Category: SEO

13 Amazing Free Chrome Extensions For SEO

Every SEO tool is different.

Some have better keyword data, others have better link data,
others give better technical suggestions… in other words, there is no
perfect tool.

And I really mean that, even though I created Ubersuggest for you.

Plus paying for a handful of SEO tools can be expensive and
isn’t realistic.

But don’t worry, because today, I’m about to make your life a bit easier. Here are 13 free chrome extensions that will help you with your SEO.

What’s beautiful is that when you combine them all, you’ll have everything you need.

So here goes.

Extension #1: Keyword Surfer

It doesn’t matter if you use Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, or SEMrush…
there is one thing that all of those tools have in common.

You as a user have to keep going back to them to get the
keyword data you need.

Wouldn’t it be easier if you can get keyword insights and some backlink insights right in your Google browser?

With Keyword Surfer, you can get insights through Google’s interface. So, when you do a search for anything, you see the global search volume as well as the volume within your region.

On top of that, you’ll see a list of suggestions and search volume in the sidebar.

And if you scroll down a bit more you’ll see how many backlinks
each result has, which gives you a rough idea of how many links you need to
rank in the top 10.

Extension #2: Moz

Domain authority is a metric made up by Moz. Generally speaking, the higher your domain authority, the higher your rankings are.

Moz created a Chrome extension called Mozbar
that tells you the domain authority and page authority for any page on the web.

This extension is handy when you are browsing the web and
researching any potential competitors as it will quickly show you how you stack
up to them and as you are going through their site you can easily spot their
most authoritative pages that you need to analyze.

Extension #3: Similar Web

On the web, popularity is everything. We all want more
traffic.

Although more traffic doesn’t always mean more revenue, in
most cases it does.

Out of all the tools out there, I’ve found that Similar Web
gives the most accurate traffic estimations compared to anyone else.

Now with the Similar Web extension, you can get traffic data without going back to their site.

The first thing you can see with this extension is traffic
data for the last 6 months. It even breaks down the bounce rate, average pages
per visit, and visit duration.

And as you scroll down you’ll be able to see what countries the
visitors are coming from.

Last, but not least, it shows you the traffic makeup for each site as well. Is the traffic coming from search engines, social media, referral sources, or even direct traffic to the site?

Extension #4: Redirect Path

Redirect Path isn’t as well-known of an extension, but when you are doing technical SEO it is a must.

As time goes on, your URLs are going to change. Whether that is from a new structure or if you are deleting old content and consolidating your pages, this extension will tell you when something goes wrong.

Through Redirect Path, you can quickly see if a redirect is broken or working correctly.

Extension #5: Buzzsumo

Whether you love or hate Facebook, it’s still a popular site
that can drive a lot of traffic.

As you are surfing the web, you’ll naturally end up reading some articles. Some of them will be on your competitor’s site and you may be wondering if the article did well or not.

Using the Buzzsumo extension, you can see how many social shares a given article has as well as their backlinks.

You can even see all the most popular articles from that website based on social sharing and backlink count.

This will give you a good idea about the type of content you need to start producing.

Extension #6: Meta SEO Inspector

Errors can really kill your traffic.

The smallest things like your meta tags can have a big impact on your rankings, so you’ll want to make sure they are fully optimized.

Using Meta SEO Inspector, you can quickly see if your meta tags are set up correctly.

As you can see from the screenshot above, it reports errors.

With that example, I quickly learned that one of my pages doesn’t have an open graph meta tag. That means that when people share that page on the social web, it may not show up correctly, meaning I won’t get as much social media traffic.

Extension #7: Check My Links

Similar to the Redirect Path extension as you are spending more time doing technical SEO and analyzing your competition, the more link data you have the better.

And external links aren’t the only ones that can help boost
your rankings.

Knowing data on internal links is important as well.

Check
My Links
will give you all of the internal links numbers you need when
browsing any page on your site (or your competition’s).

And not only will you see an overview, but you can also get
details on the whole page as this extension highlights each link.

Extension #8: Pagespeed Insights

Load time doesn’t just impact conversions, it also impacts your rankings.

With nearly 60% of the searches being done from mobile devices, your load time is now more important than ever.

