1 Reasons to Migrate to WordPress (SEO In Mind, Of Course)- CMS leader

WordPress Website SEO: Top 25 Tips for Serious Optimization

WordPress Website SEO

WordPress is a very user-friendly content management system (CMS), but as a digital marketer, you’ve probably asked yourself, “can I do more to optimize my WordPress site?” The short answer is yes - and there are multiple ways to optimize the posts and pages of your website so you rank higher, which translates to higher ROI. 

We have collected 25 of the best tips to optimize your WordPress site in the search engine rankings.

Technical SEO Elements

1. Do Your Research Before Choosing a Host

Google takes speed into account for ranking, and online audiences become impatient notoriously quick. According to Sweor, 47% of website users expect a maximum of two seconds of loading time for an average website. Finding a host that doesn’t slow your website down is vital. This won’t always be the cheapest or most popular option, but you don’t want your website to be just like everyone else’s anyway, right?

Top 25 Tips for WordPress Website SEO Optimization- very user friendly

2. SEO-Friendly Theme

Many WordPress themes advertise a ton of functions you’ll probably never use. As a rational consumer, more seems to be better, but it’s not. Clunky iframes and excess PHP will only slow your site down. Find a WordPress theme that will keep things quick and you’ll find your site moving up in the search results.

3. Manually Change Default Permalink Settings

Permalinks are the permanent URLs for your site’s content. WordPress offers a variety of options for permalink structures, including using numbers, dates, and page titles in the URL. There are a few different philosophies on which is best, but it’s widely accepted that the title or main keywords, at least, should be included in the URL to send signals to the crawlers about the content’s main point, so choose one of the options that automatically includes the title.

4. Upload .xml Sitemap

Though not as important for search engine crawlers as they used to be, sitemaps are important for categorizing content, especially for larger sites - say 250 pages or more. An .xml sitemap also lets Google know which content is new, which is helpful as fresh content gets an edge in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

5. Customize Robots.txt

Robots.txt files give crawlers guidelines for what they should crawl and, more importantly, what they can and cannot index. Pages that you would not want to be accessed through search, such as pages that require logins or contain private information, can be noindexed in your robots.txt.

6. Noindex Duplicate Pages

Besides using the robots.txt, you can noindex pages right in their HTML headers using <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”> in the </head> section.

7. SEO Plug-Ins

A good plugin will often be able to take care of multiple SEO functions. Yoast SEO is one of the most trusted comprehensive plugins - we'd say a must for any WordPress website -  but there are also many plugins that are specific to various functions.

8. Maintain Plugins

Want to do everything you can to prevent your site from getting hacked? Keep your plugins updated. Along with being faster and more optimized, the latest versions of plugins are going to be less vulnerable to attacks.

9. Speed Up Your Site with Caching

Caching will increase your page loading time and WordPress provides a variety of plugins for this purpose- just make sure you choose one without too many extras you don’t need, but if you do, manually turn off the extraneous functions.

Top 25 Tips for WordPress Website SEO Optimization- website speed

10. CDN to Increase Speed

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are networks of proxy servers that are distributed large distances from one another. These can increase your websites speed by being more spatially relative to users accessing your website from different places.

11. Optimize Database

Optimizing your database gets rid of unnecessary data that can slow down the WordPress software. This can be done manually in the PHPMyAdmin tab or with a plugin that will delete old revisions, spam comments, previously saved drafts, and other bits of data that you don’t need.

12. Optimize Widgets

Many widgets render by loading javascript or CSS from external sources. By uploading the scripts or CSS directly to the server, thus serving them up from your own server, you don't have to rely on external servers, which can improve speed.

13. Rel=canonical

Use the rel=canonical function to reduce duplicate content. It is best to have unique content for each page, but there are certain cases when that is unrealistic or even impossible. For example, most websites will have a www. and a non-www. version, so one will need to be canonical to the other to prevent the appearance of duplicate content.

Top 25 Tips for WordPress Website SEO Optimization-prevent spam

On-Page Elements

14. Prevent Spam in the Comments

Bots leaving links to nefarious sites in the comments makes users annoyed and paranoid that your site isn’t secure. It can also have the whole page flagged as spam. You have your basic nofollow plugins to help with the later problem, but if you want a next level solution that will prevent bots from posting at all Cookies for Comments won’t let users that can’t be cookied to comment, as they are flagged as bots.

15. Optimize Images

I personally find optimizing images important, because alt text allows visually disabled users to have a full online experience by informing them of what the images are. But it also doubles as a great way to send more signals to the search engine about the theme of the page and can make the images searchable. Win win win!

16. Social Media Buttons

Posts that receive positive reactions from social media are favored by search engines and are more visible to users of social media, which results in more traffic, so integrate your social media buttons to make the whole transaction easier for your users and they will be more likely to do so.

