website. This enables you to assess the status quo of your website in terms of on-page optimization, backlink profile, and rankings. In our SEO Audit Guide, we explain how to conduct such an audit step by step.

Costs for on-page SEO

After you found the errors and optimization potentials of your website through an SEO audit, your next step should be on-page SEO. This includes improvements to your website’s technical foundation, structure, and content. SEO tools like Seobility can help you with this task. If you’re not a tech expert, you may need a web developer for some optimizations, which may cause additional costs.

Costs for content

If you want to rank for a certain keyword, you have to provide high-quality content on your website which is relevant to that keyword. The content creation process includes several tasks such as research and copywriting, image design, and content optimization. All of these steps take time and cause additional costs.

Link building costs

Building backlinks usually requires a lot of time and effort, depending on the link building tactics you choose. Typical tasks include researching websites that could link to you, contacting them, and writing guest posts if necessary.

Costs for local SEO

Local SEO is a very extensive topic and we’ll provide you with more information about it here on our blog soon (You better sign up for our SEO newsletter at the end of this article so you don’t miss it!). The basics of Local SEO include setting up and managing a Google My Business profile, managing reviews, building Local Citations, and more.

What influences the cost of SEO?

There are a few factors that influence the extent of the costs explained above. The most important ones include:

  • intensity of competition for the target keywords
  • Industry/niche: some industries are more competitive than others
  • How strong are your main competitors? Do they provide high-quality content? How many backlinks do they have?
  • Status quo of your website: Is it a new website or an old and trusted domain?

You should also keep in mind that SEO costs are typically highest at the beginning of the optimization process. Once you have a technically optimized and authoritative website with great content that ranks for your most important keywords, it gets easier to rank for new keywords. But even then, you should keep working on your website to avoid being overtaken by your competitors. Also, Google updates its search algorithm on a regular basis (for example, Core Web Vitals will become an official ranking factor in May), so you always have to keep up with the changes and adapt your website if necessary.

SEO costs for different types of websites

In addition to the factors mentioned above, it plays a critical role what kind of website you run when it comes to SEO costs. Therefore, we will compare the costs for three different types of websites in the next section:

  • eCommerce sites
  • local businesses
  • blogs or content sites

Special costs of eCommerce sites

Depending on the product range, eCommerce sites often have a very high number of sub-pages. For these sites, a good structure is essential to ensure that Google can crawl and index all relevant content. In addition, many other on-page SEO tasks are particularly important for eCommerce sites, such as optimizing meta tags, product descriptions, URLs, images and page speed, as well as avoiding duplicate content. That’s why the costs for on-page SEO can be significantly higher for eCommerce sites than for other types of websites.

In addition, eCommerce sites should invest in content marketing (e.g. by running a blog) to build trust, to provide further information about their products and for link building purposes. You can find more information about this in our article about SEO Content for Online Shops.

Special costs of local businesses

Basically, local businesses have the same costs as any other website (on-page SEO, content, link building). But obviously, local SEO is especially important here. This includes additional tasks, such as managing the Google My Business profile, collecting reviews, adding structured data for opening hours, addresses, etc., or mobile optimization, which is especially important for local searches.

Special costs of blogs and content sites

If the main purpose of your website is to publish content on a regular basis, you will be faced with constant costs for content creation and optimization. Writing articles that actually provide value to your readers and that make you stand out from your competitors can take a lot of time and money. Therefore, content creation will probably make up the biggest part of your costs.

With regard to on-page SEO, it’s especially important to optimize your meta tags, headings, internal links and images. Also, link building (e.g. via guest posts) is essential in order to get your content to rank.

Conclusion

Even though there are individual differences depending on the keyword and website, the most important SEO cost components are always the same. That’s why you can use How Much To Rank regardless of the type of website you run to get a quick impression of the estimated SEO costs. If you have any questions about this topic, let us know in the comments!

Try out How Much To Rank

PS: Get blog updates straight to your inbox!

seobility

The Seobility team supports you gladly with any questions regarding Seobility and the search engine optimization of your website!





Source link : Seobility.net

Using Google Advanced Search Operators for Your Link Building Strategy

By | October 10, 2021


Whether you’re a SEO professional or enthusiast, you can benefit from using Google’s advanced search operators. Learning how to run an advanced search effectively can help you navigate Google search thoroughly and improve your link-building strategy. 

Google advanced search uses special search operators to narrow down your search results. You can use search operators to filter results by domain, specific phrase, or more. 

Whatever you’re looking for, Google search operators can help you find it faster. Once you learn how they work, they’re easy to use. 

How to Run an Advanced Search On Google 

To use the advanced search feature on Google, all you need to do is add a search operator in front of your usual search query. 

For example, if you want to read about the latest series of The Great British Bake Off but only want to see articles from BBC.com, you can use an operator to narrow down search results to only those that are relevant to your keyword (“The Great British Bake Off”) and featured on your target site (“bbc.com”

Here’s what you’d enter into Google: 

google advanced search

In this example, “site:” is the search operator. There are plenty of search operators you can use on Google. 

Google advanced search is often used by marketers to support content marketing, SEO, and competitor research goals. Though they’re not generally used to boost link-building strategies, they should be! 

There are a number of advanced search operators that can help you build a link-building strategy or campaign.

Google advanced search can:

  1. Check the relevancy of a website 
  2. Find guest posts
  3. Find resource lists
  4. Find links to your website
  5. Find internal linking opportunities

1. Check the Relevancy of a Website

Ideally, your backlinks should come from a site that is in the same industry or about the same topic as yours. The more relevant the site is to yours, the more impact the backlink can have. Aim to vet sites before including them in your backlink strategy. 

Use the “site:” operator to search websites for relevant keywords and topics. To use this operator: 

  1. Type “site: www.prospectdomain.com” into Google search bar (use the domain of the target site.) 
google advanced search
  1. Review the number of results. 
  2. Add your industry or topic after your query in the search bar (e.g. “site: www.fender.com guitars”)
  3. Review the number of results now. 
  4. Calculate the ratio of the second number to the first number. 
  5. If the percentage is 60% or above, you may have a relevant prospect.

Although this is not a complete vetting process, it can help eliminate irrelevant sites. However, we still recommend that you thoroughly vet all of your link prospects with a link-building tool.

2. Find Guest Posts

Guest posts can still be a decent link-building strategy. You’ll just need to ensure your post is relevant by finding websites with high domain authority that accept blog posts. 

You can find such websites using exact match operator (“ ”). You use this operator to only see “exact match” results that feature your target keyword or phrase.

To use this operator:

  1. Type your topic in “ ” into the search bar (e.g. “guitars”)
google advanced search
  1. Trial different commands next to your topic, like “write for us” become a contributor. 

Using the exact match operator will only return results that include your query as it appears in your search bar. 

3. Find Resource Lists

A quick way to generate backlinks is to add your website to resource lists. Resource lists link to other websites that provide valuable resources and information to readers. 

To feature these websites in one of these lists, you’ll need to be able to find a relevant resource list and contact the writer or website. You can find resource lists with the exact match search operator. 

  1. Type your topic into Google search bar in “ ” (e.g. “guitars”)
  2. Use the “inurl:” operator to find pages that feature your keyword in their URLs. In this example, we use the search operator to find websites that have “guitar” and “resources” in their URLs:
google advanced search

From here you can reach out to the websites in your Google results to be added to their resource list. However, bear in mind that you will need to have a useful and relevant resource for this outreach to work. 

Part of your backlink strategy should include monitoring your competitors’ backlinks. Keeping an eye on your competitors can help you identify link opportunities for your own site and indicate where your competitors are focusing their link-building efforts. 

You can use the “link:” search operator to find your competitor’s backlinks. 

  1. Type “link:” followed by your competitor’s domain into Google search bar (e.g. “link: www.gibson.com”)
  2. Remove the homepage from your results by adding “-gibson.com” in the search bar (e.g. “link: www.gibson.com -gibson.com”)
google advanced search

You may find that step 1 does not return relevant results. Step 2 is more useful because it will return all backlinks to every page on your competitor’s site except the homepage. 

If you want a reliable view of all links on your competitor’s site including the homepage, a third-party tool like the Backlink Analytics tool can identify all links to your competitor’s site, including spam and toxic links. 

5. Find internal linking opportunities

Internal links aren’t necessarily part of a backlink strategy, but they are an important part of your overall link architecture. While you’re earning quality backlinks, make sure your internal linking structure is solid to pass any “link juice” through your site. 

You can use Google advanced search to find ways to improve your internal linking by finding pages that mention the same topic.

  1. Type the “site:” operator with a domain into the Google search bar (e.g. “site: www.fender.com”)
  2. Add the “intext:” operator and a topic (e.g. “site: www.fender.com intext: “les paul junior”)
google advanced search

Google returns any pages on your site that mention your topic in its content. Link these pages together to increase your internal linking profile.

Check the status of your internal links to ensure your linking profile stays intact. Site auditing tools can indicate the health of your internal linking structure and identify any links that need fixing. 

You can use Google’s advanced search operators in the Link Building tool to generate better link-building prospects. The tool automatically suggests prospects based on the keywords, competitors, linking brand mentions or prospects you enter.

To make your keyword-based link building more relevant, you can use advanced search operators in the tool’s configuration process:

google advanced search
  1. Open the Prospects tab in the Link Building tool.
  2. Select Keywords, and click Add.
google advanced search
  1. The tool opens a modal window where you can view your existing keywords. You’ll be able to edit these keywords or add new ones. Select the Advanced Search Query toggle to use search operators:
google advanced search

Summary

Google advanced search operators can help you specify your searches so you always receive the most useful results. Try combining multiple search operators to narrow your search results even further. 

In the Link Building tool, you can use advanced search operators to modify your keywords and find better opportunities. 

Build Backlinks Easily

with the Link Building Tool

ADS illustration



Source link : Semrush.com

Faceted Navigation: Definition, Examples & SEO Best Practices

By | October 10, 2021


If you’ve worked with any type of site that deals with a large number of listings, you’ve likely come across faceted navigation.

Faceted navigation is a widely accepted UX pattern that helps users discover what they’re looking for in less time. The downside is that it comes with many potential SEO complications that you’ll need to mitigate.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

What is faceted navigation?

Faceted navigation (or faceted search) is a type of navigation found on the category/archive pages of sites that deal with many listings. Its purpose is to help users find what they’re looking for more easily using multiple filters based on listings attributes.

Many people refer to faceted navigation as simply ‘filters.’

You will most commonly find this type of navigation on the category pages of:

  • Ecommerce sites like AO.com.
  • Job sites like Total Jobs.
  • Travel/booking sites like Google Flights or Airbnb.

But it’s common on many other large websites, too.

How does faceted navigation work?

Faceted navigation works by filtering listings on category pages by their attributes. As mentioned, listings will often be:

  • Jobs
  • Products
  • Hotels/flights

Attributes vary by site, but common examples include:

  • Price
  • Color
  • Brand
  • Weight
  • Flight time
  • Salary
  • Pack quantity
  • Delivery time

Once site admins have given relevant attributes to listings, the site then displays these attributes to the user in a list:

What happens when a user selects a filter varies, but generally one of four things will happen. 

  1. The listings instantly update to reflect the selection without a page reload (by using JavaScript).
  2. The page reloads, and the listings reflect the selection (no JavaScript involved).
  3. When the user selects an item in the list, nothing happens until they also click an ‘Apply’ button, which then updates the listings to reflect the selection (again, using JavaScript).
  4. When the user clicks to apply the filters, a new page loads.

The first two options have a similar UX but a different UX pattern to option three. 

Which UX pattern you use depends on whether a user is likely to use more than one filter. If users tend to apply multiple filters, it makes sense to only apply the filters and update the listings once they opt to apply them.

Once filters are applied, the URL can also optionally update to reflect the selection. What happens with the URL at this stage can also vary:

  1. It does nothing. The listings update with no URL change.
  2. The site appends parameters to the URL like ‘?colour=blue&brand=samsung’.
  3. The site appends a hash to the URL identifying the facets applied, e.g., #colour=blue
  4. A new static URL is created like /jeans/blue/ (the user is using a ‘blue’ color facet in this example).

What SEO issues can faceted navigation cause?

The types of issues you’ll be looking to prevent or fix with a faceted navigation implementation include:

  • Duplicate content
  • Index bloat
  • Crawling

Unfortunately, faceted navigation potentially creates a near-infinite number of facet combinations and indexable URLs. If you have issues with one of these, the SEO impact tends to be high.