Through the Pagespeed Insights extension, you can quickly see what you need to do to improve your load time on any page on your site.

And if you see a score you don’t like, just click “need more” and it will take you to a detailed report that will give you feedback like this:

When you find a lot of errors, you’ll want to fix them as
over time it will boost your rankings.

Extension #9: SEO Minion

SEO is all about the long game.

If you just spend 10 minutes a day making improvements, it can have a huge impact on your traffic a year down the road.

An easy way to get work done each day is through SEO
Minion
.

One task that I have my team constantly look at through SEO Minion is broken links.

You’ll want to fix any on your website. In addition, you can use it to find broken links on other websites and then hit them up to replace the broken link to one from your site.

Another way to grow your SEO traffic is by translating your content into other languages.

This extension also breaks down hreflang data, which is needed when you are targeting other regions and languages.

You’ll be given data on your on-page SEO.

Extension #10: SEOquake

SEOquake is the easiest way to get a detailed overview of your site.

The extension provides a detailed overview of things like your Alexa rank, indexing information for Google and Bing as well as your SEMrush rank.

From there, you can dive into specific reports such as a density or diagnosis report.

The density report breaks down the keyword density on any
given page.

You don’t need to obsess about keyword density, but in general, if you don’t mention a keyword that you want to rank for then chances are you won’t rank for it.

The diagnosis report breaks down on-page SEO elements on any given page.

And the most used feature of SEOquake is when you perform a
Google search. You’re given information on every site that ranks.

Extension #11: Ninja Outreach

No matter how much on-page SEO you do, you won’t rank well if you don’t build any links.

I know you hate this part of SEO, but manual outreach is one of the best ways to build links even though it is tedious.

One way to make it easier is through Ninja
Outreach
. This extension shows you all of the email addresses associated
with a given domain.

Once you find a relevant site that you want to approach for
a backlink opportunity, you can get their contact information through a click
of a button and start crafting your custom email.

Extension #12: Keywords Everywhere

This is probably the most popular extension out there for
SEOs.

Keywords Everywhere is great for anyone who is doing keyword research.

Just go to Google and type in any keyword that you are interested in going after. Keywords Everywhere will show you a laundry list of other related terms that you can go after as well.

You can quickly export the list and then compile a master
list of keywords that are worth targeting.

What’s convenient about Keywords Everywhere is the data is
provided right within Google versus having to go to a specific tool.

Extension #13: Fatrank

Although it is a bad habit, as SEOs, we all obsess about rankings.

If you want an easy and free way to track your rankings, just set up a project on Ubersuggest.

Another easy solution to see how you are ranking is by using
Fatrank.

All you have to do is head to your site, click on the Fatrank extension, and type in a keyword to see if you rank for it.

If you rank in the top 100, it will tell you the exact
position.

If you don’t, it will let you know that you don’t rank in
the top 100.

I use this as a spot check to make sure I am doing decently
well after a major Google
algorithm
update.

Conclusion

There are a lot of options when it comes to SEO. You just
have to find the ones that work well for you.

An easy place to start is with the extensions I mentioned
above.

You don’t have to use all of them as it may be a bit
overkill… but you can use any one of them or a combination to make sure your
site is optimized.

What do you have to lose? Test them out as they are free.

What other Chrome extensions do you use on a regular basis?

The post 13 Amazing Free Chrome Extensions For SEO appeared first on Neil Patel.

1,083,219 People Per Month and Counting: My New Favorite SEO Strategy

Podcasting.

You’ve heard about it before and I bet you’ve even listened to a handful of podcasts. But you probably haven’t created one yet.

Just think of it this way…

There are over 1 billion blogs and roughly 7 billion people
in this world. That’s 1 blog for every 7 people…

On the other hand, there are roughly 700,000 podcasts. That means there is only 1 podcast for every 10,000 people or so.

Podcasting is 1,428 times less competitive than blogging.

So, should you waste your time on podcasting?

Well, let me ask you this… do you want a new way to get more organic traffic from Google?

I’m guessing you said yes. But before I teach you how to do that, let me first break down some podcasting stats for you, in case you aren’t convinced yet.

Is podcasting even worth it?

