All posts in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

How to defend yourself against an ongoing negative SEO campaign

You know what negative SEO is (and isn’t). You know how to audit your site to determine if you’ve been hit. You know how to protect yourself to limit your exposure. Now it is time to discuss how to defend yourself against an ongoing negative SEO campaign.

Who is attacking you?

There are a variety of ways to unmask the people targeting you and your site with a negative SEO attack. Some depend on the type of attack you’re experiencing. No matter how they are coming at you, you will need to collect some information in order to shut them down.

Let’s look at common attack methods and see how we can turn the tables and use what they’re doing to us — against them.

Inbound links
Using your favorite link analysis tool, you will need to segment the links you expect to have (your old links) to the new ones you believe are coming from an attack. This step is very easy to oversimplify because link scoring varies significantly, depending on your philosophy of links, risk tolerance and which tool you use to score links. The end result of this step is a list of links you think are part of an attack.

Check to see if the links being used against you are related or follow similar footprints:

  • Are you seeing a lot of links from low-quality blogs, scraper sites, bookmarking sites, wikis or directories?
  • Did a large number of new inbound links pop up at the same time?
  • Are a lot of your new links coming from the same IP address or countries?
  • Are the new links using the same anchors over and over?

This massive influx of inbound links can be the work of an individual or group using spam software. Spam software tends to leave some telltale traces, such as a high number of links using the same anchors or a concentration of links from a single specific footprint. An example of this might be links inserted in footers like this: “Powered by phpBB © 2000.”
If you were to look at your backlinks in your favorite link analysis tool, you might not immediately notice specific patterns or certain types of links. Look for unusual patterns such as adult and pharma anchor text phrases in new links, or a high volume of links you cannot attribute to any of your marketing activities. These types of links may indicate a negative SEO attack implemented by someone using a spam tool, or possibly someone using a network of sites.

Read more: How to defend yourself against an ongoing negative SEO campaign

 

How to Avoid 6 Common Web Design Mistakes That Hurt SEO

We can all agree that the best websites are designed for both users and search engines, right?

That means you never should sacrifice beauty over function, or vice versa.

Check your website for the following six common mistakes to see if your beautiful design is preventing your pages from ranking high in search engines.

Mistake 1: Missing H1 Tags (Especially on the Home Page)

Imagine entering a website with a nice background picture, a well thought out font, and an elaborate color scheme. It looks amazing. Browsing through feels like a walk in a beautiful garden.

Too bad nobody will find it in search engines.

Why? Because very often website designers and developers forget about essential SEO elements.

The most common offense is removing an H1 tag just because there is no place for it on the page.

The H1 tag is one of the first elements search engine crawlers will look at to determine what the page is about. Having this tag, and including your target keyword, improves your chances of ranking higher.

Here’s a website that has a clear H1 tag front and center:

Read more: How to Avoid 6 Common Web Design Mistakes That Hurt SEO

Use What Google Gives You To Create A Successful SEO Content Strategy

I’m a nerd who loves analytics. I’m also stingy and hate paying monthly for SaaS marketing tools. Fortunately, Google provides all the tools I need to succeed as a marketer without paying a dime or signing up for a free trial.

Below, I share how you can take what Google gives you to create a search engine optimization content strategy and market your business through content on your website.

Google Autocomplete Feature

Nothing gets our creative SEO content strategy juices flowing like Google autocomplete. This tool uses search predictions to suggest what other people are searching for based on the terms you are typing. In other words, it’s a search marketer’s dream. Begin by going to Google.com and typing out the main keywords associated with your product or service. Immediately you should begin seeing the top search predictions based on what other people are searching for.

For example, let’s take “dog food.” Autocomplete will suggest five search queries that are your starting point for an SEO content strategy. Examples: Dog food container. Dog food brands. Dog food coupons.

Take Google autocomplete one step further by typing in every letter of the alphabet after your main keywords. “Dog food a” produces queries like “dog food allergies” and “dog food analysis.” “Dog food b” produces suggestions like “dog food bowl” and “dog food brands.” Make a long list of all the autocomplete suggestions that make sense for your product or service. Spin these keywords into content ideas like “Five Tasty Dog Food Brands That Puppies Love.” Then, get to creating the content.