Below are some examples of how these issues occur and their impact on your site’s SEO.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content is when the same or similar content is accessible at multiple URLs. Filters are notorious for creating URLs with duplicate content en masse. Duplication is mainly due to filter pages being close copies of the original page, just with different listings.

While duplicate content isn’t necessarily a negative ranking signal, it can cause issues with:

  • Keyword cannibalization
  • Dilution of ranking signals into multiple URLs (rather than consolidating into a single stronger URL)

See the ecommerce site currys.co.uk as an example. We start on their HP PC Monitors page. It’s a reasonably standard ecommerce layout, with a header, listings, and faceted search above the fold:

And then below the product listings, some content about HP monitors:

Now apply a filter for ‘4k monitors’.

You’ll see the product listings update, the H1 change, and the URL go from:

/hp-computing/pc-monitors/pc-monitors/354_3057_30059_16_xx/xx-criteria.html

To:

/hp-4k-monitors/pc-monitors/pc-monitors/354_3057_30059_16_ba00012894-bv00311096/xx-criteria.html

But if you scroll back to the bottom of the page, the same block of content exists below the listings.

This is just one example of duplication on the site. Scale this across every filter available, and you’ll quickly have millions of duplicate pages for Google to try and consolidate into one canonical page.

Index bloat

Index bloat is when search engines index pages on your site that don’t have search value. 

Only allowing Google to index quality pages is critical as having low-quality pages indexed can impact Google’s overall view of your site, as explained by John Mueller in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1UrnctsiZU&t=605s

Faceted navigation can potentially create millions of indexable URLs with no unique content to them. It can also create page variants that provide no value to users using search engines.

Here’s an example:

AO.com has a category page dedicated to freestanding washing machines: 

A user may visit this page and decide they want to filter for:

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Wash Load: Large
  • Colour: Silver
  • Wash Load: Large
  • Features: Quick Wash
  • Energy Rating: A

Thanks to the filters, the site has returned precisely the washing machine that suits that user’s needs.

But would a user ever search in Google for something that precise? 

The answer is resoundingly a no. 

We know this because there are only an estimated 90 searches per month for ‘freestanding washing machines’ in the UK, so it’s extremely unlikely that there’ll be many (if any) searches for something even more specific like ‘large silver samsung freestanding washing machine with quick wash feature and energy rating A.’

Having pages like this indexed that do not cater to search demand and are low quality can put your site at risk of being impacted negatively by an algorithm.

Crawl budget wastage

Google can only dedicate a finite amount of resources to crawling the pages on your site. This is known as your crawl budget.

Managing crawl budget isn’t something that Google deems a priority unless you have a large site (1M+ unique pages) or medium site (10K+ unique pages) with very rapidly changing content.

Given that advice, if you only have a few thousand categories and products, you might think you don’t need to worry about crawl budget management. 

That could be very wrong.

Some faceted navigation implementations will create a crawlable link for each facet combination available.

Ignoring the potential index bloat issues, this also means you’re potentially generating millions of URLs for Google to crawl, so you’ll quickly make crawl budget management something to consider.

You can find an example of this on the next.co.uk site:

When you inspect the HTML of a facet, you’ll see a link in the HTML:

Once you’ve followed that link, you can then check the HTML of another facet like the blue one:

You can see how the facets combine to create an entirely new URL to be crawled.

Now consider all the potential combinations of different filters. You can quickly see how crawling a site with facet issues would cause issues for a search engine.

Dilution of PageRank

Faceted navigation can also dilute the PageRank passed around your site.

This is because PageRank is divided by the total number of links on the page. This presents an inherent issue with faceted navigation as a large number of them generate many internal links.

So rather than PageRank passing to important product or category pages, it’ll pass to the links found within your filters, which in most cases won’t help improve search traffic.

Recommended reading: Google PageRank is NOT Dead: Why It Still Matters

How to check for faceted navigation issues

There are always obvious telltale signs of faceted navigation issues; here are some steps to discover if your filters could be impacting your SEO.

1. Start with a site search

A great tactic to check for signs of index bloat quickly is to use the site: search operator. While not the most accurate way, it’s quick and easy to do.

It works by simply prepending ‘site:’ before your domain name, like below.

Take note of the number of results Google returns. Does that seem higher than the number of URLs you know to be available on your site?

If it is, that’s the first sign you have issues with index bloat.

2. Validate with Google Search Console (GSC) coverage reports 

GSC’s coverage report is another great way to uncover crawling and indexing issues quickly.

Just head to the ‘Coverage’ report within GSC and select ‘Valid’ on the chart for a more accurate figure on the number of pages Google has indexed:

If this seems high, or you’ve recently implemented faceted search, and it’s shot up, this points towards the index bloat issues mentioned previously.

But how do we know if filters caused it?

Accurate XML sitemaps help diagnose issues here. If you’ve uploaded those to GSC, the table below the chart will split the indexed URLs down into:

  • Indexed, not submitted in sitemap
  • Submitted and indexed

That means we can look at ‘Indexed, not submitted in sitemap’ pages to see unwanted pages Google is indexing:

This example is for a ******* site that lets you filter for locations and tournaments. We can see here Google is indexing unwanted URLs.

Another helpful way to discover potential issues is to filter for ‘Excluded’ URLs:

Investigating ‘Crawled — currently not indexed’ URLs can give you insights into pages Google is discovering but has decided not to index.

Google won’t index everything they crawl. If the page is of low quality like many facet pages are, they may decide not to index it.

In this example, we know there are 1,000 additional pages Google has discovered that they may index in the future. You can also view the URLs table to see faceted URLs by clicking on this report.

The above is a relatively mild example of issues with faceted navigation highlighted in GSC. Over time, these issues can scale to hundreds of thousands of URLs being discovered but not indexed (showing the potential crawling problems):

Or potentially hundreds of thousands of URLs being indexed when they shouldn’t be:

3. Collect more data with a site auditor

Using a site search and GSC is a great way to quickly get data on an issue, but neither will surface all indexable/indexed URLs, making it hard to spot trends and understand the scale of the problem. 

Site auditing tools like the Ahrefs’ Site Audit can help remedy that by giving you detailed information on the URLs discovered from crawling the site. 

The below example is a site with faceted navigation issues causing crawl budget wastage, and you can spot that with only a couple of clicks.

First, head to the Indexability report in the left sidebar.

Next, take a glance at the ‘Indexability distribution’ chart, and you’ll see if something looks off.

From a partial crawl, Site Audit found 39 non-indexable URLs for every indexable URL. Given that this isn’t a full crawl of the site, we could expect that the ratio of indexable to non-indexable URLs will likely worsen as the crawl continues.

The above highlights a tremendous amount of crawl budget wastage, and it’s also an excellent example of a crawler trap—where technical issues create an almost infinite amount of irrelevant URLs for search that a bot will crawl.

If your faceted navigation is causing index bloat, the chart you’ll see here will look a bit different. Rather than a large amount of non-indexable URLs, you’ll see vast amounts of indexable URLs on the chart like the below.

To confirm this is a faceted navigation issue, select the non-indexable portion of the chart and scan the list. You’ll now see a table of all the non-indexable pages crawled.

Here is where you’ll need to spot a pattern. 

What’s causing crawlers to find all of these non-indexable pages?

If the vast majority of the URLs returned in the table are faceted URLs, you’ve found yourself a faceted navigation issue.

How to fix faceted navigation issues

Now that you know how to check for faceted navigation problems, here’s how to fix them.

1. Fix indexing with the canonical tag

If you’re facing indexing issues but no alarming crawl budget issues (and don’t have a huge site), the best solution is arguably to use the canonical tag. It consolidates link signals for similar/duplicate pages into the URL you specify as the canonical.

The benefit?

If you have links to a facet page, which then canonicalizes to the non-facet page, those link signals aren’t lost; search engines will pass them to the category page, which may help it to rank.

Here’s an example of how to implement this…

Say this is the URL of your category page:

https://example.com/washing-machines/samsung/

Your facet URLs work with parameters, so when someone applies some filters, the URL looks like this:

https://example.com/washing-machines/samsung/?drumsize=16kg&color=silver&energyrating=A

On the above facet URL above, you’d simply add a canonical tag pointing back to the category page, so your canonical tag would look like this:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/washing-machines/samsung/" />

Or like this in your HTTP headers:

Link: <https://example.com/washing-machines/samsung/>; rel="canonical"

While this seems like a nice and easy fix for a serious SEO problem, as always, there are some potential issues, the main one being that Google may ignore your canonical tag.

This is simply because canonical tags are suggestions to search engines, not directives. So if Google, for some reason, thinks that you’ve implemented the tag incorrectly, they may decide to ignore it. 

The common reasons Google will decide to ignore your canonical tag suggestions are:

  • The pages aren’t duplicates.If your facet pages significantly change when you apply a filter, Google will likely think they aren’t duplicates of one another. For example, if content, titles, and headers change, Google may get confused.
  • You internally link to facet pages.If you have many internal links to a canonicalized facet page, Google may misunderstand the page’s importance and ignore your canonical tag.

If you don’t see the number of valid URLs in your coverage reports decreasing after implementing the canonical tag, move onto step two.

2. Use the URL Parameters report in Search Console

If canonicalization didn’t fix the indexing issues, the URL parameters report in GSC is arguably the best way to optimize crawling. It lets you tell Google how to handle the parameters in your URLs and helps them crawl more efficiently. 

The downside is that this method only works if your faceted navigation uses URL parameters. (If that’s not the case for you, go to step three).

Using the URL parameters report is pretty straightforward. Just add a parameter, then tell Google how it affects page content and if there are any exceptions to the rule that they should crawl.

Sidenote.

If you’re already blocking them from being crawled via robots.txt, this won’t make any difference.

3. Fix crawling with robots.txt

If you’re facing crawl budget issues and you don’t need signals to consolidate, you’ll want to use robots.txt to block Google from crawling any faceted URLs.

To block crawling of a URL with the robots.txt, add a disallow rule like the below:

User-agent: *
Disallow: *size=*

In the example above, I’ve added two wildcards (*) around the parameter. If your faceted navigation works by appending directories, your rule will look like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: */size/*

There are two instances when the robots.txt doesn’t work well:

  • You have no discernible patterns within the URL for disallowing. This could be because each page is given unique parameters or directories for facets.
  • You want to allow some URL patterns to be crawled and block others. For example, you want the /color/ directory to be crawled for the t‑shirts category (as it provides value for search), but want it blocked for the underwear category. While you could work around this by mixing ‘Allow’ and ‘Disallow’ rules within the robots.txt, this can quickly become difficult to manage on large-scale websites.

You should also be aware blocking crawling doesn’t necessarily prevent Google from indexing the blocked URLs. Generally speaking, Google will drop blocked URLs from the index—but only if they have no backlinks and/or many followed internal links pointing to them. In other words, as long as nothing else is signalling to Google that those URLs are valuable.

4. Nofollow and/or remove internal links to faceted URLs 

If blocking crawling doesn’t fully eliminate indexing issues caused by faceted search, nofollowing internal links to those URLs may solve the problem.

There are typically two sources of these links:

  1. Faceted search links. I.e., links within your faceted navigation.
  2. Links elsewhere on your website. E.g., from blog posts, etc.

For faceted search links, applying a blanket nofollow is easy enough with a bit of basic coding. However, this probably isn’t the best idea if you have canonical tags on faceted URLs and/or faceted URLs that you want Google to index. Reason being, if Google ends up not crawling these links because they’re nofollowed, it can cause other indexing issues.

The alternative is to pick and choose the facets that you nofollow. That’s a bit harder to implement from a technical standpoint, but it can be worth it if you want to target long-tail queries with faceted search (more on that later).

The main downside of this approach is that it’s less useful after Google started treating rel=’nofollow’ as a hint, meaning it’s not a directive like the robots.txt is.

However, Google will use an internal nofollow to indicate that the URL within the href attribute isn’t that important and Google should deprioritize crawling it. 

John Mueller has confirmed this:

[…] we will continue to use these internal nofollow links as a sign that you’re telling us:

  • These pages are not as interesting.
  • Google doesn’t need to crawl them.
  • They don’t need to be used for ranking, for indexing.
John Mueller

Sidenote.