From a marketing and monetization standpoint, podcasting isn’t too bad.

I have a podcast called Marketing School that I do with my buddy Eric Siu. We haven’t done much to market it and over time it’s grown naturally.

Here are the stats for the last month.

We got 1,083,219 downloads or “listens” last month. To give you an idea of what that is worth, Dream Host paid us $60,000 for an ad spot…

They’ve also been paying us for a while, technically we have a 1-year contract worth $720,000.

Now on top of the ad money, Eric and I both have gotten clients from our podcast. It’s tough to say how much revenue we’ve made from the podcast outside of advertising, but it is easy to say somewhere in the 7-figure range.

Keep in mind, when I make money through ads or generate revenue for my ad agency, there are costs so by no means does that revenue mean profit.

Sadly, my expenses are really high, but I’ll save that for a
different post.

But here is the cool thing: Eric and I only spend 3 hours a month to record podcast episodes for the entire month. So, the financial return for how much time we are spending is high.

And if that doesn’t convince you that you need to get into podcasting, here are some other stats that may:

  • 32% of Americans listen to a podcast at least
    once a month.
  • 54% of listeners think about buying products advertised
    in podcasts.
  • Businesses spent $497 million on podcast ads in
    2018 (probably much larger now).
  • 51%
    of monthly active podcast listeners
    have an annual household income of at
    least $75,000.

If you haven’t created a podcast, this guide will
teach you how
. And this
one
will teach you how to get your first 10,000 downloads.

Alright, and now for the interesting part…

How to get more SEO traffic through podcasting

Back in 2019, Google saw how podcasts were growing at a rapid pace and they didn’t want to miss out.

They wanted people to continually use Google, even when it came to learning information that is given over audio format. So they decided to make a change to their search engine and algorithm and started to index podcasts and rank them.

And depending on what you search for and the more specific you get, you’ll even notice that Google is pulling out details from specific episodes. This clearly shows that they are able to transcribe the audio automatically.

This shouldn’t be too much of a shocker as they’ve already had this technology for years. They use it on YouTube to figure out what a video is really about.

But here is the thing, just recording a podcast and putting
it out there isn’t going to get you a ton of search traffic.

So how do you get more SEO traffic to your podcast?

It starts with topics

Podcasting is a lot like blogging.

If you create a blog post on any random topic that no one
cares to read about, then you aren’t going to generate much traffic… whether it
is from social or search.

The same goes for podcasting. If you have an episode on a random topic that no one cares to listen to, then you won’t get many downloads (or listens) and very little SEO traffic as well.

Just look at the stats for a few of our episodes.

Look at the screenshot above, you’ll see some do better than
others.

For example, the episode on “7 Secrets to Selling High Ticket Items” didn’t do as well as “The 7 Best Marketing Conferences 2020” or even “How to Drive More Paid Signups In Your Funnel.”

You won’t always be able to produce a hit for every podcast
you release, but there is a simple strategy you can use to increase your success
rate.

First, go to Ubersuggest
and type in a keyword or phrase related to what your podcast is about.

Once you type in your keyword or phrase, hit search.

You’ll land on a screen that looks something like this:

Then in the left-hand navigation, click on the “Content Ideas” option.

From there, you’ll see a list of popular topics on the subject you are researching.

This report breaks down popular blog posts based on social shares, SEO traffic, and backlinks.

Typically, if a blog post has all 3, that means people like the topic. Even if it has only 2 out of the 3, it shows that people are interested in the topic.

What we’ve found is that if a topic has done well as a blog post, it usually does well as a podcast episode.

See with the web, there are so many blogs, most topics have been beaten to death. But with podcasting, it is the opposite. Because there are very few podcasts, most topics haven’t been covered.

And if you take those beaten-to-death blog topics and turn them into podcast episodes, it is considered new, fresh content that people want to hear. And they tend to do really well.

Now you have to dive into keywords

Hopefully, you are still on the content ideas report and you’ve found some ideas to go after.

If not, just scroll down to the bottom of the Content Ideas report and keep clicking next… even if only a few numbers show, don’t worry, there are millions of results and as you go to the next page, more pages will show up.

Once you find a topic, I want you to click the “Keywords” button under the “Estimated Visits” column.