17. Optimize for Mobile

Responsive Web Design creates flexibility in your web pages so that they can smoothly transition between desktop and mobile devices. Accelerated Mobile Pages are optimized for speed. Having your website optimized for mobile is more important than ever and can’t be overlooked.

18. Use Proper Headings

Header Tags are another ranking factor that benefits both users and crawlers. People skim articles, so making the information easily accessible can only help. Crawlers prioritize headers as more important, so be sure to include main keywords in them.

19. Rel=author Tag

With an account through the website you are publishing on or a verified Google+ account, implementing a rel=author tag can help you to get rich snippets for your posts, which increases the number of users that click on your link versus the others on the SERP. Here is the code, with the blank for the Google+ profile URL: <a href="_____"?rel=author?Google</a>

Content Elements

20. Long-Form Content When Possible

Since you’ve put this much effort into making a good WordPress website, it stands to reason that you’ll probably want to add content to it. This section will give you the skinny on what you should include in your blog posts.

21. High-Quality Content Ranks Better

SEO best practices dictate that content that is at least 600 words, well edited, and useful to your readers tends to be ranked better by search engines and maintain a longer time on page of the users.

22. Focus on Keywords

Research keywords that are specific to the topic you want to write about. You can choose 1-3 main keywords and then use a variety of similar keywords to round out your content without “keyword stuffing” your piece.

23. Internal Links

Internal links are links leading from one page on your website to other pages on your website. These are important because they allow search engine crawlers to understand the hierarchy of your website and users to find more information easily. The anchor text should include a keyword that is important for the page you are linking to.

Top 25 Tips for WordPress Website SEO Optimization-link building

24. External Links

Adding high-quality external links can improve the credibility of your website and potentially earn you a link back.

25. Frequent Posts

As mentioned above, search engines value fresh content, so make sure you update as frequently as possible to reap the benefits. This doesn’t mean you should post low-quality content, though. Content is king, so keep your posts high quality and your SEO game will be on point.

 


 

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Keyword research tool SEMrush

Best Keyword Research Tool 2019: Top 13 for SEOs

Keyword Research Tool Guide 2019: Which is Best for You?

Content is the backbone of quality SEO. This is an undisputed fact. As SEOs, we all want to create great content, and finding the right keywords is a major factor in deciding how to do that. But we often fall back on the same tools without really questioning what others exist.

I call this the Google Keyword Planner Trap. The reason most rely on KW planner? It’s from Google, showing keywords straight from the source, and provides traffic and difficulty data. That’s all great, but there’s an entire world out there beyond the comfortable, security blanket of Google tools.

It’s time to take that journey. Let’s compare some of the best keyword research tools of 2019, and find out which ones will work best for you. Not all are just for keyword research; some are also for analyzing competitor keyword ranking, which assist in your keyword research strategy. 

Spoiler Alert: It never hurts to use all the resources available to you.

Best Keyword Research Tool 2019: Top 13 for SEOs-tools make research simple

1. Google Keyword Planner

Let me start by backtracking. The Google Keyword Planner is definitely a great tool, but SEOs sometimes forget that its main purpose is to research for upping your paid traffic game with Google Ads. It’s technically free, but to get specific monthly keyword searches, you must create a larger account. Without one, you can only see general ranges for each keyword.

2. Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is yet another Google tool and provides endless information. And it’s free - but will only give you data for the websites you have attached to it. If you can’t afford other SEO tools, the information you can get from Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is excellent for strategizing (for example, finding keywords with high impressions and low click-through rates, and evaluating progress).

3. BrightEdge Data Cube

If you are looking for a comprehensive paid tool, BrightEdge provides keyword suggestions, competitive information, and more. They have everything that will help you find the search terms that will bring traffic to your website and implement the right strategy to do so.

4. SEMrush

A favorite among top digital marketers, including ContentMender. SEMrush’s keyword research tool dominates in the competitive keyword research field and provides a large range of keywords compared to other tools. It’s also very intuitive and takes little time to become accustomed to. Plus its popularity means that there are tons of tutorials on how to use it in creative ways.

Keyword research tool SEMrush
SEMrush Snapshot

5. Ahrefs

Another popular option, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer has all of the basic functions you look for in a keyword tool, plus you can see the percentage of searches that click, the keyword difficulty scores, and a SERP overview, which adds to its competitive abilities. Beyond keywords, Ahrefs is an incredible tool for backlink research. Search Engine Journal recently reported that Ahrefs had announced a plan to launch a new search engine; that takes much energy and skill, making Ahrefs a tool to certainly check out.

6. Moz

Moz Explorer is excellent for tracking, giving topic-related keyword suggestions, and finding keywords with low competition. Plus, their Mozbar tool makes SEO efficient and easy, showing the Domain Authority (DA) for every website in the search results. Moz has a wealth of useful tools, both free and paid, so find what is useful to you!