This approach doesn’t correct the dilution of PageRank. PageRank is still distributed between all links on the page, even those with the nofollow attribute. If you want to fix that, you’ll need to implement proper canonicalization. 

For links elsewhere on your website, your best bet is to just remove them. 

You can find internal links to problematic faceted URLs using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer:

  1. Enter a problematic faceted URL.
  2. Go to the Internal Backlinks report.
  3. Filter for Dofollow links.

You can then simply look for ‘followed’ internal links elsewhere on your site and remove them.

5. Definitively fix indexing with the noindex tag

If you’re still facing indexing issues after following the steps above, then your last port of call is the noindex tag.

The benefit of the noindex tag is that it’s a surefire way to prevent the indexing of facet pages. The downside is you don’t consolidate ranking signals, and over time, Google may stop crawling internal links on a noindexed page, meaning no passage of ranking signals.

Still, this is a good way of getting faceted URLs out of Google’s index if all else fails.

To implement this, simply add either a meta robots tag in the <head> of a faceted URL:

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

Or the X‑Robots header within your HTTP headers of a faceted URL:

X-Robots-Tag: noindex

You then need to remove/adjust any crawl blocks for the URL in robots.txt or the URL Parameters tool. Fail to do this, and Google will never see the noindex directive—meaning that the page will stay indexed. 

Recommended reading: Robots Meta Tag & X‑Robots-Tag: Everything You Need to Know

How to prevent faceted navigation issues in the first place

From the previous section, you would have realized that correcting all the potential issues faceted navigation can create isn’t easy.

Every approach to fix both indexing and crawling has some downsides or complications.

But there is a better way.

Suppose you’re implementing a new faceted navigation configuration or creating one for the first time. In that case, you can circumvent all of the above issues while still making the most of the UX benefits.

Here’s how to do that.

1. Use AJAX and avoid internal links

First, build your faceted navigation with AJAX and don’t add any <a href=…> internal links.

By doing that, users get a great experience due to the page not reloading whenever they filter, and Google won’t see any internal links to facet pages, meaning:

  1. They don’t crawl them
  2. Resulting in Google not indexing them
  3. While also removing any potential dilution of PageRank

Here’s an example.

I’ve implemented faceted navigation with the WP Grid Builder WordPress plugin on a resource I created called SEO Toolbelt.

It looks like this:

When you right-click and inspect element on any of the checkboxes to apply a filter, you’ll see they don’t include a <a href=…> link on them, preventing Google from crawling any additional URLs. 

Because of that, I’ve circumvented having to even think about crawl budget wastage from faceted navigation.

2. Ensure URLs are still shareable

Next, we need to make sure that when a user clicks a filter, the URL changes.

I recommend doing this as we’ve materially changed the contents of the page, and ideally, if a user bookmarks, links to the page, or shares a URL with a friend, the contents of the URL will still reflect the filters they applied when they bookmarked/shared/linked the page.

There are two ways to do this:

  • URL parameters (?)
  • URL hashes (#)

The best solution is URL hashes, as Google tends to ignore anything after the hash in the URL.

WP Grid Builder uses parameters, so after applying the filter, the URL changes to be something like this:

https://seotoolbelt.co/tools/auditing/?_tool_type=browser-extension

If you access that URL, you’ll see the filtered grid of tools is updated to reflect the applied filters.

In this instance, as I’m using URL parameters, I’ll also need to add a canonical tag to the version of the URL without parameters, so this URL:

https://seotoolbelt.co/tools/auditing/

Given that these parameter versions of URLs aren’t internally linked to and are much less likely to receive external links from other sites (which is the only way Google would discover them), we’re at low risk of them being ignored.

3. Provide alternate crawl paths to important pages for search

In some cases, a filtered version of a page may be helpful for search. 

For example, there are filters for ‘Firefox’ and ‘Chrome’ on my SEO browser extensions page. Both of these pages have some search potential.

So we want to make sure that they have indexable URLs created. The best way to do that is by making sure you have alternate crawl paths to those pages. I’ve done that by adding sub-navigation links to indexable versions of those filter pages at the top of the page.

Those sub-collections are generated based upon the same attributes that create the faceted version of the page, but I have to ‘opt-in’ to making them.

This implementation has achieved a few things:

  • I’ve prevented crawl budget wastage, as I don’t internally link to facet pages.
  • The facet pages have remained shareable, which is a positive UX.
  • If a facet page has search potential, I can editorially allow this page to be indexed.

As you can see, this is significantly simpler to manage SEO-wise but doesn’t have any drawbacks.

How to use faceted navigation to get more traffic

So far, I’ve positioned faceted navigation as something that just causes SEO complications. However, you can also use faceted navigation as a way to get more traffic by pairing it with a long-tail keyword strategy.

I can’t understate how incredibly beneficial getting this right can be. Ahrefs data shows that 99.84% of keywords get fewer than 1,000 searches per month, and account for 39.33% total search demand:

​​

Facet URLs are ideal for capturing long-tail traffic, given how facets create more specific versions of pages targeting broader queries.

First, I will run you through the steps to spot opportunities to capture more long-tail traffic with faceted navigation; then, I’ll explain some implementation considerations.

1. Identify long-tail keyword variations 

To start with, you’ll need to identify keyword opportunities with Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. Doing this is incredibly easy.

Enter the name of a category you already have on your site, like ‘high rise jeans.’

Head to the ‘Matching Terms’ report.

Use the terms sidebar and change over to ‘Parent Topics.’

By doing this, the tool will group all keywords with a similar SERP together. You can then scan this list and pick out potential facet pages that’d be worth making indexable. Here are some I’ve spotted from checking the screenshot above:

  • high rise bootcut jeans (1,900 searches)
  • high rise skinny jeans (1,800 searches)
  • high rise wide leg jeans (1,300 searches)
  • ultra high rise jeans (970 searches)
  • high waisted boyfriend jeans (700 searches)
  • high rise super skinny jeans 380 searches)
  • high waisted white jeans (360)

2. Make those pages indexable

Next, we need to make these pages both crawlable and indexable to Google. 

This can work in a few different ways depending on your type of faceted navigation.

Faceted navigation with internal links

If you’ve implemented faceted navigation that isn’t the ideal setup and does have internal links to each facet, for these URLs you’ll need to make sure that:

  • The canonical tag is self-referential.
  • The noindex tag is removed (if applicable).
  • Any relevant disallow rules within the robots.txt are removed (or that you’ve added an allow rule)
  • Any nofollow attributes on internal links are removed (if applicable)

Precisely what you need to do above depends on your implementation, but the important part is that search engines can both crawl and index these pages.

AJAX faceted navigation without internal links

You’ll need to create a sub-category page for the ideal faceted navigation setup mentioned in the previous section.

You’ll need to do this because the faceted navigation isn’t generating internal links, so you can’t use it to create these pages for you.

Most ecommerce platforms support creating sub-categories, but ideally, you want additional functionality to base the sub-categories products upon a filtered version of the parent category, mainly to save having to merchandise each sub-category manually. This way, you get the benefits of quickly generating pages like faceted navigation does while still circumventing SEO complications.

For example, if we’re creating a ‘high rise skinny jeans’ sub-category, we’d want to inherit the ‘high rise jeans’ product listings but only show products that also have the ‘skinny’ attribute applied.

3. Optimize the URLs for search

This is an obvious one, but you’ll want to do the fundamental SEO optimizations, such as:

  • Have simple, readable URLs. For example, your URL should ideally be /jeans/high-rise/skinny/, not /jeans/high-rise/?fit_variant=skinny
  • Optimized title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags.
  • Unique written content.
  • Adding the URL to XML sitemaps.

The main complications here tend to be with configurations where you’re opting a facet page out of the default indexing and crawling controls in place.

This is simply because, technically, facet pages are inherently dynamic and aren’t the same as creating a new sub-category. 

Custom functionality would be required to ensure critical on-page optimizations are possible with faceted URLs.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you’ve fully understood not just the inherent risks with faceted navigation for SEO but also the significant opportunities it presents to optimize for long-tail search.

Got a question on faceted navigation? Tweet me.





Source link : Ahrefs.com

The Guide to Targeted-Impact Link Building

By | October 10, 2021


The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

This piece was co-written with James Wirth.

Links drive rankings — that’s one thing that technical SEOs, content marketers, digital PR folks, and even some of #SEOTwitter can agree on. But which rankings, and for which pages on your website?

If you’ve ever wanted to build links that impact rankings for specific pages on your website, we’ve got the guide for you.

Selecting pages for a targeted-impact link building campaign

Preparing a link building campaign often involves helping the client refine their goals in order to be able to effectively measure the campaign. The first step is typically level-setting based on what we can learn from available data.

Comparing link metrics against top competitors will help us size up the competition. Layered against estimated traffic, Page Authority, and SEO “difficulty”, and we’re able to better understand the opportunity. While this isn’t particularly complex or inaccessible, it’s likely deeper than the client has gone, and very often they’re happy to move forward with data-informed recommendations.

If we were preparing a link building campaign for Moz, for example, we might pre-select some sections of the site to focus on in the analysis.

Suppose we start with /products/, /tools/ the beginners guide pages (**** those), and a few others that jump out. Here are a few pages from that list:

Target page list

From here, we would compile a list of competitors based on top keywords for each of the pages. That will let us compare average metrics across the top competitors to the metrics for Moz’s pages.

This dataset represents the top 10 competitors from the top 10 keywords for each of Moz’s pages. Once compiled, we’ll have 90-100 rows of competitor data, give or take, depending on where Moz ranks for each page in the list. We can average the competitor data to make it easy to compare, and spot-check from there to look for outliers, or filter out branded or stray keywords we don’t want to compete for anyway:

Now it’s time to look for opportunities. We can eye-ball the metrics in a shortlist like this, but if we’re looking at hundreds or thousands of pages (even after filtering it down), this gets a little cumbersome. Prioritizing the pages will help us look more quickly through the list and find the best opportunities.

In a scenario where it’s a short pilot program, some of these competitors have scary-high linking root domains, and we’re going to have an idea of a monthly budget to set our pilot up for success by not biting off more than we can chew.

So, we’ll add a couple columns to help some of these stand out. To help find the low-hanging fruit, we might look at the relationship to the gap in linking root domains of the competition and our potential campaign page, and the search volume from those top 10 keywords:

By dividing the link gap into the search volume, we can look at higher priority pages for the campaign based on the probability of reducing the linking root domain gap, in order to improve the client’s share of voice on high-converting pages.

Adding rank-order to the rows will help us look at the best potential opportunities:

From this group of pages, the Moz Pro product page seems to be a pretty tasty candidate. We might stay away from the free SEO tools page since, well, “free” doesn’t necessarily scream REVENUE, but it’s worth a conversation to verify. The same can be said for a couple of those beginner guide pages as well.

Even if none end up in the campaign, we’ll still be able to assess the link gap for pages that ARE the targets, and help steer Moz towards effective linking choices

After a few refinements, we’ll have a very solid set of potential campaign pages to recommend!

Finding your most-impactful audience

We build out our model of audience based on the specific client URL that we’re building links to. So, for sales pages, we’re thinking about where, how, when, and why that product or service fits into the customer’s life. What are its various contexts of use? What circumstances or conditions benefit from the use of this offering?

The offering’s contexts of use are intrinsically relevant to the target URL, whether or not the same keyword is used to describe them. For example, if we target the Moz Pro page identified above, we’d start asking ourselves: “when is it that agencies and in-house SEOs start thinking about SEO tools?”

Perhaps we explore that point where someone has to pick up the SEO projects left behind by someone whose career has taken them elsewhere. What’s the checklist like for following behind another SEO? Additionally, what about an SEO crash course for folks who suddenly find themselves in charge of an SEO department (we’ve spoken with people in this situation before). Both of these scenarios could give ample reason and circumstance to mention SEO tools. For either of these examples, an expert survey, expert interviews, and off-site informational placements could enable contextual linking opportunities.

Let’s step outside of the SEO space though and think about insurance sales pages. We could begin mapping out the circumstances and events in life as one decides to seek insurance: Events like having your first child, becoming an independent contractor, buying a home, having a cardiac-related scare, etc.

From these “use-case brainstorms”, we work up into problem areas — and related queries — that the target audience might be having. These give us a basis for discovering publishers that align the audience of the target page with its contexts of usage. For Moz, we’d likely focus on marketing trade pubs — SEO or not. For the insurance pages, we’d likely start with parenting blogs, health/fitness publishers, websites relating to starting a business, and potentially realtor sites.