This will give you more specific keywords to mention and so you can go even more in-depth during your podcast episode.

Remember that Google is able to decipher your audio and knows what topics and keywords you are covering.

So, when you mention a keyword within your podcast, your podcast episode is more likely to rank for that keyword or phrase.

But there are a few things I’ve learned through this whole process:

  1. You don’t have to keyword stuff – you don’t have to mention a keyword 100 times or anything crazy if you want to rank well organically. Mention it whenever it is natural.
  2. Episodes titles that contain popular keywords tend to do better – do your keyword research and include the right keywords within your title (I’ll show you how in a bit).
  3. Episode titles that contain questions do well – eventually, you’ll also see these episodes perform even better because when people ask questions in the future on smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home, you’ll eventually start to see them pull from podcasts.

So how do you find the right keywords and questions to
incorporate into your podcasts?

Head back to Ubersuggest and type in a keyword or phrase related to a podcast episode you want to create. This should be a bit easier now because you’ve already leveraged the Content Ideas report to come up with popular topics that people want to hear about. 😉

This time, I want you to click on the “Keyword Ideas” report in the left-hand navigation.

You’ll then see a list of suggestions that look something like this.

As you scroll down, you’ll continually see more and more keywords.

Don’t worry about the CPC data, but you will want to look at the SEO difficulty score as the easier the score the better chances you will have of ranking your podcast episode on Google. Also, look at search volume… the higher the number the better as that means more potential listens.

My recommendation for you is to target keywords and phrases that have an SEO difficulty of 40 or less.

Once you have a list of keywords, I want you to click on the “Related” navigational link on that report.

Now, you’ll see a much bigger keyword list.

In this case, you’ll see 405,513 related keywords that you can target. Again, ignore the CPC data but target keywords with an SEO difficulty of 40 or less and the more popular the keyword the better.

Lastly, I want you to click on the “Questions” navigational link…

Then scroll through the list and you’ll see a list of
questions that you can target.

According to Comscore, over 50% of the searches are voice searches. A large portion of those are questions, so covering them within your podcast or even labeling your titles based on questions is a great way to get more traffic.

If you don’t think going after questions is a good strategy
to get more traffic, just look at Quora.

With roughly 111,114,424 estimated visits a month from Google, Quora is getting a lot of traffic by optimizing their site for question-related keywords.

Conclusion

Google
is the most popular site in the world
. Whether you love SEO or hate it, you
have no choice but to leverage it.

One way to get more SEO traffic is to write tons of content and leverage content marketing. It’s a competitive approach and you should consider it.

But another solution that’s even easier is to create a podcast and rank it well on Google.

And ideally, you should be doing both.

Do you have a podcast? Have you tried ranking audio
content on Google?

The post 1,083,219 People Per Month and Counting: My New Favorite SEO Strategy appeared first on Neil Patel.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Your SEO Traffic Using Ubersuggest

There are a lot of tools out there and a ton of SEO reports.

But when you use them, what happens?

You get lost, right?

Don’t worry, that’s normal (sadly). And maybe one day I will
be able to fix that.

But for now, the next best thing I can do is teach you how to grow your SEO traffic using Ubersuggest. This way, you know exactly what to do, even if you have never done any SEO.

Here we go…

Step #1: Create a project

Head over to the Ubersuggest dashboard and
register for a free account.

Once you do that, I want you to click on “Add Your First Project.”

Next, add your URL and the name of your website.

Then pick the main country or city that you do business in. If you are a national business, then type in the country you are in. If you are a local business, type in your city and click “Next.”

If you do business in multiple countries or cities, you can type them in one at a time and select each country or city.

Assuming you have your site connected to Google Search Console, you’ll see a list of keywords that you can automatically track on the left-hand side. Aside from tracking any of those, you can track others as well. Just type in the keywords you want to track in the box and hit the “Enter” key.

After hitting the “Next” button, you will be taken to your dashboard. It may take a minute but your dashboard will look something like this:

Click on the “Tracked Keywords” box and load your website profile.

What’s cool about this report is that you can see your rankings
over time both on mobile and desktop devices. This is important because Google
has a mobile index, which means your rankings are probably slightly different
on mobile devices than desktop.