This search prediction tool uncovers long-tail keywords in an efficient and creative way. It’s a wonderful method to kick off any SEO content creation strategy.
Read more: Use What Google Gives You To Create A Successful SEO Content Strategy

 

SEO trends to prepare for in 2017

Search engine optimization is evolving at lightning speed. As 2016 begins to wind down, it is time to examine the digital marketing landscape for the upcoming year.

There have been numerous developments in SEO over the past 10 months. A lot of the prominent trends of 2016 will continue and grow in 2017. As Google’s algorithm updates constantly keep business owners on their toes, several other trends are expected to take shape in 2017.

Here are a few things look out for in the ensuing months:

Optimization for user intent
Although keywords are still important, typing in simple words yields simple results. Consumers today know exactly what they’re looking for, and search engines are getting much better at identifying user intent. Therefore, users are now entering full queries or phrases in search engines, which gather data and heuristics to provide results more effectively.

In 2017, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. For your SEO strategy, it will be critical to:

Investigate. What are users searching for that brings them to your page? What questions do they want your content to answer?
Optimize. Once you have gathered your research data and found areas that need work, make the changes needed to boost ratings. Based on your research, tell the consumer’s story by altering content to reflect the reader’s experience.
Adjust. Keep up with analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t so you can update accordingly.

More rich answers and snippets
We all turn to Google for answers. In response to our queries, Google will often display the required information directly in search results, along with other helpful websites, videos, movie or event information, reviews or specific dates.

Structured data markup (often referred to as “schema markup”) can help website owners achieve these enhanced listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). This markup works to assist search engines in understanding website content, allowing them to display that information in a way that is helpful for users.

For example, let’s say you ask Google for instructions for cooking meatloaf. The SERP features a rich answer (also known as a “direct answer” or “featured snippet”), followed by search listings that contain rich snippets relevant to recipes, such as reviews, ratings, cook time and calorie information:

Read more: SEO trends to prepare for in 2017

What we’ve learned about SEO in 2016

Since the inception of the search engine, SEO has been an important, yet often misunderstood industry. For some, these three little letters bring massive pain and frustration. For others, SEO has saved their business. One thing is for sure: having a clear and strategic search strategy is what often separates those who succeed from those who don’t.

As we wrap up 2016, let’s take a look at how the industry has grown and shifted over the past year, and then look ahead to 2017.

A growing industry
It was only a few years ago when the internet was pummeled with thousands of “SEO is Dead” posts. Well, here we are, and the industry is still as alive as ever. SEO’s reputation has grown over the past few years, due in great part to the awesome work of the real pros out there. Today, the industry is worth more than $65 billion. Companies large and small are seeing how a good search strategy has the power to change their business.

As search engines and users continue to evolve, SEO is no longer just an added service brought to you by freelance web designers. With the amount of data, knowledge, tools and experience out there, SEO has become a power industry all on its own.

Over the course of the year, my agency alone has earned a number of new contracts from other agencies that are no longer able to provide their own search efforts. A large divide between those that can deliver SEO and those that can’t is beginning to open up across the board.

The rise of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now prevalent in many of our lives. Google, IBM, Amazon and Apple are very active in developing and using Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). ANI can be used to automate repetitive tasks, like looking up product details, shipping dates and order histories and performing countless other customer requests.

The consumer is becoming more and more comfortable with this technology and has even grown to trust its results. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.

RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system, is now among the top three ranking signals for Google’s search algorithm. Why? Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches per a day, and 16 to 20 percent of those are unique queries that have never been searched before. To handle this, the team at Google has harnessed the power of machine learning to help deliver better results.

While we can’t “control” RankBrain, what we can do is learn more about how Google is using it and then help the tool by creating good content that earns shares and links, building connections with others in our niche or related niches, and building trust in very targeted topics.

We are still in the beginning stages of this technology, but as more and more homes become equipped with smart tools like Amazon Echo and Google Home, we can be sure that these tech giants will use the knowledge they gain from voice search to power their AI technology.

Read more: What we’ve learned about SEO in 2016

Forbes – 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a game that’s all about staying one step ahead of your opponents.