For good measure, we frequently examine high ranking pages in the target keyword space to learn more about what we call the “linking context” for a given set of keywords. We’re especially focused on the titles of linking pages. This gives instant insight into topics that make sense for prospect discovery. We usually find things like long form guides, tons of coupon pages, review sites, forums, etc. — all of this gives us a better sense of the linking context.

Combined, use-case brainstorms and linking context analysis help us build out a full picture of the audiences and key problems that will lead us to suitable publishers.

Link outreach

Outreach is simple. Well, sort of.

If you understand what the publisher wants, which is ultimately related to how they make a living, then you figure out how to pitch and deliver just that.

If you’re in the digital PR space pitching journalists, you’re pitching your ability to drive “audience engagement” (as we’ve picked up from Neomam CEO, Gisele Navarro). So your subject line and offer need to clearly drip with page views, click-throughs, and social shares. And your content has to deliver. After all, with the high content costs involved you’ll need to reuse your contacts!

If you’re in broken link building (and to a lesser extent, a tactic like unlinked mentions), you’re offering “visitor experience improvements” to a webmaster or page curator who’s dedicated to a particular audience. With this in mind, your subject line and offer (a fix) must demonstrate value to the target audience, as well as mention the impact the broken link could have on an expectant visitor in need.

We find that when pitching guest content, especially to sales-supported publishers, we see higher conversions when we pitch topics that will help drive the publisher’s traffic or conversions. You can learn more about our guest content approach in this Whiteboard Friday, but again, we lean into pitching “publishing benefits” to the site owner.

So your key question: what is this person’s purpose for publishing to their particular audience? Knowing this helps you determine an offer that will resonate, and earn you a link.

One last bit of advice on outreach: avoid directly implementing subject lines, templates, etc. from other experts. Be inspired by the experts, but remember that their advice involves very specific offers, audiences, and publishers, and they are unlikely to align with your actual circumstances. Study them, for sure, but only for understanding general guidelines.

A quick word on link building tactics

Every functional link building tactic earns its links by meeting the target publisher’s unstated “price” for reaching their audience.

The publisher’s cost can certainly be money, but in the earned link space, we’re usually talking about supplying publishers with value such as exclusive news and information, previously unstated but highly useful advice, articles that could help them sell more products or services, and useful corrections that shore up authority.

We’re reminded, as we discuss value exchange, of a campaign by the link builder Debra Mastaler, in which she offered a cement client’s t-shirt to the members of several dues-supported professional organizations. She not only earned links from the organization websites (who got to provide a “special perk” to their members), but earned business and, of course, brand visibility within their precise target audience. Wow!

So, while a free t-shirt may not work in all verticals, Mastaler reminds us of the most overlooked aspect of link building campaigns: finding publishers who reach your target audience and asking “okay, what can we offer that they will actually want?”. Creative, entrepreneurial thinking — perhaps you could call it marketing instinct? — remains the link builder’s most important tactic.

That said, reviewing the existing array of link building tactics can be very useful, especially as you’re starting out, just as a budding chef spends time reading cookbooks to understand key ingredients and guiding principles. And as it is for the budding chef, your greatest lessons will come from the hours spent in the kitchen, working on your craft.

Check out this graphic for a quick overview of some of the more common tactics and their relationships between the publishers and your desired SEO outcomes:

Measurable link building wins

This is one of the most challenging aspects of a campaign for myriad reasons.

It’s also one of the most effective ways to retain clients, or budget, if you’re on the in-house side.

There are a number of ways to track the performance of a link building campaign, but which methods are chosen largely depends on the tactics deployed. In our case, we’re focused on the content side, and specialize in earning placements to hard-to-link sales landing pages. We approach our measurements of success from the perspective of SEO-related metrics that will show both leading indicators of improvements, and the right performance indicators once we have had impact.

Early on in a campaign, we often see a worsening of average position. The cause of this is typically new keywords ranking on the campaign page. Because the page initially begins to rank on SERP #7 or #8, this will initially pull down the average rank of the page, even if the rank for established keywords is improving.

This graph underscores one of the risks of focusing too heavily on rank as the primary success metric. While average position (the purple line) shows a decline in average position, we can see in the stacked columns that not only is the total number of ranking keywords growing, it’s also growing nicely in positions 1-3 (the blue segment at the top), as well as positions 4-10 (the orange segment 2nd from top). Just not enough to keep up with newly ranking keywords further down in the SERPs.

Correlating ranking changes to ranking keyword count was paramount to continuing this campaign.

While we track and report on average position over time, we certainly don’t lead with it. Instead, we focus on metrics that more directly correlate to traffic and conversions, which positions us for demonstrating positive ROI of the campaign.

The metrics that matter for us are share of voice (a search volume-weighted CTR model) and Moz Page Authority.

Share of voice

The benefit for us of prioritizing share of voice over ranking is that it normalizes dramatic shifts in time series reports based on ranking fluctuations from low-volume queries. Ranking reports, as we all know, can be a serious roller coaster.

Share of voice, on the other hand, aligns with an estimated traffic model, expressed as a percentage of total traffic for the keyword set.

As seen in the graph above, we also include a control group: a second set of pages on the site that are not part of the campaign (and preferably not part of any concerted SEO effort). This second set of pages is chosen from similar sections of the site and from similarly ranking and visited pages when possible, to measure the success of our link building campaign against.

While the graph above does indicate positive growth just with the bars, when we determine the percentage difference between our campaign pages and the control group, the results are even more dramatic.

Page Authority

Another critical metric is Moz Page Authority, which is often another early indicator of imminent success. We sometimes see Page Authority increase even before we see improvement to rankings and share of voice.

And again, tracking against a control group helps to underscore the value of our work.

Another benefit of Page Authority: Third party validation of the direct impact of our work.

While many factors outside of the scope of our link building campaign may affect rank, such as core algorithm updates, gaps in page content, topic misalignment or technical issues inhibiting Google’s full valuation of the page), a metric that is best influenced by “improving a page’s link profile by… getting external links”, aligns very well with our offering.

And hey, we think using a third party metric to validate the hard work we’re doing for our clients is pretty okay in our book (now in its second edition!).

Questions? More link building tips? Share them with us on Twitter.





Source link : Moz.com/blog

Why focus on long tail keywords?

By | October 10, 2021


Focusing on long-tail keywords is a great SEO tactic. Long-tail keywords are keywords or keyphrases that are more specific – and usually longer – than more commonly used keywords. Long-tail keywords get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific. They allow you to gradually get more traffic to your site and be found by new and motivated audiences.

Book: The Long Tail

While preparing this blog post, Joost encouraged me to read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. This book discusses the emergence of markets (especially, markets on the internet) with unlimited supplies. Chris Anderson discovered that the true shape of demand, not filtered by the economics of scarcity shows a very long tail. This means that demand exists for virtually every niche, although this demand can become very small.

An example could be a jukebox with 10.000 songs. A very small number of songs are played very regularly, while a large number of songs are played very few times. However, research shows that virtually all songs (about 98 %) are played at some point. The demand for these songs (that are large in number) is very small, but it does exist. Almost every song will be played at some point. With the emergence of the internet, possible target audiences became quite large, even if the product is only wanted by a very small percentage of the people. The wideness of the internet makes your niche product profitable and the ranking on long-tail keywords important.

The long tail bookcover

Looking for keyphrase suggestions? When you’ve set a focus keyword in Yoast SEO, you can now click on ‘Get related keyphrases’ and our SEMrush integration will help you find high-performing keyphrases!

A long-tail keyword strategy can really help you out when there’s a lot of competition in your market. Or a lot of competition for the main keywords you want to rank for. That being said, most companies or blogs can benefit from this strategy as it helps you attract visitors with a very specific search intent. Here, I’ll explain what long-tail keywords are and how an understanding of your mission and product can help you set up a long-tail keyword strategy.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are more specific and less common than other keywords. They focus more on a niche. The term long-tail keyword comes from the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson (see aside). In this book, Chris Anderson shows that there’s a market for virtually any product. And although this market is really, really small in some cases, the vastness of the internet makes your niche product or blog post profitable nonetheless.

One head theme

Most blogs have one main topic – this is called the head term, or main keyword. For example, mom blogs are usually about family life and food blogs are about eating, restaurants, or recipes. Our blog at Yoast is all about SEO. We even named it SEO blog. So, all of our blog posts are about SEO or SEO related topics.

The main topic or theme of your blog or site is the number one keyword (or keyphrase) you want people to find you for. In our case, that keyword is obviously SEO. Someone with a food blog about homemade Italian food, will probably want to be found on the search term [homemade Italian food]. Making that search term the number one keyphrase of their blog.

Lots of tail topics

However, you can’t optimize all blog posts for the same term [homemade Italian food]. Even if all the blog posts you write are about homemade Italian food. Instead, you should write a whole number of blog posts about all kinds of long-tail variants of your main keyword. In the example of the food blog, you could write about all kinds of delicious things: homemade Italian pasta, homemade Italian salads, homemade Italian pie.

Your blog posts could even be more long tail. You could write about homemade Italian spaghetti bolognese, homemade Italian lasagna, homemade Italian spaghetti carbonara and so on. You will find all of these long-tail keywords when you do proper keyword research. If you come up with a lot of very long focus keywords, you can use the keyphrase length check in our plugin to see whether they’re too long.

focus on long tail keywords
Head keywords are less specific and can be very competitive. Meanwhile, long tail keywords are more specific and less competitive.

Read more: What are long-tail keywords? »

Examples of long tail keywords

As you can see in the examples below, a long-tail keyword doesn’t need to have a specific length, and it doesn’t need to include your head keyword. That being said, long-tail keywords often contain around 3 – 5 words, and in many cases they do include the head keyword too.

Head keyword Long tail keywords
Nike Nike Air Max One
Nike sustainability policy
vintage Nike shoes
Digital marketing How digital marketing works
Digital marketing user journey
B2B digital marketing services
Wedding supplies Wedding flower arrangements
Matching wedding and bridesmaid dresses
Wedding stationery supplies

If you optimize your blog post for different long-tail variants, you should link from these blog posts to your more ‘head’ category pages and from these category pages to your most awesome pages: your cornerstone content. Remember: always link from the tail to your head! That way, you show Google what your site structure looks like and which of your pages is most important. Make sure your most amazing pages rank high in Google! Read more about how to do this in our post on internal linking for SEO.

Why focus on long-tail keywords?

It’s much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for more common keywords because fewer websites compete for high rankings in the result pages of Google. The longer (and more specific) your search terms are, the easier it is to rank for the term. Because of the vastness of the internet, it is easier to find your audience for your particular niche. Focusing on a group of long-tail keywords can result in a great deal of traffic altogether.

Another benefit of focusing on long-tail keywords is that, although these keywords are used less in search, the visitor that finds your website using them is more likely to buy your service or product.

Let’s say I’m looking for a new board game to have some family fun with my kids. I start my search with the term [board games]. After some searching, I quickly discover that I want a board game that’s both suitable for kids and has an educational element to it. My search continues, but now I use the terms [educational board games for kids]. Or when I know I’ll be in Amsterdam this week, I could even make it a local search term: [where to buy educational board games for kids in Amsterdam]. These are both long-tail keywords. Using these keywords, I will find new results that more closely resemble my search intent. The chances of me buying a board game have largely increased by this more specific search.

How to find long tail keywords for your site

First of all, if you want to sell something, you should simply have a good product. And you should be well aware of what your product or website can offer your audience. What makes your product or blog special? If you know and understand this, it will be much easier to make your audience like and buy your stuff. So take some time to think about the uniqueness of your product or blog and write that down.

So, why is your mission important?

Perhaps you sell furniture. You offer unique pieces, made with recycled materials and that have a low impact on the environment. Offering quality furniture that helps people reduce their own impact on the environment could be the uniqueness of your service. This is your mission, your niche, this is what you have to offer your audience. Do make sure you write down your mission in words that are used and understood by your audience.

Keep reading: How to write a mission statement for your site »

Competitiveness of the market

In some markets, it’s really hard to rank. Some markets are just highly competitive, with large companies dominating the search results. These companies have a very large budget to spend on marketing in general and SEO specifically. Ranking in these markets is hard. You will be unable to compete on a small budget in a market like the furniture industry using search terms such as [quality furniture].