7. Keyword Tool.io

Keywordtool.io is best used to complement other keyword tools by providing long-tail variants of the target keywords you have already researched, allowing you to avoid keyword stuffing in favor of creating a well-rounded theme in your content. It’s also on the “more affordable” end of the spectrum.

8. KWFinder

KWFinder provides recommendations and separates them out into categories, one of which is questions. The ability to see the kinds of questions searchers are asking can give vital insight. 

9. Similarweb

If you are looking for traffic estimates, Similarweb is the tool for you. This tool is great for looking at what top keywords your compeitor is ranking for, and find any trends among the competitors. Find the keyword trends that will help your content marketing strategy excel.

best keyword tools spyfu
Spyfu Snapshot

10. SpyFu

For competitive keyword data, SpyFu has you covered. Their paid tool is particularly useful for PPC research, their SEO component is also quite thorough. The data you can uncover will make you feel like a private detective.

11. Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a really cool extension that provides the monthly keyword searches and lists of similar keywords of your search queries.

12. Soovle

Another extension, if you are looking for the CPC of keywords across various search engines, Soovle is here to help. Don’t be fooled by its old school appearance- the creators must have spent more time creating a quality product than updating the look because this tool is as good as it is underutilized.

13. Keyword Shitter

Great for content marketing, if you have a few seed keywords and want to find a huge variety of similar keyword ideas, plug them into this free tool. Don’t forget to check out the Keyword Shitter blog; it’s not always the most informative, but it does provide a moment of levity in your keyword search.

Concluding Thoughts

The tools that you use are unique to what you need. This keyword research tools comparison is a good starting point, but you will have to find what works for you. Let us know if you agree or what tools you find particularly useful.

 


 

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SEO Competitor Analysis: Using Research to Contend with the Best- competitor analysis.

SEO Competitor Analysis: 5 Simple Tips for Success

 SEO Competitor Analysis

Analyzing your competitors' websites is a great way to figure out tactics that work and gain valuable insight into how to outrank them.

By performing SEO competitor research, you can discover:

  • Important keyword trends
  • Organic search optimization tactics
  • Potential backlinks
  • Any blind spots in your SEO strategy

The first natural question is how do I research and analyze SEO competitors? 

 1. Identify Potential SEO Competitors

First, you must identify potential SEO competitors. When identifying SEO competitors, you need to be aware that the guidelines for which companies you’re competing with online are different than the guidelines for which companies that are considered competitors offline.

Online, your vying for top ranking Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and competing for keywords, which is why you should start your competitive research with keyword research.

SEO Competitor Analysis: Using Research to Contend with the Best- competitor analysis.

2. Brainstorm Keywords & Keyword Research

You won’t get too far in SEO without a good understanding of the importance of keywords - and this also applies competitive research. One of the best ways of discovering your direct competition is to determine who is ranking for the keywords you would like to target. Once you have this knowledge, you can create a strategy of how to overtake their rankings.

We have a more comprehensive overview of keyword research, but here’s an overview of what you want to look for to get the most out of your research.

Brainstorm keywords you would like to rank for and determine which are realistic. These will often be low-to-medium in difficulty, but feel free to leave in more competitive keywords to see how your website compares to the types of websites that are ranking for difficult words. Be sure to add related keywords, either from the Google Keyword Planner or other keyword tools like our favorite SEMRush to amplify your keyword list.

Another important avenue is to determine which keywords you are already ranking for, preferably on pages 2-5. These are generally the terms you can move higher - and make sure to research the competitors that are outranking you for those terms.

*These keywords won’t necessarily be your target keywords, but they are the seed keywords to use for competitive research.

If you don’t have access to SEO tools, you can manually search the keywords and take note of the websites that are on the first few organic search result pages. There are a few tools that will help expedite this process. SEMrush is excellent for this, as they have tools that will tell you who is ranking for the given keywords; provide related keyword recommendations; and also competitor suggestions based on your current website rankings.

 3. Brainstorm Competitors & Determine Validity

Now that you have competitors based on keywords and current rankings, you should add any industry competitors that you think could be valuable additions to your list. Validate whether these competitors are SEO competitors by checking their keyword positions and search traffic. If they outrank your website, but not by an excessive amount, they are considered your online competitors.

Websites that are ranking far better than yours or are pulling in a high amount more traffic than your website are not your direct competitors - yet. The purpose of your SEO competitor analysis should be to gain ideas on how to improve your SEO strategy. The strategies of major players are good to know, but their SEO won’t be as directly applicable to your current situation.

SEO Competitor Analysis: Using Research to Contend with the Best-determine validity

4. Evaluate & Compare

Now that you have your list of competitors, you can evaluate them and compare their stats to your website’s stats.