If you want to see how you are ranking on Google’s mobile index, you just have to click the “Mobile” icon.

The report is self-explanatory. It shows your rankings over time for any keyword you are tracking. You can always add more keywords and even switch between locations.

For example, as of writing this blog post, I rank number 4 on desktop devices for the term “SEO” in the United States. In the United Kingdom, though, I rank number 16. Looks like I need to work on that. 😉

What’s cool about this report is you can drill down on any
keyword and track your rankings over time. For example, here’s what my site
looks like now…

The purpose of this report is to track your SEO progress. If you are heading in the right direction, your rankings should be going up over time.

Sure, some weeks your rankings will be up and other weeks it
will be down, but over time you should see them climb.

Step #2: Fixing your SEO errors

Once you have created your first project, it’s time to improve your rankings.

Let’s first start off by going to the “Site Audit” report. In the navigation, click on the “Site Audit” button.

Once you are there, type in your URL and click the “Search” button.

It can take a few minutes to run the report, but once it is
done it will look something like this.

Your goal is to optimize your site for as high as an SEO score as possible. Ideally, you want to be reaching for 90 or higher.

Keep in mind that as you add more pages to your site and it gets bigger, it will be increasingly harder to achieve a 90+ score. So, for sites that have more than a few hundred pages, shoot for a score that is at least 80.

As you can see above, I’m getting close to the 80 mark, so I’ll have to get my team to go in and fix some of my errors and warnings.

When looking at this report, you’ll want to fix your critical errors first, then your warnings if you have time. Eventually, you want to consider fixing the recommendations as well.

Click on “Critical Errors” if you have any. If not, click on the Warnings” option. You’ll see a report that looks something like this:

Your errors are probably going to be different than mine, but your report will look similar.

Click through on the first issue on the report and work your way down. The report sorts the results based on impact. The ones at the top should be fixed first as they will have the highest chance of making an impact on your traffic.

If you aren’t sure of what to do or how to fix the issue, just click on the “What Is This” and “How Do I Fix It” prompts.

Again, you will want to do this for all of your critical
errors and warnings.

Once you do that, go back to the “Site Audit” report and scroll down to where you see your site speed results.

Your goal should be to get an “Excellent” ranking for both mobile and desktop devices. If you are struggling to do this, check out Pagespeed Insights by Google as it will give you a detailed explanation of what to fix.

If you are like me, you probably will need someone to help
you out with this. You can always find a developer from Upwork and pay them 50 to 100 dollars to fix
your issues.

After you fix your errors, you’ll want to double-check to make sure you did them right. Click on the “Recrawl Website” button to have Ubersuggest recrawl your site and double-check that the errors were fixed correctly.

It will take a bit for Ubersuggest to recrawl your website
as it is going through all of your code again.

Step #3: Competitor analysis

By now you have probably heard the saying that “content is king.”

In theory, the more content you have, the more keywords you will have on your site and the higher the chance that you’ll rank on Google for more terms.

Of course, the content needs to be of high quality and people have to be interested in that topic. If you write about stuff that no one wants to read about, then you won’t get any traffic.

Now, I want you to go to the “Traffic Analyzer Overview” report.

Put in a competitor’s URL and you will see a report that
looks something like this.

This report shows the estimated monthly visitors your competition is receiving from search engines, how many keywords they are ranking for on page 1 of Google, their top pages, every major keyword they rank for, and the estimated traffic each keyword drives to their site.

I want you to go to the “Top Pages” section and click the button that says “View The Pages That Drive Traffic To This Domain.”

You’ll be taken to the “Top Pages” report.

Here, you will see a list of pages that your competition has on their site. The ones at top are their most popular pages and as you go down the list you’ll find pages that get less and less traffic.

Now I want you to click “View All” under “Estimated Visits” for the top page on your competition’s site.

These are the keywords that the page ranks for.

And you’ll also want to click “View All” under links to see who links to your competition.

Save that list by exporting the results (just click the export button) or by copying them.

I want you to repeat this process for the top 10 to 20 pages for each of your main competitors. It will give you an idea of the keywords that they are going after that drive them traffic.

Next, I want you to click on the “Keywords” navigation link under the “Traffic Analyzer” heading.