However, if you have your mission clear, you should be able to define what makes your product or website stand out from this market. You should be able to find your niche. And you should use YOUR mission in order to start ranking! Taking my example of furniture made with recycled materials would mean that you should focus on the less competitive term [furniture recycled material]. Again, use words that your target audience uses (and avoid difficult terms).

Use your mission to define long-tail keywords

Your mission, in which you make crystal clear what the awesomeness of your product, site or blog is, should be central in choosing the long-tail keywords you want to rank for. The terms you used to describe your mission can be nicely used to focus on in your SEO strategy. These words should be central in the long-tail keywords you aim your website to rank for.

With your mission written down, you’ve already completed the first step of your keyword research. The next step is creating a list of keywords. Try to get into the heads of your audience. What will these people be looking for? What search terms will they use when it comes to your product or site? Thinking of your main topic and head keywords will probably be quite easy, but finding your long-tail keywords may be a bit more challenging. Our plugin can help you with that!

Yoast SEO offers you suggestions for keyphrases related to your focus keyword. This tool is designed to help you use related keyphrases to strengthen your text, but can also be used to help you find those long-tail keywords. When you’re writing a post or page focused on one of the keywords you’ve already thought of, simply click the ‘Get related keyphrases’ button under your focus keyphrase-field. You’ll get a list of suggested related keyphrases that your audience uses, which can also be suitable long-tail keywords:

related keyphrase feature in Yoast SEO

The example above shows keyphrases related to the focus keyword [furniture recycled materials]. As you can see, the tool suggests related and more specific keyphrases that are actually being used by people searching online. It also shows you the search volume and search trend in the country of your choice. Quite a nifty tool right? So have a look at how the related keyphrase feature works!

The next step: awesome content

I hope this article has shown you the incredible potential of long-tail keywords. People using the terms of your mission and finding your website will be relatively small in volume, but these people do have the highest chances to buy your product or to become regular visitors. So making your website rank for a specific term can be quite profitable, but do make sure that this specific term closely resembles the product you’re selling to avoid disappointment.

You’ve already defined your mission, so let’s keep the momentum going! We still have some work to do before we can start with my favorite part of SEO: SEO copywriting. Before you start typing away at your awesome blog posts, make sure to check out the rest of the steps in our ultimate guide to keyword research:

Read on: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »



Source link : Yoast.com

How to Build AWESOME Backlinks in 2021 (9 Proven Strategies) – Backlinko

By | October 10, 2021


Ready to grab some quality backlinks and boost your site’s Google ranking?

Awesome!

This post contains 9 proven link building strategies that are working GREAT right now.

(In 2021)

Let’s get started!

1. Use Data to Get Links From News Sites and Blogs

In one of my recent guides I covered how to use HARO to become a source for reporters.

And that’s something you should DEFINITELY be doing.

But HARO connects you with journalists who are planning features in advance.

And what else do reporters do? They report the news of course! And news doesn’t work on a set schedule.

So… if there’s breaking news related to your niche, that’s a HUGE opportunity to pick up mentions and links.

Here’s what to do:

1. Monitor the news for new mentions of your site’s main topics

The easiest way to do that is by setting up a Google alert or BuzzSumo Alert.

Set up alerts

2. Reach out to reporters with added VALUE

If you’re going to get a link from a news site, you’re going to have to put in some work.

You have to provide real value to the reporter. And ideally, make their life easier.

Reaching out and saying “I see you wrote about this, I wrote about it too.” will quickly get you flagged as a spammer.

How do you provide value? Here are some ideas:

  1. Give them a quote with personal insight from your industry. Include your credentials.
  2. Offer unique data or statistics.
  3. Offer an alternative take.
  4. Create an infographic or custom visual that they can embed in their story.

Whichever way you go, there’s one thing that’s SUPER important…

You need to act FAST.

Today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s recycling. So ideally you want to reach out the same day that the news is breaking.

Pro tip: Create a personal black book of journalists who cover your industry. Then ping them as soon as you see a story breaking. That way you might catch them while they are still working on an article for publication.

2. Scale The Skyscraper Technique

Yup, skyscraper content is still my #1 go-to tactic for building high quality links.

In fact, this piece of Skyscraper Content that I published last year has already racked up 2,460 backlinks:

Ahrefs – Voice Search SEO Study – Backlinks

The best part? This approach is SUPER simple. In fact, it’s so simple, I can boil it down to just 3 steps:

  1. Find a popular piece of content in your niche. Hint: popular = lots of backlinks.
  2. Make something even better.
  3. Promote the heck out of it!

With that, here are a few extra tips to help you scale this strategy.

Find Popular Content

Your first point of call is Google. Search a popular keyword in your niche, and it’s a safe bet that the page ranking at #1 will have backlinks powering that #1 ranking.

"paleo diet tips" SERPs

But say you’re not sure which topic is going to be best for attracting links. Is there a way to take out the guesswork?

Yup.

(note: you’ll need an Ahrefs, Majestic or Moz account for this)

Ahrefs and other link analysis tools have a report called “Best by links”. This will show you the most linked to pages on any site. For example you can see that my Google Ranking Factors post has picked up links from over 5K domains!

Ahrefs – Best by links – Backlinko

So plug-in a competitor’s site, find their most popular pages, and you’re set. Easy peasy.

Make Something (a LOT) Better

Found a page to skyscraper? Great. Your next step is to create something even better.

But…

…making your page “a little” better isn’t going to cut it.

If you REALLY want to pull in those links you’re going to have to make something a LOT better.

In fact, I try to make my skyscraper content 5-10x better than the current top page.

How do I do it?

Easy. I work out what’s missing. Then, fill in those gaps.

Here are a few tips from my personal checklist:

  1. Does the ranking page go in-depth on the topic? If not, I’ll make sure I cover EVERYTHING it skipped.
  2. Is the ranking page text heavy? If so, I’ll include TONS of high quality images in my post to make it more visually appealing.
  3. Does the ranking page include video? If not I’ll add one to mine. In fact, I’ll probably do that anyway!
  4. Does the ranking page include 10 tips? Then I’ll include 20. Doubling is a good starting point.
  5. Does the ranking page include links to related resources? If not, I’ll make sure mine does.

I’ve yet to find a page that I can’t 10x with a little thought and a lot of hard work.

For example, a few months ago I noticed that most posts about “how to get more YouTube subscribers” sucked.

Specifically:

  • They were written by people that don’t have successful YouTube channels
  • They cited outdated strategies, techniques and features
  • They didn’t have any visuals to show you how to implement each strategy
  • They all regurgitated the same tired strategies

So I set out to create something WAY better.

Backlinko – How to get YouTube subscribers

Unlike the other posts that I read, my post had:

  • Real life examples of how I used the tips to grow my channel
  • New strategies that you couldn’t find anywhere else
  • Lots of screenshots and visuals to make the techniques easy to understand (and use)

Promote The Heck Out Of It

Reaching out to people you featured in your content is a good place to start with content promotion.

Besides that, here are some other tips:

  1. Reach out to people who linked to your competitor’s page.
  2. Reach out to people who commented on your competitor’s page.
  3. Reach out to people who shared your competitor’s page on social.
  4. Reach out to people who linked to other pages in the top 10.

Build a big prospect list… and go nuts!

Pro tip: Check out Skyscraper 2.0 to find out how to take this thing to the next level!

3. Moving Man Method 2.0

Nailed “The Moving Man Method”?

Here’s another way to nab quality links from outdated content.

(Moving Man Method 2.0)

This time… instead of focusing on businesses that have gone pop or rebranded, we’ll leverage outdated information.

Why? Because things change!

Here’s a super simple example.

Let’s say we had a page that ranked the most popular websites in the world.

Well, YouTube recently overtook Facebook as the second most visited website on the planet.

And guess what happened? Suddenly there were a TON of pages that contain outdated information:

Facebook – Second most visited

Over 11,000 of them to be precise!

(and that’s just one query)

So, we’ve now got a perfect “in”.

We can:

  1. Reach out to all the sites with the old info.
  2. Let them know that it’s changed.
  3. Point them to our own page while we’re there!

Pro Tip: If something has changed recently in your industry, then use Google’s **** function to find articles published prior to the change.

Google **** range

4. Double Down on Effective Content Formats

When it comes to creating content that will attract quality links I don’t like to rely on guesswork. And neither should you.

There are a number of proven content formats that people **** to link to:

  • List Posts
  • Quizzes
  • “Why” Posts
  • “How to” Posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos

That said, every industry is different. In your space videos might work best. And for others, it’s list posts.

So I recommend trying out a few different formats… and seeing what works best for you.

Then, double down on those formats.

Pro tip: Combine two or more of these formats into one piece. Hint: A “How To” post in list format, or a “Why” post with an infographic or video would do the trick.

5. Podcast Link Building

A few months ago I was checking out where one of the sites in my niche got their backlinks from.

And I noticed that a big chunk of their backlinks came from going on podcasts.

Ahrefs – Podcasts

So I decided to become a guest on as many podcasts as I could.

In fact, I appeared on over 50 podcasts over the next year and a half.

"brian dean podcast" SERPs

Not only did these podcasts send some serious traffic my way…

Serious traffic

But they resulted in tons of backlinks.

Tons of backlinks

So:

How do you find podcasts to go on?

First, grab a headshot of someone in your niche that goes on a lot of podcasts. Then, put their headshot into Google reverse image search.

And you’re set:

Rand Fishkin

6. Resource Page Link Building

What’s the purpose of a resource page? To link out to other useful pages!

And that’s a link builders dream.

All you gotta’ do is:

  1. Find em’.
  2. Make sure you have something that’s worthy of a link.
  3. Reach out.

I’ll be honest:

Finding them is probably the hardest part. So here are 10 advanced Google searches that will help:

  1. “{your keyword}” + inurl:resources
  2. “{your keyword}” + inurl:links
  3. “{your keyword}” + inurl:recommended
  4. “{your keyword}” + “top websites”
  5. “{your keyword}” + “top sites”
  6. “{your keyword}” + “recommended websites”
  7. “{your keyword}” + “recommended resources”
  8. “{your keyword}” + “further reading”
  9. “{your keyword}” + “recommended reading”
  10. “{your keyword}” + “useful sites”

Pro tip: Flipping this round, a well curated, super helpful resource page on your own site can be great for picking up quality links. You can even try reaching out to OTHER resource pages to suggest they link to YOUR resource page. Sounds a bit like Inception… but it works!

7. Unlinked Brand Mentions

If someone mentions your brand in an article, but doesn’t include a link, that’s a HUGE opportunity.

All you gotta do is reach out…

…and 9 times out 10 you’ll get a link.

I recommend setting up an alert for your brand name.

That way you’ll get a notification any time your business is mentioned on the web.

Notifications upon mention

Pro tip: Got a branded technique like “The Moving Man Method”? Then set-up an alert for that too!

8. Name Your Strategies

Heard of “The Moving Man Method” or “The Skyscraper Technique”?

Well… both those terms were coined by yours truly ?

Which means whenever someone is writing about them…

…I get another quality backlink!

Another quality backlink

Can you do the same?

Sure! All you have to do is:

  1. Figure out a process or strategy that’s unique to your business.
  2. Give it a catchy name.
  3. Write about it!

And it’s writing about the process that’s key. Because you’ll only get links if:

  1. Your strategy is SUPER useful.
  2. You can prove it works.

Which is why I always feature real life case studies when I reveal a new strategy or technique.

Backlinko – Skyscraper Technique 2.0

9. Two-Step Email Outreach

A softly, softly approach to outreach can often yield better results than straight asking for a link right off the bat.

Try using feeler emails like the one below to warm up your prospects:

Mike Bonadio – Feeler email

Pro tip: I also use this technique before launching a new post. I’ll reach out to a prospect and tell them what’s coming, then ask permission to send it their way when I publish. Most of the time the answer is a resounding YES! A little courtesy goes a long way in outreach.

Ready To Grab Some High Quality Backlinks?

All of the above tactics are tried and tested. And I’ve used them to grow Backlinko’s search traffic from ZERO to over 175,000 unique visits per month.

Bonus: they’re also 100% white hat. So no need to worry about getting slammed by a Google update.