Competitor Keywords & Content

Not every ranking keyword is the result of intentional focus, but knowing which keywords your competitors are ranking for gives you a good idea.

Most keyword tools will tell you which page is ranking for each keyword, but you will want to get more in-depth. You can then use a tool, such as Moz’s Onpage Grader tool, manually read through their site, or complete a site search for those keywords to determine the type of content they are creating in that vertical that helped them to rank.

Evaluate your competitor’s keywords for the:

  • Type of keywords (long-tail or short-tail)
  • Relevance to the industry
  • How many are ranking and at what position in the search engine results page
  • What the search volume is for those keywords

Do your competitors have a universe of pages built around the keywords they are ranking for or one comprehensive page? Are they targeting general, high-volume keywords or specific, long-tail terms? Do they keep their content fresh, like with frequent blogs and updates, or is a detailed evergreen page the cornerstone of their website?

These are the types of questions you want to be able to answer.

 Page-Level SEO Comparison

Aside from content-based analysis, additional factors aid in ranking. It’s important to learn about the page-level strategies of your competitors.

You’ll want to get a qualitative account of the pages that are ranking for the chosen keyword. This includes page authority, number of external links, the quality of said links, and their anchor text. Check if they use headers properly and if the keywords are in their headers. The ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool is amazing for this purpose.

Pay attention to your competitors’ backlink profiles. They can tell you more than how your competitors managed to raise their own ranking, and what websites to target to build links back to your website. You're basically searching for potential backlink targets to add to your link building strategy.

 5. Additional SEO Competitor Analysis Factors

Check out the age of the website’s domain and the domain authority. Websites that are older and better established often rank better. There is not much you can do to compete with that directly, but it is important to know if it could be a factor in their success. Knowing the domain authority can let you know if the overall website had an effect on the individual page’s ranking or if it was purely page-level optimization. Keywords that low domain authority websites rank for are often easier targets.

Social media plays a huge role in the popularity of websites. If you find a website that isn’t ranking particularly well for anything but is still pulling in traffic, social media may be playing a major role. It is important to look into how much your competitors rely on social media because that can present an opportunity for you to gain visibility or even professional relationships.

SEO Competitor Analysis: Using Research to Contend with the Best-implement your findings and research

Time to Implement Your SEO Strategy

You asked yourself, “What are they doing?” Now answer, “Can I do it better?”

What you learned from your investigation should tell you how your competitors approach SEO, what worked for them, and what they are missing. Use that to tell you what you are missing and what you can do better than what they are doing.

Ranking high in the SERPs for keywords that will bring in qualified traffic is the goal of SEO. If you pay attention to the details, you can find more than meets the eye and begin to reverse engineer your way to the top with an SEO strategy that can take down the toughest competition.

Meta description: Gaining an edge on your competitors' SEO Strategies is going to move your keywords up in the search results. Here are five tips to get you started.


How to Plan Your SEO Keyword Strategy: 11 Tips- be exclusive with content and keywords

How to Plan Your SEO Keyword Strategy: 11 Tips

What's Your SEO Keyword Strategy? 11 Tips To Master the Task

There is more to a good SEO keyword strategy than picking some highly searched terms and sprinkling them around the page or blog post.

Having loads of keywords reaching the first page on Google isn’t even a surefire method to success. SEO strategies need to take every part of your website into account.

To best utilize your keyword strategies for organic search, you have to think of both on-page as well as a site-wide strategy to reach your target audience.

1. Set Your Goals; Plan Ahead

The first step to planning your SEO strategy is to figure out what it is that you want from your website. Are you offering a product or a service? Do you have an entertainment blog? An e-commerce site for a brick-and-mortar small business? An informational journal for scientific professionals? A B2B, B2C, C2C, etc.?

This will help to clarify your goals and how to achieve them. It’s best to try and figure out where you’d like to go, even if you have to alter your plan later. For example, when your site begins to perform well, you may want to add a merch section, even if you did not initially plan to be an e-commerce site.

How to Plan Your SEO Keyword Strategy: 11 Tips- think before setting goals

2. Understand the Importance of Search Intent

Now that you have thought out your goals, it’s time to reverse engineer them. A website selling sunglasses has a different audience and different needs than a website discussing the importance of protecting your eyes from UV rays.

This knowledge is important when researching keywords because each search query will have an understood intent by the search engines. Generally speaking, this will be the most popular use of the term, but not always.

The best way to get a feel for what the intent is known as is to search the term and see what type of pages are coming up.

3. Competitive Research

You can find out many things from researching your competitors, but there are some main factors to consider. First, your competitors should be representative of companies that are both in your vertical as well as at the same level or slightly above that of your website.