You’ll see a list of all of the keywords your competitor ranks for and how much traffic they are getting for those keywords.

This list will give you an idea of the keywords that your
competition is targeting.

Now, by combining the data you saw from the “Top Pages” report and the data you got from the “Keywords” report, you’ll now have a good understanding of the type of keywords that are driving your competition traffic.

I want you to take some of those keywords and come up with
your own blog post ideas.

Step #4: Come up with blog post ideas

You can come up with ideas to blog on using a few simple
reports in Ubersuggest.

The first is the “Content Ideas” report. In the navigation bar, click on the “Content Ideas” button.

I want you to type in one of the keywords your competition
is ranking for that you also want to rank for.

For example, I rank for “SEO tips.” If you want to rank for that term, you would type that into the content ideas report and hit the “Search” button.

You’ll then see a list of blog posts that have done well on that topic based on social shares, backlinks, and estimated visits.

It takes some digging to find good topics because ideally, a post should have all 3: social shares, backlinks, and estimated visits.

When you find a good one, click “View All” under “Estimated Visits” to see the keywords that the post ranks for.

If you write a similar post, you’ll want to make sure you include these keywords.

And you’ll want to click “View All” under links to see who links to your competition. Keep track of this as you will use it later. You can do this by copying the list or by clicking on the export button.

You can also get more ideas by going to the keyword ideas report. So, in the navigation bar, click on the “Keyword Ideas” button.

From there, type in keywords related to what your competition ranks for and you will see a list of long-tail suggestions that are similar.

You can also click on the “Related” link in that report to see a bigger list of related keywords.

And you can click on “Questions,” “Prepositions,” and “Comparisons” to see even more keyword and blog post ideas.

Typically, the more search volume a keyword has the more
traffic you’ll get when you write about it.

Now that you have a list of keywords and topic ideas, it’s time for you to write and publish your content.

If you are new to writing blog posts, watch the video below. It breaks down my writing process.

Step #5: Promotion

I wish SEO was as simple as fixing errors and writing content based on popular keywords but it isn’t.

Remember how I had you create a list of sites that link to your competition?

You know, the ones you got from the “Top Pages” and “Content Ideas” reports.

I want you to start emailing each of the sites linking to your competition and ask them to link to you. See if someone else is linking to your competition. If they are, it shows you that they don’t mind linking to sites in your space. This means that there is a good chance you can convince them to link to you as well.

You’ll have to browse around their site to find their email. But once you do, send off a personal message explaining why your content will provide value to their readers and how it is different/better than what they are currently linking to.

In addition to that, I want you to go to the “Backlinks” report. In the navigation bar, click on the “Backlinks” option.

In this report, I want you to type in your competitor’s domain. You’ll see a report that looks like this:

You’ll be able to see their total link count, link growth over time, and, most importantly, a list of sites linking to your competition.

Now type in a URL of a blog post that your competition has written and that you know is popular (do this in the search bar). Next to it, in the search bar, change the drop-down to “URL” and click the “Search” button.

Once the report is done loading, you’ll see a new list of links pointing to that specific URL on your competition’s site.

I want you to do the same thing. Reach out to all of those
URLs and ask for a link as well.

When doing this, you’ll find that a lot of people will ignore you but you need to think of it as sales. You need to follow up and try to convince people. The more links you get, the higher your rankings will climb in the long run.

Even if you only convince 5 people out of 100 that you
email, it is still not bad as something is better than nothing.

Conclusion

My goal with Ubersuggest wasn’t to create too many reports, but instead, make the tool easy to use so you can generate more search traffic.

And as your rankings and traffic climb, you’ll see within your Ubersuggest dashboard how things are going.

What’s beautiful about this is that it will crawl your site automatically once you create a project. This way, when new SEO errors appear, Ubersuggest will notify you.

So, are you ready to improve your SEO traffic? Go to Ubersuggest and create a project.

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Your SEO Traffic Using Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

Why “resonance” is the future of SEO

future of seo

One of the problems in the digital marketing world today is that leaders are using an outdated playbook — especially when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. I think the future of SEO is taking some pretty wild and unexpected turns right now so let’s explore that today.