Source link : Backlinko.com

Six content ideas to supercharge your marketing in 2021 – Search Engine Watch

By | October 10, 2021


30-second summary:

  • Keyword research is at the heart of understanding where your business stands and what your end-users expect
  • Surveying or monitoring your analytics is a great way of listening to your customers or readers for effective content ideas
  • Seasonality is a great way to find fresh content ideas by finding angles where your primary topic overlaps with seasonal interests
  • Collaborate and meet real people – use every opportunity (events, meetups, live sessions) to talk to people and listen to what they’d be interested in consuming
  • Use “question research” to understand the existing information gaps in the market
  • Re-package your old, better-performing content into new (updated) assets

If you feel like everything has already been written and you have no idea what else you can write about, here are six content ideas for you that help you come up with valuable and engaging content this year:

1. Use new keyword research tools

Keyword research is not just for SEO! They can give you in-depth insight into your audience’s interests, questions, and struggles. Research and address them in your content.

The key is to try a new tool from time to time. Why? Each tool uses a different data source or a different output or a different way to organize those keywords. Any of these will be enough to give you lots of content ideas.

Luckily, we have quite a few tools to choose from.

Kparser

This tool will give you pretty much everything you need to create a good topic list. Or at least point you in the right direction. Look at the left-hand channel to find popular concepts around your main topic and build your content around those!

Content ideas - keyword research toolsSource: Screenshot by the author

Kparser offers a premium version for $69 a month but I’ve always been using its free version which is great!

KeywordTool.io

KeywordTool.io allows access to lots of data sources, including Google, Youtube, Amazon, Instagram, and Twitter.

Amazon keywords - content ideas for marketing(Content ideas sourced from Amazon)

Source: Screenshot made by the author

The tool will give you lots of ideas for free but to see each keyword analysis, you need to upgrade to one of the listed plans.

Answer the Public

This one you may not have heard of. It features a man called ‘The Seeker’, who impatiently awaits your questions. You put in keywords or phrases, he suggests some interesting topics.

Apart from being a great keyword research tool, this one is also great for question research (see my #5 tip on the list!) Using different ways to group and organize your keyword lists will likely uncover more ideas. These grouping techniques include keyword clustering and semantic research.

Answer the PublicSource: Screenshot by the author

Answer the Public is freemium and comes at $79/month minimum if you pay for a year, but frankly I’ve never had to upgrade as the free version is simply awesome!

2. Turn to your actual customers for ideas

You know who you really need to listen to. Correct, your current and future customers. You want your content to make a difference for your bottom line, not just bring your word out there, no matter if anyone is there listening or not.

You don’t just want to be heard, you want to be heard by your target audience.

You can even gamify that process by building up your surveys with visualization tools, here are some extra tips on that.

You can offer a good mix of generic questions (like, ask about their lifestyle) which would help you build up your customers’ personas and target them better. Then come your brand-specific questions:

  • “What questions did you have when browsing our services?”
  • “Were they sufficiently covered on the site?”

The latter will help you improve your site performance too.

The cool thing is that you will also be able to use your survey results in site content and articles, making your site intent-rich, trustworthy, and linkable.

It’s also a wise idea to set up a well-defined routine to help you record your customers’ questions as they come. This will help you in both content planning and social media goals.

Slack is a nice tool to help your in-team communication and idea-sharing. Simply set up a separate Slack channel and encourage your customer and support team to send your customers’ questions there as soon as they come across any.

Using your web analytics is another way to listen to your customers and readers. Finteza is a great solution to better understand which content and on-page elements your site users respond to best. It supports a variety of events including mouse-overs, clicks, and downloads allowing you to measure which content does a better job engaging your readers:

Conversion funnels and content's role in itSource: Finteza

3. Take seasonal trends into account

There are holidays and seasonal trends to include in your content editorial plans. When you catch a trend, there’s always a huge boost of interactions, new followers, and clicks.

Using seasonal trends to create content ideas Source: Screenshot by the author

The great thing about seasonal trends is that you can plan your editorial calendar months in advance because they are easy to predict and repeat yearly. This means you’ll be able to re-use your calendar as a reference point to structure your seasonal content strategy and improvise for maximum success.

Simply sit down and plan your content assets for upcoming big holidays, seasonal events like spring cleaning season, summer holidays, Amazon Prime Day, and other noteworthy days that are relevant to your target customers.

Editorial calendar for roadmapSource: Screenshot by the author

You can use Google Spreadsheets to create your content roadmap. To better focus on ideation and get more inspired, I usually start with planning my seasonal content using a printable calendar which you can easily find using these steps.

There are handy calendar apps that can even integrate into WordPress to keep track of those holidays you may want to include in your social media editorial plan.

You can schedule social media updates as far as one year ahead to make sure there’s always something going on your brand channels no matter how busy you get.

4. Get out into the world

We have a tendency to look for our inspiration online because we are targeting an internet-based audience, which is totally understandable: you can discover so many wonderful topics on the web. It just isn’t the only place we can look and purely searching online actually limits our scope, and so our returns.

The most popular piece of content is one that comes from the real world. People **** personal stories!

Go out into the real world. Seek out events in your industry, or things that are tangentially related. Discover how everyday experiences connect to your niche and use your social media channels as a platform to explain and share with others.

Get out of cyberspace and into meet-space!

A good way is to engage with your local community (now in a safe and socially distanced way!)

This serves as a great way to understand the pulse of your audience/target customers, their intent, and personal experiences that impact their decisions. Plus, you also earn a chance to introduce new people to your brand.

You can also connect with other local brands, businesses, and business owners and potentially work out some topic ideas that way.

5. Find out what people are asking online

Question research offers a few important marketing opportunities:

  • Questions give you lots of insight into what your target audience is struggling with and how to best help them
  • Questions are your best content ideation source
  • Covering niche questions online opens up more organic search visibility opportunities including getting featured and ranking in “People Also Ask” results
  • Asking a question on social media is one of the most important ways to increase your social media engagement because whenever they see a question mark, people have that natural reflex to stop and find an answer

So ask questions on social media often and engage with answers you receive.

If you are open to trying tools to bolster this exercise, Text Optimizer is a smart option. All you Just type your keyword into its “Topic Ideas” section and it will generate a list of topic ideas for you:

Questions for research and content creationSource: Screenshot by the author

Every question is rated based on how many people are searching for it and how many sites are covering it – giving you a clear analysis of demand vs competition which informs your decision making.

The tool is paid and I am not aware of any alternatives. But the good thing is, question research will be mostly free. You will get some content ideas without the need to pay or register an account.

Quick tip: If you install their Google Chrome extension, most of that analysis will come for free as long as you use Google Chrome.

Source: Screenshot by the author

6. Learn the art of content re-packaging

Right off the bat, re-packaging content is going to be the best ****** in your arsenal. It takes what you already have and makes it stretch, getting more out of every piece you write. A lot of those prolific writers are using this tactic, albeit at its extreme. That is how they manage to get so much out without others writing for them.

So what does re-packaging content entail? It is creating new content directly from the old. Some ways to do that are:

  • Collecting articles into an ebook to give away on your site (As a bonus, this would also make a great lead magnet!)
  • Creating a webinar with the information you have written
  • Turning your content series into a (mini) email course
  • Creating newsletters
  • Recording a podcast with the old post content
  • Shooting a video with the old post content
  • Converting info from posts into infographics
  • Making a Slideshare presentation with condensed slides
  • Writing new posts based on small details mentioned in old posts that have been expanded

These are only a few examples, but you get a general idea. A piece of content should never remain on its own without some form of recycled item coming out of it.

Looking at that list of ideas for re-packaging old content, did any of them stand out as forms of media you have never tried before? It may be time to start expanding what you create and produce something brand new.

This will attract a new kind of audience, one that is drawn to the media in question. Do you usually write blog posts? Start making infographics or videos. Never done a Slideshare slideshow? Consider it now, and see if it gets any bites.

You will be able to recycle your content better this way, and it will keep you from being burnt out. That will inevitably have an impact on the speed and quality of your content creation.

Content ideation isn’t easy and moreover, it is a continuous struggle. Let’s hope these ideas will get you out of that writer’s block!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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Source link : Searchenginewatch.com

Tested: Is Wix Good For SEO In 2021? – SEO News

By | October 10, 2021


Wix On-page SEO Check

Wix has long had a bad rep for SEO. But in 2021 is that bad rep still justified?

This is the first post in a new series where we’ll be digging into the “out the box” on-page SEO of the world’s most popular CMS systems.

We’re primarily going to be focusing on what you can (or can’t) do in each CMS (which is directly comparable), and any inherent SEO problems or benefits we uncovered.

We’ve tried to keep each CMS as close to a clean install as possible. However, where there are widely adopted plugins (for example YOAST for WordPress, which is active on over 5 million sites) we’ve set up our tests sites with these “standard” plugins in place.

In our first CMS review we’ll be focusing on Wix, a CMS that continues to be popular with small businesses, and according to w3techs has a current market share of 2.5%.

Read on to discover:

  • how well setup for on-page SEO Wix is out the box,
  • how you can configure your Wix site to rank higher in Google,
  • the technical SEO issues we found on the platform

Let’s get started with a summary.

In Summary: Is Wix good for SEO?

The attraction of Wix — and the reason it’s so popular with small business owners — is that it’s ridiculously easy to set up a website. Sign up, click a few buttons on a wizard, pick a theme, and you can be up and running in an hour or so.

wix homepage

But it’s that inherent simplicity that makes Wix much less appealing to SEO professionals.

While the SEO basics (titles, meta tags, etc) are controllable, the platform (and the front end code it generates) is relatively rigid. Which makes deeper optimization and tinkering more challenging.

Speed is a particular problem. And one that’s going to become increasingly hard to ignore as Core Web Vitals comes into play this year.

We should point out however that Wix’s speed issues are primarily caused by:

  1. code bloat, and
  2. the blanket loading of scripts and styles (even if unutilised) sitewide.

This is a problem that’s shared by many leading WordPress page builders. So it’s not just a Wix issue.

And overall, Wix has come a long way in the past few years. It’s no longer the complete SEO bin fire that it has long been considered.

There’s a reasonably intuitive SEO wizard that will help with setting up some SEO basics, and you’ll be able to get your site indexed by Google pretty much instantly without having to leave the platform.

Bottom line:

We wouldn’t go as far as to say that Wix was “good” for SEO. But in a relatively uncompetitive niche, you should be able to optimize a Wix site sufficiently to rank on page one.

We’re going to cover in detail how Wix handles control of the SEO fundamentals.

But first, here’s a summary of our findings.

Wix SEO Scoring

Now let’s look at how we tested Wix, then get the bad stuff out of the way.

How we tested Wix for SEO optimization

We’ll start this section with a caveat.

We’re not Wix pros. And if you are, you may have solutions to some of the page speed and code bloat issues we identified.

So if you’re reading this and your mind is screaming “that’s easy to fix!” then don’t be shy. Leave a comment or drop us an email and we’d be glad to add your insight.

But we are experts in web development and SEO. And let’s be honest, most business owners who choose to use Wix for their website are going to be using it for the drag and drop, beginner-friendly functionality — so that’s what we’ve focused our findings on.

For testing, we set up a small Wix site on a custom domain using the Wix Business Unlimited plan.

wix business unlimited plan

The demo content loaded in was sufficient for testing, but we also messed around with layouts etc to see what we could:

  1. break
  2. improve

In addition, we also tested two of the most popular Wix templates (here).

The tests included manual review, running the Wix sites through our own SEO audit tool, and testing using third party tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

Wix SEO: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Before reviewing Wix’s control of on-page SEO factors, we’re going to cover some of the biggest SEO drawbacks we found on the platform. And we’ll also cover one of the major pluses we found.

Ugly: Speed matters in SEO, and Wix is lagging behind

Speed has been a confirmed SEO ranking factor since 2010 for desktop, and 2018 for mobile.

And with Core Web Vitals soon to be part of the algorithm, it’s going to become increasingly important.

Unfortunately — at least out the box — Wix’s loading speeds are less than ideal.

The homepage of our Wix test site scored just 37 on Google’s PageSpeed Insights. And it failed the Core Web Vitals “lab” measurable metrics Largest Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift.

wix pagespeed

A Time to Interactive of 13.9 seconds is particularly poor.

The cause?

Primarily a boatload of render-blocking Javascript.

wix render blocking javascript

Note: this was with minimal “apps” running on the site. The only ones we installed were “bookings” and “blog”. We’re pretty sure that if we added more apps things would get even worse.

wix apps

The homepage of our test site does have a few things going on which could slow things down (for example an image carousel). So let’s see how an extremely plain blog page does.

wix blog page speed

Not much better, but at least it passed Cumulative Layout Shift…

And we’re not exaggerating when we say the blog page is extremely plain. It really is just a white page with some text.

wix blog post

Which makes the Time to Interactive of 11.3 seconds… well…  horrendous.