This can be determined by:

  • How long they were active
  • If they have a comparable amount of users
  • How well they are ranking for similar keywords

It can be prudent to aim higher than your website, looking at the tactics of websites ranking a few pages ahead of yours, but do not waste time comparing yourself to well-established brands right from the start.

You are not Walmart or Amazon and that is okay. Their goals are unrealistic for most business, therefore their tactics are good to know, but mostly irrelevant.

4. Research Related Vertical Keywords

Intent can be unexpected, so you should make a point of thinking outside of the proverbial box when it comes to research. People find websites in many ways.

Looking into related verticals can help you to find otherwise unthought of keywords with an overlap of intentions that can help users to find your website. They can also help to foster a grander sense of community, which is increasingly important from the social aspect of online marketing.

How to Plan Your SEO Keyword Strategy: 11 Tips-target high search volume

5. Target High Relevance Over High Search Volume

Another result of having intuitive search engines that have a better grasp of intent is that long tail keywords are becoming increasingly important. As a brick-and-mortar restaurant, ranking on the first search engine results page for the term “calzones” would be virtually useless when your audience is searching for “pizza San Diego” or “restaurants open after 9”.

The keywords to target are the ones that will generate leads, sales, and actual dollar values. Volume is still important, but as a secondary factor to intent and relevance.

6. Don’t Over-Rely on Keyword Planner

There are many keyword research tools and AdWords is a favorite for a reason. It gives information straight from Google, so it’s the most relevant information, right? Not always.

Unless you have a significant ad spend, you won’t have access to specific numbers, which is already a hindrance, but the bigger issue is that the keyword planner was designed with ads in mind, not SEO.

Be adventurous and branch out into different research tools and you will find much more information than with the keyword planner alone.

7. Think in Topics Rather Than Keywords

One of the best ways to make sure that you are finding the keywords to best serve your purpose is to cluster them into groups semantically. Let’s say your website is focused on animal care and you have to research keywords related to sheep.

The topics may be divided into health, feed, exercise, etc. to find relevant keywords, which you can research separately and form target keyword lists to use when planning and creating content. Blog posts that are divided by topic are more user-friendly and send clear signals to search engines.

How to Plan Your SEO Keyword Strategy: 11 Tips- be exclusive with content and keywords

8. From Keywords to Content

These lists of keywords are then used to build out your content strategy. Most websites benefit from the format of having generalized topics expand into more specific information, so keep that in mind when planning ahead by using the given keywords as guidelines. Create content that is both what your audience wants and optimized for search engines.

9. Be Exclusive

More isn’t always better, even when it comes to more keywords with more traffic. If the keywords do not have to do with the purpose your content, leave them out.

Keeping with the example from the previous entry, the term “sheep wool sweater” may be highly searched, but it doesn’t have anything to do with your topic, so you can exclude it.

10. Decide How Often to Use Each Keyword

The best way to prevent keyword stuffing is to plan ahead. Choose 1-3 focus keywords and decide a maximum amount of times they can be used in your article, then make sure your secondary terms are limited in use to a lesser number.

The focus or target keywords should also be used in the headers and titles, which are valued higher by search engine crawlers than plain text. And don’t forget to add them to meta descriptions. Although not a ranking factor, if someone is searching for that keyword and it’s in the meta description, the keyword will be bold. This helps attract attention quicker.

11. Review and Optimize

You found your focus, decided on goals, and researched keywords. Now it’s time to create your content because all of the research in the world is theoretical until you put it into action.

You can always go back and adjust after you analyze which search terms are showing movement, but the information from your Google Analytics and Google Search Console are invaluable to this process.

Some keywords just won’t move and some unexpected gems will show up. If you learn to adapt and keep a “never say die” attitude, you will be much better off in the long run.


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What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?

Content Evaluation: Should It Be Part of Your Digital Strategy?

What is Content Evaluation? Why Do I Need It?

Creating high-quality website content is paramount for success. And for long-term success, frequent content evaluations should be part of every process. 

Content evaluations are important for many reasons. They help:

  • Improve the quality of your content
  • Make you more efficient at creating content strategies
  • Lessen the anxiety that arrives with questioning if your content is good enough

And of course when done right, high-quality content can help your website rank better. With this many pros, you’ll be wondering why you weren’t evaluating your content already.

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy? content

What is Content Evaluation?

A content evaluation helps you determine if your content is high quality and if it will serve its purpose. This can mean different things to different people. You will have to learn when and how to personalize your methods, but a simple series of questions can help make determinations.

Before the internet writers reviewed their content using similar methods, but now we have the ability to share content and gather data more efficiently. Two parts of effective evaluations now exist: before and after posting. If you are interested in content marketing, you need to build an understanding of both - they can help you define the strengths and weaknesses of your content strategy.

How to Effectively Evaluate Content

Use the content evaluation whenever you have fresh content to post or old blogs to review.