Content as SEO fuel

The major innovation with SEO over the past few years is that it has largely become a content strategy. Beginning with the “inbound marketing” concept introduced by Hubspot in 2005 and growing into very sophisticated AI-driven techniques today, creating content that can auto-magically bring qualified leads to your site has been a reliable strategy.

But there are a few trends that are changing that and content certainly does not work for SEO like it used to. The future of SEO is moving in a dramatic new direction.

The changing search landscape

Let’s look at the future of SEO and content as it is unveiling itself through three significant trends.

First — voice search. When you search Alexa or Google home by verbalizing a question, you don’t get a list of content sugestions like blog posts or videos. You get an answer. So content has a much-diminished impact in the world of voice search.

It’s impossible to tell exactly how much of the total search pie is going to voice queries, but let’s be ultra-conservative and say 20 percent.

future of seo

When you ask Alexa or Siri to do something for you, you normally don’t get a list of blog posts or podcast episodes in the results. So the implication is that your content is potentially impacting much less of the search market than it did in the pre-voice days five years ago. But wait, it gets worse.

Trend number two — Last month, something very significant happened in the search world. For the first time, more than half (51 percent) of the search inquiries on Google were kept by Google. This means, Google kept the SEO “answers” away from businesses and content creators and directed them to their own knowledge panels, internal properties, and paid partnerships.

Will this continue to grow in the Google direction? The government will have some say over this. Google’s increasing dominance in this space is a subject of a Department of Justice probe. The company owns the dominant tool at every link in the complex chain between online publishers and advertisers, giving it unique power over the monetization of digital content.

So now we have a truer picture of the emerging search world. In the past five years, the majority of organic search traffic that was available to be attracted by your content has been in steady decline.

future of seo content in decline

The main idea here is, the available search inquiries that can be served by your SEO-oriented content has been evaporating over the past five years.

And when we look at the future of SEO … it gets even worse.

Trend three — While the piece of the pie available to organic search inquiries has been in rapid decline, the amount of content competing for that shrinking pie has literally exploded.

When you have more and more content competing for the same search traffic, eventually content marketing is not a sustainable strategy for some businesses. This is an idea I proposed some years ago called Content Shock.

future of seo content shock

This graph from WordPress shows the number of blog posts published each month since the beginning of the content marketing era. You don’t have to be a statistician to realize it’s harder to compete for attention in a world of 80 million blog posts every month compared to one million a month 10 years ago. In fact, your competition has increased by 8,000 percent in a few years. A tough world for an inbound marketer!

Of course, the same thing is happening on podcasts, visual content, and video (there are 300 hours of new video uploaded to YouTube every minute of the day!).

To break through in this environment, you need to either spend more money on quality to win the content arms race or spend more to promote your content. Either way, traditional content marketing becomes more expensive and less accessible for many businesses in this environment.

So is this the end of content marketing?

No.

We just need to think about content and its benefits in an entirely different way.

SEO and the junkyard dogs

I was recently hired by a company in Seattle to conduct a personal branding workshop based on my book KNOWN.

When you think about it, this was an extremely unlikely pairing. If you search for “personal branding consultant,” there are 40 million results. Even if you search for “personal branding consultant Seattle” there are 2.1 million results.

I am not in those top search results. Not even close.

This is not an unusual situation for a small business. I am NEVER going to be in the top search results. Really, the only thing that matters is the top three slots. The top three slots will be won by the biggest, meanest, richest SEO junkyard dogs.

It’s an expensive and never-ending battle that I will never win for terms like “digital marketing consultant,” “marketing strategy, “keynote speaker,” or any of the other jobs that I do.

Chances are, unless you’re the junkyard dog in your industry, you won’t win your SEO battle either. And yet, every company I know is pouring money into content trying to win the SEO battle!

This just makes no sense.

But here I was in Seattle, conducting an awesome workshop. How did my client find me in all this hopeless SEO mess? Through my content. But not through search.

The business case for resonance

The night before my workshop, I had a wonderful seafood dinner with my client. I asked my friend … “Why did you hire me?”

“Your content resonates with me,” he said without hesitation.

Isn’t that an interesting word … resonates.