So that’s our test site. Let’s see how two of the most popular Wix templates performed.

wix popular theme tests

In a nutshell:

S…L…O…W….

With a flexible CMS, particularly a self hosted one, there are many actions you can take to speed up a website. We covered 39 of them in this pagespeed guide.

But with Wix, it seems the majority of the scripts are part of the core, and there’s not a huge amount you can do about them.

Most Wix page speed guides we found (including Wix’s own speed optimization guide) focused on basics like:

  • optimizing images
  • minimizing animations
  • reducing styles and fonts

All good advice. But when your scripts are taking 2-4 seconds to load, it’s a bit like trying to chisel away at a mountain with a toothpick.

So it appears that Wix has some serious speed issues. But again, if you know of solutions then hit us up in the comments.

Bad: Wix’s page builder generates a ton of unnecessary code

Page builders are helpful.

They allow website owners without technical and coding skills to quickly create complex, visually appealing layouts.

Wix’s page builder is reasonably intuitive and offers a solid selection of pre-built templates.

wix editor

But like many page builders, it also generates a ton of unnecessary code on the front end (aka code bloat).

And all this extra code adds weight to a website, slowing it down.

Example?

Look at the following section from our test homepage.

wix section

It’s a heading (H2) and a paragraph.

So code wise, all we need is:

<h2>Seobility Yoga</h2>
<p>We are so glad…</p>

But here’s what Wix generates:

<div id="comp-kmap0icq3" class="_1Z_nJ" data-testid="richTextElement">
<h2 class="font_4" style="text-align:center;line-height:1.25em;font-size:72px">
<span class="color_11">
<span style="text-transform: uppercase;">SEOBILITY YOGA</span>
</span>
</h2>
</div>
<div id="comp-kmap0icq4" class="_1Z_nJ" data-testid="richTextElement">
<p class="font_9" style="text-align:center;line-height:1.875em;font-size:15px">
<span class="color_11">We are so glad...</span>
</p>
</div>

(At this point we were getting serious Microsoft FrontPage flashbacks…)

Breaking that down:

  • The h2 is wrapped in a div, and the text within the H2 is wrapped in 2 spans.
  • The paragraph is wrapped in a div, and the text within it is wrapped in a span
  • We also have inline styles (style=”text-align:center…)

It’s ugly. Completely unnecessary. And it’s what Wix’s page builder does for every element on a page.

You can imagine how quickly all this code bloat builds up.

The clean solution

Here’s how we’d do it if we were looking to generate clean, minimal, and importantly, reusable code for a:

  • green background section
  • white, center aligned text
  • a header transformed to uppercase
  • an max inner container width of 800px (responsive)

HTML

 <section class="green-panel">
<div class="inner-container">
<h2>Seobility Yoga</h2>
<p>We are so glad....</p>
</div>
</section>

CSS

<style>
.green-panel {
background:#298d74;
text-align:center;
padding:30px;
color:#fff;
}

.green-panel h2 {
text-transform:uppercase;
}

.inner-container {
max-width:800px;
margin-left:auto;
margin-right:auto;
}
</style>

We could reuse the green section in multiple locations on our site. And if we ever wanted to change how it looked, all we’d need to do is update the CSS and it would change site-wide.

Does code bloat impact on SEO?

Well, it certainly impacts speed. And we know speed matters.

But in our opinion (and it is an opinion) clean code may also help Google better understand the structure and content of a page.

Either way, the more code bloat, the slower the site. And Wix has a TON of code bloat.

In defence of Wix (kind of)

Once again, we’re going to stress that this is not a problem that’s unique to Wix.

Most (but not all) WordPress page builders also generate similar, messy, bloated, unoptimized code.

But multiple wrongs don’t make a right.

Wix’s code is messy. And it doesn’t really have to be. We hope that’s something they’ll address in the near future.

Good: Wix’s SEO wizard: The jewel in Wix’s SEO crown?

Wix are proud of their SEO wizard, calling it a

“step-by-step plan designed to help you improve your site’s SEO.”

Our view?

It’s useful to a degree (will help to highlight some basics you may have missed), but generally we prefer to go in page by page and optimize.

And we’d run an SEO audit — using Seobility of course —  to make sure we hadn’t missed anything.

Because Wix’s SEO wizard focuses on just a few SEO fundamentals (for example title tags), and really just makes sure you have them in place. You won’t get much feedback on how well they are optimized (and what you should do to improve them), or on other on-page SEO factors which may be holding back your site. So best you use our SEO audit tool to fully optimize your website.

But what we do like about the wizard is the simple integration with Google Search Console, and the (almost) instant indexing.

You’ll find the Wix SEO wizard under Marketing & SEO > Get Found on Google.

get found on google

Before you can connect to Google you’ll have to set up your home page’s meta description and title.

You’ll need those orange exclamation marks in the image below to turn into green checks.

wix seo wizard step 1

Wix’s SEO wizard will give you some suggestions. The title suggestions are not bad if a little dry.

wix seo wizard recommended titles

However, the recommended meta description was rather annoying as it wouldn’t let us proceed without including the business name in the description.

As the business name was already in the title we didn’t think this was necessary. And we know a thing or two about crafting SEO optimized meta descriptions.

wix meta description

But egos in check, and for the sake of testing, we submitted to the machine, and added the business name as requested. And we were now able to connect our site to Google.

wix connect site to google

Just a few clicks…

wix connecting site to google

…and we were done.

wix indexing soon

Search Console was all set up.

google search console

And within about ten minutes our homepage was indexed in Google.

site indexed by google

This isn’t exactly earth-shattering.

But for a non-technical small business owner, it’s certainly going to save some time figuring out how to verify and index a site.

So we’re giving some SEO props to Wix here.

On-Page SEO Fundamentals: How does Wix measure up?

Now let’s turn our attention to control of some of the fundamental on-page SEO factors.

Does Wix cover them all?

Pretty much. Although not always to the level we’d like to see.

Here’s our summary again.

Wix SEO Scoring

Note: having control of an SEO ranking factor is not equal to its optimization. While Wix will let you set (control) most of the important on-page factors, SEO audit tools like Seobility offer advice on how to properly optimize each element, and find errors in optimization which may be holding back your site. See our SEO audit guide for more information on how to fully optimize your website.

SEO Titles and Meta Descriptions

Control in Wix: Yes

A page’s title continues to be one of the most important on-page ranking factors. And a well-written meta description can help you get more click-throughs (although Google won’t always use it).

Wix gives you full control over SEO titles and meta descriptions for each page on your site.

Note: we’re working in the Wix Editor (rather than the ADI) for a little more control.

Just click the three dots for more options on the page you want to edit, then select SEO (Google).

wix seo editor

You’ll be able to edit the page’s title and meta description and preview how it will look in search.

wix edit title and meta description

Tip: for more advanced previewing (including mobile preview), check out our free SERP Snippet Generator tool.

You can also set default title and meta description formats (with custom variables) for pages in Marketing & SEO > SEO Tools > SEO Patterns.

default seo settings

The default format will be used if there is no custom title/description in place for a page.

It’s a useful fallback. But we recommend crafting an SEO optimized title and description for each page on your site.

Learn more about SEO Titles and Meta Descriptions

Page slug / URL

Control in Wix: yes

Wix used to create some seriously ugly URLs.

But these days, the platform gives you full control over the URLs (or slugs/permalinks) for each page on your site.

You can edit the slug on the same panel as the SEO title/meta description.

edit slug

We recommend creating short, descriptive, 2-3 word slugs, including the primary keyword (or phrase) for each page. Use hyphens to separate words.

In the example above, we changed the slug from offerings to yoga-classes. This should help Google understand that the page is a good fit for the keyword “yoga classes”.

Important: if you change the slug for a page, you’ll need to set up a 301 redirect to point the old URL to the new one. This guide from Wix covers how to do it.

Learn more about URL slugs/permalinks

Canonical URLs

Control in Wix: yes

On smaller sites, you probably won’t need to worry about this.

But if you have a series of similar pages on your site — i.e. targeting the same keywords, or with very small variations in content — there may be times when you’ll want to set a canonical (master) URL.

This helps to avoid duplicate content issues.

Either way, it’s good to have the option. And Wix lets you set the canonical URL for any page (or indeed disable it altogether) in the Advanced SEO tab.

edit canonical url

Learn more about canonical URLs

Index control (robots meta tag)

Control in Wix: Yes

Have a page you don’t want Google to index?

Wix makes it easy to add a “noindex” robots meta tag.

All you need to do is switch off the “Show this page in search results” button on the SEO (Google) panel…

wix noindex

…and Google should remove the page from their index the next time it’s crawled

Note: by default (when the button is on) Wix will include a robots meta tag set to “index” on each page. You can see a full list of Wix’s default SEO settings here.

Learn more about index control

Heading Tags (h1, h2, h3 etc)

Control in Wix: yes, but limited in blog editor

Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc) help Google understand the structure, and topic(s) of your page.

They should be properly nested.

For example, an h1 tag would generally be the main topic (level 1), an h2 could be a subtopic (level 2), and an h3 could be a sub-sub topic (level 3) etc:

<h1>Pets</h1> (topic of the page)

<h2>Goldfish</h2> (subtopic)

<h3>Caring for your goldfish</h3> (subtopic of goldfish)

<h4>Clean your fish’s tank regularly</h4> (subtopic of caring for your goldfish)

<h2>Cats</h2> (subtopic)

<h3>Caring for your cat</h3> (subtopic of cats)

In Wix’s page editor you can set heading tags from H1 to H6.

wix heading tags

However, when editing a blog post it appears Wix limits headings to H2 and H3.

blog heading tags

Why do they do that? Well, In this blog post Wix state:

“Wix uses only <H1> through <H3> to make things easier for users, and to keep your source codes neat and tidy.”

It’s certainly the case that users who don’t properly understand heading tags might use them for style rather than semantics/structure. But this is a big negative for us.

Why? Because it limits the ability of  Wix users to fully SEO optimize their content.

At Seobility we regularly go down to the H4 level in our blog posts and sometimes hit H5.

Structure is important for SEO — it allows Google to determine topics and subtopics. And with the recent release of Google’s passage ranking algorithm that importance is only likely to increase.

So we hope this is something that Wix will address in the near future.

Learn more about heading tags

Structured data (aka schema)

Control in Wix: yes

Structured data (also known as schema) can help Google understand:

  • the type of content on a page (i.e. recipe, review, product, article),
  • the entity behind the website (i.e. organization),
  • and can also be used to show additional search features (rich snippets)

If you’re not familiar with structured data and its impact on SEO, we recommend reading our rich snippets guide.

Wix allows you to add custom JSON-LD schema to any page through the editor.

add schema markup to wix

You can use this free tool to generate relevant schema markup for a page.

For blog posts, Wix will automatically generate BlogPosting schema.

blogpost schema

Learn more about structured data and rich snippets

Image SEO

Control in Wix: yes

The three most important elements of image SEO are:

  1. Alt text (description of the image for screen readers and search engines)
  2. File size (smaller = faster = better)
  3. File name (we recommend using descriptive file names)

Wix handles the first two elements well.

You’ve got full control of alt text.

wix alt text

And when you upload an image Wix will create (and serve) a WebP version — a lightweight image format that’s recommended by Google.

How about the file name?

The good news is that The WebP version retains the original file name.

So if you uploaded cat-on-the-moon.png, the WebP version generated by Wix will be cat-on-the-moon.webp.

The not so good news? Wix changes the file name of the original image you uploaded (in this case a PNG file) to a *** mess of letters and numbers.

In the image below you can see the PNG file name generated by Wix (first red box) and the WebP file name (second red box).

wix image file names

Does this matter?

Possibly not as Google images supports WebP. But we’d still rather they didn’t mess around with our optimized file names.

Grrrrr…

Still, it’s more an irritance than a flaw. And we’d say that Wix is relatively well set for image SEO.

Learn more about image SEO

HTTPS

Does Wix run over HTTPS? Yes

HTTPS has been a confirmed Google ranking signal since 2014.

And in 2021 there’s really no excuse for any site to still be running over HTTP. Notwithstanding any SEO benefits, it’s unsecure.