First, select the questions that you find most important, then create a checklist or scorecard to keep track of the answers. I prefer to use an excel sheet because it allows for organization, easy updates, and color coding. Some people prefer to print out their articles and evaluations and use the old-fashioned red pen method.

Find what works best for you - and make it a continuous process.

Pre-Post Evaluation

If you have already included keyword research and optimization in your article, the evaluation is very similar to how content evaluations have been done for years. Following are some simple steps.

  • Step 1: "Classic" Editing Evolved

Step one will always be to edit your content for grammar, spelling, and other simple errors. For online readers, you have to take this one step further and ensure that your content isn’t merely readable, but that it is scannable. Most people do not read blog posts in their entirety anymore, but skim through to find the information they are looking for and then hone in on the specifics. This is important to remember because if they can’t find what they are looking for, they move on. Keep people on your page longer creating content that's easy to skim and digest.

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?- relevant audience

  • Step 2: Determine Purpose

What do you want the audience to “get” when they read your work? Does that point stand out? Is any of it unnecessary or confusing?

  • Step 3: Is It Audience Appropriate?

Who wants or needs this information? Is there any in-group jargon you should be using? Is it written at the level of the audience? You don’t need to sound like a Ph.D. candidate for a joke website, but you should sound professional for business-related sites and publications.

  • Step 4: Are You Providing Valuable Information?

Is your content useful to your audience? Is there information that can’t be found elsewhere or written in a way that clarifies complex ideas? Does it update or correct old information? Is it practical?

  • Step 5: Organization

Is the content displayed in an easy-to-understand way? Does the organization make sense for the purpose? If it’s history, is it chronological? If it’s selling something, can you easily find the pitch or is it cluttered? If it’s scientific, does it properly explain the progression from theory to conclusion? Can your audience find the main points at just a glance? How about the important keywords, concepts, and links? If not, you need to consider editing and organizing your piece of content.

Content-Based Search Engine Optimization

If you have not included any optimization, this section will get you started. For more, please check out our blog for more in-depth articles.

  • Live Links

It’s important to make sure all of your links are working. Too many dead links can affect the page’s ranking. It’s off-putting to users, because broken pages, even on other sites, reflect poorly on your own. This is something that needs to be reviewed consistently as websites are constantly crashing and pages are constantly being reformated. 

  • Don’t Keyword Stuff

This is advice that every SEO knows, but sometimes it's easily overlooked. Even if you researched dozens of keywords and variations to use, you shouldn’t repeat the same ones more than a few times in your content. It reads as spammy to crawlers and it reads as unnatural to humans.

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?-seo-content strategy

  • Be Natural

Another “obvious” suggestion that keywords don’t stand out in a sentence. If you write an educational blog post on Bengal tigers and determine “Bengal tigers eat” to be a highly searched term, you shouldn’t force that exact keyword into a sentence. In this case, you can slightly alter the term to make it more natural, such as “Bengal tigers like to eat…”.

  • Headers and Subheaders

You want to use headers and subheaders to make your content easy to read for humans and bots. Headers help with this by highlighting key parts of your post and separating the sections. Your blog post should only have one header one (H1) on the page and use header two’s and three’s (H2 and H3) to subdivide information.

By using keywords and other important terms in your headers, you can highlight them.

  • Front Load Important Information

Put the most important topics near the top. Once again, this benefits crawlers and humans alike. Crawlers put more value on the content that comes first and humans tend to skim, so information that is readily available will be read first. By bolding, italicizing, or highlighting important words and phrases, you can make sure your audience finds what they need - and quickly.

After Your Content has been Posted

It’s difficult to judge content by views. Multiple factors that can lead to someone clicking on to the page, many of which are not affected by the content itself. Even the average time on page function in Google Analytics isn’t infallible. The time is measured when the user clicks onto another page, so the last page is not measured accurately. Links provide a decent overview - but earning links is difficult even for fantastic content. Here's what else you can use.

  • Comment Section

One of the most direct ways to tell if people are engaging with your content is if they comment on it. Reading through the comments, you can tell if people are reacting positively; if there is any negative feedback that you can address; or if your website attracts mainly trolls and needs a revamp. Don’t forget that you can increase engagement by interacting with the comment section!

  • Social Media Shares

Social media shares are also good for showing audience engagement and purpose. There are many reasons people choose to share content and they will often write that reason right in the post, which makes it easy for you to discern the popular opinion and level of engagement. People share content that they are interested in; that they strongly agree or disagree with; that they find matches their own personality; or content that amuses them. Only you can decide which types you find acceptable for your brand. Even negative feedback has a place, particularly if your website deals in controversial opinions and stirring the pot.

You can utilize what you learn from the comments section and social media as inspiration for your content strategy.  