One of the best ways to accomplish this competitive dominance is to be aware of how search engines are changing, and adjust your content and SEO strategy before your competitors have a chance to catch up. The SEO industry is always moving, so it pays to be aware of these evolutions.

It looks like 2017 will be an interesting year for SEO, with the following trends dominating the arena:

1. The Rise of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs).

2. The Rise of “Dense” Content.

3. Machine Learning Will Change the Way the Algorithm Works.

4. Personal Branding Will Become an SEO Secret Weapon.

5. User Experience Optimization (UEO) Will Start to Blur the Lines with SEO.

6. Apps Will Feel the Love.

7. Personal Digital Assistants will Become More Sophisticated, Changing the Way Many of us Perform Search Queries.

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The four pillars of the future of SEO

SEO has come a long way from being all about on-page optimization, building backlinks and creating “relevant” content. When I read popular search engine blogs, I notice a definite trend: SEO is moving toward a more inclusive strategy that goes beyond new ways of link building or content marketing.

A huge part of present-day SEO practices is brand building and influencing search queries themselves, as opposed to starting with a truckload of keywords and creating content around them. Therefore, while links, keywords, content and site optimization remain the building blocks of SEO, the columns on which the edifice is being built are taking on a different appearance. Let’s see what these pillars are.

1. RankBrain
2. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
3. The Knowledge Graph & rich answers
4. Real-time, integrated penalty filters

Read more: The four pillars of the future of SEO

5 crucial steps to win at SEO

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of search engine optimization when it comes to online marketing. Google is many things, but it’s the company’s advertising business that pays for all of those moonshots. The fact remains that Google is the world’s largest advertising company, and if you’re looking to score high on its search engine results page (SERP), it’s worth listening to what Dan Clarke, founder and CEO of search agency Disruptient, has to say, noting that these 5 main principles are the guiding light behind all of TWP’s strategies.

  • Content is King
  • Quick Access
  • Unique url per content segment
  • External links are valuable
  • Do not try to fool Google

Dan was in Jakarta for the recently concluded Tech In Asia Jakarta 2015 conference, and shared advice, stories, and insights into how best to tackle SEO. Speaking to a packed room at the Marketing Stage, Dan summarized his entire advice with one golden rule: build websites for people, not for search engines.

“If you keep this rule at the forefront of your process, it automatically fulfills most of Google’s requirements for delivering quality results on their platform.” explains Dan. “Ranking first is not the sole factor, it’s about looking good as well. Google is now an ‘answers engine’ rather than a search engine.”

Read more: 5 crucial steps to win at SEO

7 SEO Elements to Boost Your B2B Campaign

In spite of ongoing search engine algorithm changes, few marketing experts would argue that the need for a keen understanding of SEO best practices has diminished over the years. If anything, the value of SEO knowledge and capabilities has increased.

At the same time, many non-experts mistakenly assume that there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to SEO. In fact, the practice varies in accordance with numerous factors, not all of which are obvious or intuitive.

Here’s the hard truth: B2B SEO campaigns are very different from B2C SEO campaigns.

If your company markets primarily to other businesses and their decision-makers, you need to follow a very different set of SEO best practices than companies marketing primarily to individual end-users.

These seven elements are critical to any B2B SEO campaign.

Read more: 7 SEO Elements to Boost Your B2B Campaign

4 Key Things Entrepreneurs Should Know Before Planning a SEO Budget

SEO is no magic bullet. You need to understand its key elements before entering into an SEO campaign.

The marketing industry is all about ideas and strategies. The options to promote brands are so diverse it can often overwhelm entrepreneurs. Moreover, each of these marketing platforms has its own advantages when it comes to helping your company to grow. That said, most startups can’t invest time and energy into all these marketing efforts due to budget constraints.

Businesses, large and small, should always plan and budget their marketing activities in advance to keep things under control. Yet, as a local search specialist, one area I continually see out-of-control expenses is SEO. One reason is that many find planning a marketing budget an elusive task. But this doesn’t need to be the case. All you need is a simple plan and budget that is easy to stick to.

Read more: 4 Key Things Entrepreneurs Should Know Before Planning a SEO Budget

 

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