So we’re pleased to say that every Wix site (whether on a custom domain or not) runs on HTTPS.

Learn more about HTTPS

Robots.txt file

Control in Wix: yes

A robots.txt file allows you to stop search engine bots from accessing certain areas of your site.

For example, you might have a section with user-generated content that you don’t want to be crawled or indexed by Google.

Wix gives you full control of your robots.txt file in Marketing & SEO > SEO Tools > Robots.txt File Editor

edit robots.txt in wix

Learn more about Robots.txt

XML Sitemaps

Generated by Wix: yes

An XML sitemap helps Google find (and index) all the pages on your site.

Wix automatically sets up and maintains XML sitemaps for the various sections of your site (pages, blog posts, etc)…

wix sitemaps

…and when you use their SEO wizard, will also handle submitting the sitemaps to Google through Search Console.

sitemaps google search console

So all good here.

Learn more about XML Sitemaps

Bing Webmaster Tools verification

When discussing SEO we generally talk about Google. But of course, Google isn’t the only search engine.

So we also recommend setting up Bing Webmaster Tools and verifying your site.

Wix makes it easy to add your Bing Webmaster Tools verification tag (Marketing & SEO > SEO Tools > Site Verification).

bing site verification

And you can also verify your site with Yandex Webmaster, or add custom code if there’s another search engine not listed.

Is Wix mobile friendly?

One word answer: yes

When designing your site, there’s a good chance you’ll be focusing on how it looks on desktop.

But mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in 2017. And Google now prioritizes the mobile version of your site for crawling and indexing.

The good news is that Wix sites are fully responsive, and (speed issues notwithstanding) work well on mobile.

Just make sure to preview how your site looks on both desktop and mobile. And remember it’s the mobile version of your site that Google will index and rank. So if you have a feature that displays on desktop but not mobile, then Google won’t take it into account for rankings.

You can switch to mobile view by clicking the phone icon in the Wix editor.

wix mobile view

If Google does find any issues with the mobile version of your website, they’ll let you know in Search Console.

mobile issues - google search console

So keep an eye out. But generally, Wix is pretty strong here.

In conclusion: Wix SEO is getting better, but there’s still room for improvement

As we said in the summary, Wix has come a long way over the past few years, and they now cover control of most of the SEO basics reasonably well.

But speed and code bloat are major issues we hope they’ll address in the future.

And we think they just might do that. Because from their recent announcements, it seems like they’re serious about improving the platform’s SEO.

For example, back in February they revealed their new SEO advisory board on social media.

And just a few weeks ago they announced that Wix users will soon be able to manage their Google My Business profile from within the platform.

As local businesses make up a large part of Wix’s user base, that’s a HUGE announcement.

Finally, we’ll say that we do find many Wix sites are poorly optimized on a technical SEO level. But it seems that’s perhaps less a failing of the platform, and more an issue of website owners failing to use the tools available to them.

Sure, you can’t tinker quite to the level we’d like. And there are still issues. But we’re SEO geeks, and for most small businesses there’s plenty you can do to improve your technical SEO.

So our advice if you’re on Wix and looking to increase your search traffic is to:

  1. run a full SEO audit (you can follow this guide),
  2. allocate time to fixing issues and optimizing your site,
  3. focus in on creating high quality content that helps your users and fully answers their search queries,
  4. build your site’s authority by earning high quality backlinks (check out our recommended link building tactics here)

Over the coming weeks we’ll be reviewing the on-page SEO of four more popular CMS systems. We’ll then be comparing the SEO pros and cons of each CMS in a roundup post, where we’ll also reveal the best CMS for SEO in 2021. Sign up for our email list below to follow this series, and for loads more fresh SEO tips, tutorials, and guides straight to your inbox.

PS: Get blog updates straight to your inbox!

David McSweeney

David is our chief editor for expert SEO content at Seobility. Unsurprisingly he loves SEO and writing. He combines 20+ years of experience in SEO with the passion for teaching you guys how to optimize your websites the right way.





Source link : Seobility.net

SEO Clinic: Real Ways to Improve Your Local SEO

By | October 10, 2021


Digital marketers and SEO pros are always generous with knowledge and expertise-sharing. But it’s one thing to read a blog or watch a video about SEO. It’s another thing to see real SEO experts offer actionable and specific advice on an actual site. 

We thought so too. 

In this first episode of our “SEO Clinic” series, we have 5 local SEO experts sharing their advice on how a given site can amplify its organic presence across the local search. 

If you deal with local SEO and manage a local website, watch the videos below to learn how to:

  1. Optimize your site for local search.
  2. Run a full Google My Business audit.
  3. Build a local SEO strategy using insights from brand SERPs.
  4. Unwrap untapped content opportunities by analyzing competitors’ local keywords portfolio.

Let’s go! 

About the Site

We’ve had numerous review requests from businesses that have had a long-standing offline presence but are struggling with extending their offline authority to local search. 

We’ve picked JSK, a New York-based acupuncture clinic, to run a full local SEO audit of their website — https://www.jskacupuncture.com/.

Here’s a quick overview of how JSK’s site performance looked prior to the reviews.

JSK’s Organic Presence

Using insights from various Semrush tools, our experts got the following picture:

  • JSK only ranks for 13 keywords, with almost half of them indicating branded search, and the other half clearly pointing at local intent (search terms that include zip codes, New York, etc.).
  • Although JSK does have some rankings, its average SERP position is 44, meaning its website rarely comes up earlier than the fourth page of search results. 
  • JSK’s monthly traffic is barely ever going above zero, with some spikes during February and July 2021.
  •  As for local search specifics, JSK doesn’t win any local packs.
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This weak visibility and performance across organic search could be potentially linked back to issues with the website. So our experts used the Site Audit tool to assess how JSK’s website was doing in terms of site health.

JSK’s Site Health

JSK’s site health is at 87%, which is typically considered a good score. Being a small website that only has 6 pages, JSK doesn’t have that much space for errors. But the biggest problem with the site is that it doesn’t have much content, so there is not much for Google to work with and rank.

In terms of notable and impactful issues, JSK’s site does have a few errors that should be fixed:

  • 6 invalid structured data items;
  • 4 duplicate title tags (they don’t have many pages so this implies that almost all the site’s pages come with the same metadata);
  • Unminified JavaScript and CSS file (harder to fix as JSK’s site is run on Squarespace so they have less control over these issues);
  • 6 pages with low text-to-HTML ratio and low word count.
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Maximizing Your Site’s Visibility Across Local Search: 5 Approaches from 5 Leading Local SEO Experts

Using these preliminary insights, our five local SEO experts reviewed JSK’s site in regard to local SEO and shared their ideas on how JSK could run small tweaks to make improvements to its site’s presence across the local search.

Without any further ado, let’s dive right in!

#1. Quick Tweaks That Can Improve Your Local SEO Results by Peter Mead, an Independent SEO Consultant

Armed with insights from Semrush’s Site Audit tool and an overall website review, Peter Mead shares some achievable and effective pointers that can make a big difference to JSK’s local presence.

Watch the video below to see Peter show how to:

  • Check the overall site health, making sure you get rid of big issues that might impact your overall and local search performance.
  • Make the website more local-centric by adding a more descriptive contacts page (mentioning directions, subway proximity, etc.) and embedding a Google map right into the site. 
  • Boost your E-A-T score by filling the site with more content (e.g. an elaborate services page).
  • Send more local signals to Google (and users) by adding a phone number on Google My Business and having the key contact info points (business name, address, and phone number) at the footer of the page. This should help visitors (and Google) understand that you’re a location-specific business and can be relevant for their search query.

Connect with Peter Mead on Twitter

#2. How to Run a Google My Business Audit by Ben Fisher, Founder at Steady Demand 

Ben Fischer runs a 360° review of JSK’s Google My Business listing to pinpoint spaces for improvement.

Ben gives some effective tips on how JSK could amplify its presence within the local pack and GMB:

  • Add more images to Google My Business, including customer interactions, storefront, logo, etc. This adds up authority and trustworthiness to your listing, helping users make the decision to contact you or even book your service.
  • Always respond to customer reviews — this shows courtesy and helps customers-to-be understand that your business is up and running.
  • Make sure to add UTM parameters to any links coming from GMB (website, booking, etc). If you see a lot of people visiting your site from the listing, you can make better-informed marketing decisions (e.g. decide whether to invest in better photos or not).
  • Never leave a blank field within your GMB listing: do mention if you offer insurance, have a parking space, or wheelchair-accessible entrance. And definitely add an FAQ that tackles some of the top questions asked around your area of service.

Take a look at the video below to get even more tips for local search success — from how to leverage GMB’s posts space to bring in new customers to using Semrush’s Organic Research tool to uncover untapped local-specific keyword opportunities.

Connect with Ben Fischer on Twitter

#3. Building a Local SEO Strategy From the Brand SERP Outwards by Jason Barnard, the Brand SERP Guy at Kalicube

Jason Barnard takes a look and analyzes JSK’s brand SERP to show how the clinic can enhance its overall digital strategy which should also bring improvements to its presence in local search.

Some of Jason’s top tips on ways to enrich your brand SERP and positively affect a local business’s organic presence are:

  • Don’t disregard your presence across other review platforms. If your website doesn’t come with much content — just like JSK’s — pay attention to how you look across these platforms, as they tend to come up on the first pages of the search results. 
  • Add rich site links to help users navigate through your website more easily and direct them exactly where they intend to land (contact page, services page, etc.). 
  • Try to fill up as much SERP real estate as you can — by adding site links, having enough content to rank, and being present across social media (especially YouTube with its video boxes).

Tune in to the video below to also see Jason use Semrush’s Position Tracking tool to review JSK’s current rankings and pinpoint the wrong focus in its keyword strategy.

Connect with Jason Barnard on Twitter

#4. How to Improve Content Through Competitor Analysis by Amanda Jordan, Director of Local Search at Locomotive Agency

As JSK’s site doesn’t have much content, Amanda Jordan takes a look at its competitors to see how JSK can discover some untapped keyword and content opportunities. 

In the video below, Amanda reveals how to:

  • Find new ideas for content creation by using the Keyword Gap tool that reveals which keywords JSK could (and should) target based on competitors’ keyword strategy.
  • Get actionable insights from competitors’ content analysis, highlighting some of the top things to look at (meta tags, trust signals, local identifiers throughout the website, etc.).
  • Implement on-page improvements to go from having a website that only tackles branded search to a site that targets user intent.

Connect with Amanda Jordan on Twitter

#5. How to Optimize Your Site For Local Search by Carrie Hill, Local SEO Analyst at Sterling Sky

By running a quick website audit, keyword research, competitor research, and overall SERP review, Carrie Hill gives advice on how few on-page, local SEO, and content tweaks can help JSK improve its local rankings. 

The video below unwraps Carrie’s tips on how to:

  • Add more local signals to the main page (add more specific location identifiers — not just New York, but certain neighborhoods and radius areas JSK’s business can serve).
  • Enrich the website with more content by tackling related searches. The more content you add to the website, the more space you have to swoop in location references that are important to search engines.
  • Go smarter about competitive analysis by understanding the difference between organic and local search. Start with reviewing rivals that rank high in the local pack, and only then move on to competitors that beat you in organic search.

Connect with Carrie Hill on Twitter

Over to You

Our experts’ local SEO recommendations were insightful but JSK-specific. So they only touched upon local search tips that were applicable to the industry and the overall landscape JSK is in.

As you can see, even the smallest changes can already get your site going towards better performance in local search, but all the advice highlighted here is only the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to learn more about local search and maximize your local SEO efforts, make sure to go through the following posts:

  • If you’re new to the topic, this post covers all the local SEO basics, introducing you to the world of local search.
  • This post reveals the top 11 solutions for having a successful local presence across the web.
  • Use this ultimate local SEO checklist to ensure you’re doing the best you can to get better rankings, manage your online reputation, and amplify your customer acquisition strategy.

We hope the first episode of our “SEO Clinic” series came in useful and encouraged you to set up or revisit your local SEO success strategies. 

Make sure to stay tuned to our blog as there are more “SEO Clinic” episodes to come, each dedicated to various aspects of your visibility strategy. 

*Disclaimer: All the local search tips our experts shared in this post are only suggestions. Each site’s performance and opportunities heavily depend on the market, the competition, and other factors, so don’t simply follow these recommendations without taking a more nuanced approach to your digital strategy.





Source link : Semrush.com