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?-share your content

  • A/B Testing

One of the great perks of internet content is that it is easier than ever to find out what works for your audience by using multivariate testing of your content. Simply put out two or more versions, tweaking the content or design of the page, and use Google Analytics or other SEO tools to determine which version is more engaging. If you ever watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, she tests out different punchlines to jokes to see which gets the most laughs. This is the online version.

  • Updates

Finally, make sure to check back on occasion to see if your content could use an update. Updating your content makes it more valuable to your audience and can increase their trust in your website. Furthermore, fresh content gets a boost, so if you can add in an update and repost, you can give that piece of content a boost.

The Value of Content Evaluations

While good content is rewarded for simply being good content, there is even more value to it than that. The Hummingbird update didn’t make the biggest splash, but it did implement some changes to favor quality content, which is easier to read and more engaging. Engagement can also help the SEO value of your content and the social value, both of which get more eyes on your blog posts and users to your website, which can quickly translate into stronger sales and a stronger bottome line.


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15 Advanced Keyword Research Tactics: Rank Higher-keywords

15 Advanced Keyword Research Tactics: Rank Higher

Advanced Keyword Research Tips

Now that you’re at a point in your digital journey that you understand the SEO basics, it’s time to learn some advanced keyword research techniques.

There are always ways to improve upon your research that expand from the highly technical procedures to the easy-to-miss tricks.

Use these tips to write great articles with strong content that is exactly what your audience is looking for.

1. Go Beyond Google

The first step in virtually every keyword research guide is to utilize Google Adwords and Google Keyword Planner. This is great advice, but it’s very limited because everyone is doing it. This can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of competitiveness among certain keywords.

Yes, it’s good data, but to really set yourself apart from the pack, you need to do more, use different tools, and think in innovative ways.

2. Finding Keywords That Work

Using tools only tells part of the story. Another way of researching difficulty is to determine the age of the pages ranking for the keywords you would like to rank for.

Younger sites that rank show which terms may be easier to attain, especially if the sites are not high authority. You can find when the site was founded using Whois.com.

On a similar note, you can find which keywords are optimal targets for lower authority sites by looking at rankings for recently posted pages. This is most relevant for pages that are approximately 3-10 weeks old. Any younger, and you’d have to account for the freshness peak that occurs with new posts.

15 Advanced Keyword Research Tactics: Rank Higher-keywords

3. Secondary Trend & Niche Topic Keywords

After you brainstorm what you would like to rank for and do your initial research, you may think that you have created a comprehensive list of possible keywords, but Google AdWords can only take you so far.

You can use popular websites, such as Wikipedia and Reddit, that aggregate information or allow for mass-discussions to take place to research similar topics and secondary trends to find potential keywords that you haven’t considered.

4. Use Advanced Search Operators to Find Smaller Blogs

Reddit is great, but it’s general.

To find topic-specific blogs that allow for commenting - and more opportunities for unique views and keyword possibilities - try putting the search term you are looking to expand upon along with a phrase that will specify sites that allow for these discussions, such as:

  • “Cajun cuisine” + “Powered by Disqus” or
  • “Vegetarian recipes” + “Powered by vbulletin”

5. Next-level Competitive Analysis

One advanced keyword research method that cannot be overlooked is a thorough competitive analysis. This might seem obvious, but it is easy to miss true competitors in lieu of websites that seem to be your direct competitors.

For example, if you run an online shop, you probably are not directly competing with the Amazons and Walmarts of the world. It’s always good to aim high, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by implementing techniques that only work for well-established, multi-billion dollar brands.

To determine your direct competitors, research some long tail keywords that you are already ranking for, even if they are multiple pages in. Then, search these keywords and see which websites are ahead of yours and pick out the ones that are near your website’s authority.

The final step is to put these websites into a research tool, such as the excellent ahrefs Site Explorer, to find out what other keywords that rank for. Since you are looking at websites that are similar to your own, the resulting keywords should be ones that you can realistically target.

15 Advanced Keyword Research Tactics: Rank Higher- analysis6. Intelligent Internal Links

Interlinking is important to consider in the structure of your website, but the anchor text is equally important. Long gone are the days of spamming every link to a page with the same anchor text to signal which keyword you’d like to rank for - but that doesn’t mean that there are not ways of utilizing your anchor text.

The anchor text leading into a page from different parts of your website should be representative of how the initial page flows into the destination. With that in mind, you'll find a multitude of keywords that work for your anchor text. After brainstorming how one page naturally flows into the next, continue to researching for more optimal keywords.

Anchor text can improve user engagement by providing a clear message of what the link is and why it is important to the main article, so be sure to use keywords that fit contextually and not just ones that are highly searched.

7. Expanding on What Works

Continuing from smart use of internal linking, there are other ways to reinforce and improve what you already have on your website. If you already have a page that is ranking well, you can research similar keywords that are either not ranking as well on the page or related topics that warrant further exploration and create additional pages from that research.

 

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Remember: Content is key. Using good anchor text to lead from an established page into an expansion on the topic can add substance and freshness to your website.

8. Exact vs. Total Daily Searches

Many tools provide a number of times a keyword is searched. This number generally refers to the number of times that exact keyword is searched, but if you want to see the bigger picture, there are tools that can help.

Wordpot is a tool that shows both exact daily searches as well as total daily searches. Total daily searches include all searches that have the keyword in it. For example, if the term is “new music,” the exact search will be the number of searches for just that keyword, but the total will include a summation of that along with searches such as “new music releases” or “2019 new music”.

Why is this important? It helps to clarify if there are viable long tail keywords that can amplify your effort.

9. Use Google Correlate

Another way to find related topics is to use Google Correlate. This undervalued tool reveals what keywords are searched during the same session. This can help you to find patterns and trends that you may not have thought of.

It also has a seasonality function that can show how keyword usage changes over time. A good example of how this is useful is to determine if a keyword is used for general knowledge or if it is a purpose based search.

Below is a comparative image of the searches for “motorcycle” compared to “used motorcycle”. Both terms peak in the spring and fall during fall, but the base term “motorcycle” is much steadier whereas “used motorcycle” has much more drastic changes.

This is because when people search for a used motorcycle, particularly during the spring when the weather is getting nicer, they most likely are looking to buy one, but the search term motorcycle can have many intentions.

15 Advanced Keyword Research Tactics: Rank Higher Google Correlate Example10. Track Internal Site Search

There are many ways to gain insight into what your audience wants, but few are as easy or comprehensive as simply analyzing what they are searching for on your site.

To state the obvious, the information you gain from your internal site search is going to be the most directly applicable to your site compared to researching general trends. Both have their place, but by analyzing the searches that the users of your site make, you are able to find what they think is missing, what they search for the most, and even what is difficult to find on your site.

In Google Analytics, go to standard reports, click on “Admin” in the top right, and go to the profile settings. In “Site Search Settings,” click “Do Track site Search” and add your search query parameter, which can be found by doing a site search and checking the URL, often s, search, q, or query followed by an equal sign (“=”).

Now you need to find out how your site identifies internal search terms. Your site uses what’s called a query parameter for this. We need to make sure Google Analytics knows to look for the same query parameter and identify them as internal search terms.

11. Research Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are keywords that often show up with the keywords that you are aiming for, but ones that you do not want. This tip is often PPC focused because you don’t want to waste money on ads that aren’t going to convert, but it’s always important to clarify your purpose for web crawlers.

One example would be if you are in fitness, you may want to exclude “free” from “exercise plan” from your keyword lists to ensure you are only targeting the right audience.

12. Determine Purpose

Who do you want to see your website and why? Become an actor for a moment and create the ideal website user. Get to know them as an individual. What else are they searching? What do they need answered? What do they waste their time with while browsing online?

Start to ask questions like these and use the answers as seeds to do more in-depth keyword research that gets to the core of your website’s purpose. Google is getting more and more intuitive, so by being able to provide more for your users and understanding the way that they act online strengthens your website as a whole.

13. Diversify Long- and Short-Tail Intelligently

Nothing in SEO is singular anymore. Even when researching keywords, you have to keep in mind the bigger picture. By having a slew of long- and short-tail keywords that you would like to target, you can map out your online structure as well as plan ahead a good content calendar.

How? Start short and go longer with, once again, well-planned interlinking strategies to have general overview pages flow into more specific sub-pages that target those more specific long-tail keywords.

14. Don’t Make Assumptions

Let’s say you do business in multiple areas and would like to target them separately- smart! You might do research on Chicago and find out that the most highly searched keywords searched in Chicago include the term “Chicago,” so you go with it.

That doesn’t mean that that can be used everywhere. Maybe in LA they are more likely to go with zip codes, because who wouldn’t love to remind themselves that they get to use “90210” in real life?

Then, there are hip places like Portland, Boston, and NYC that might use boroughs more often that city names in their searches. Assuming that every place or every type of person searches the same way is a shortcut, which can be fine, but doing deep research can give you an edge.

15 Advanced Keyword Research Tactics: Rank Higher-question everything

15. Question Everything

My final tip is one that is obvious, but easy to overlook during the hustle and bustle of maintaining your online presence: test. Is what you are doing working? Check in every month or quarter and see if there has been any progress.

Are you ranking better? Worse? Even declines can teach you something.

You could have been aiming for keywords that were too competitive or creating content that contained keywords but didn’t interest your audience. Figure out what’s working and tweak what’s not.

Try something weird every once in a while just to see what happens. Keyword research is a process and you’ll find out more from figuring out what works for your website that you ever could from raw data alone.


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