My content was not at the top of an SEO stack for personal branding. I’m certainly not going to make the Alexa hit parade.

But a person who hired me for this important work chose me because there was an emotional connection that resonated with him on a personal and professional level.

This reveals a more practical and realistic value of content in this competitive environment, and a value that is almost entirely overlooked by marketers today.

At this point, I would like to interrupt myself. Whenever I write a mega-trend blog post like this, I am pointing out an idea that is very broad … and it may not apply to everybody. There certainly is still room today for SEO-driven content, and there always will be as far out into the future as I can see. The numbers I’ve presented here are high level. The true search volume for your industry could result in mostly organic results, especially in smaller niche markets.

The answer to every marketing question is, “it depends,” and that is certainly true here.

But overall, SEO-driven content is probably working less well for most businesses and content that attracts customers due to its authority is becoming more important.

Content and authority

So there are really two basic content strategies you can use to win new business: Content meant to win SEO and content meant to earn authority (content that resonates with readers). And of course, you can have overlap between these strategies:

future of seo

I won the business in Seattle — against all SEO odds — because I ignored SEO. I write for my readers. If I do that well and consistently, I’ll earn subscribers. Eventually, these subscribers will grow to know me, trust me and hire me. I think that is the future of SEO, which is really not SEO at all!

It’s a different way to look at content strategy but for 90 percent of the businesses out there who will never win the SEO battle, content built on authority might be the best and only strategic option.

I’m not creating content to trick you into clicking a link. I am creating content that consistently connects with your hopes and dreams and business needs. I’m building a long-term connection that resonates.

Make sense?

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com. 

The post Why “resonance” is the future of SEO appeared first on Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

The Future of Ubersuggest

* Please read the whole post, I have some good news at the bottom, but it won’t make sense unless you read the whole post.

Do you know why I got into SEO?

Not many people know this, but I grew up in middle-class America, and I wanted a better life for me and my parents.

When I was 16 years old, I worked at a theme park called Knotts Berry Farm where I picked up trash, cleaned restrooms, and swept up vomit every single day.

I didn’t mind it because that’s life and I needed the money.

At 16, I realized I was too young to get a high paying job, so I did the next best thing… I started a business.

But making $5.75 an hour picking up trash wasn’t enough to market my business, though. The only solution that I could think of was SEO because if you put in the time and effort you can get the traffic for free.

It’s also the main reason I fell in love with it… it
gives the little guy a chance to compete with the big guys
.

And over the years I wanted to pay it forward and help out all of the entrepreneurs and small companies so they can do the same… succeed without having to spend a lot of money.

So, what did I do?

Well over the years, I’ve produced a ton of free content, videos, and guides that help entrepreneurs and marketers of all sizes succeed.

And in February 2017, I decided to take it to the next level by acquiring Ubersuggest for $120,000.

When I first bought it, I had the dream of creating an SEO tool that could compete with the big players that charged $100+ a month, but of course, offer it for free.

The developers that I had at that time estimated that I could do this for $30,000 to $45,000 a month. That was perfect as I had no issue losing that much money each month.

But as we got rolling and kept adding in more features, our
expenses continually climbed. Just look at what I spent in the last month…

I spent $89,930 on hosting so far in January with an estimated spend of $128,680 for February. But again, let’s stick with January…

My back-end development bill from Tryolabs was $47,885 for January.

My data feed from SEO Power Suite, Data For SEO, and Shared Count totaled $75,253 for January.

And of course, my front-end developers as well as my dev-ops team Netlabs, which ran me $22,700.

Then if you add on miscellaneous costs, such as support, design, and project management, I was out another $11,450.

All in all, I spent $247,218 during the month of January 2020.

Keep in mind that my costs are continually rising. As the tool gets more popular, it costs me more.

One of the big reasons for the server expenses is scrapers.

Believe it or not, a lot of companies are scraping our data and continually rotating up IPs and creating fake accounts, which increases our server expenses. Especially when you consider that they are researching vague SEO terms or domains that aren’t cached in our system.

Don’t feel bad for me

Now the purpose of this post wasn’t to make you feel bad or guilty (unless you are scraping me). I just wanted to be transparent about my situation.

Originally, I was hoping that I could convert a portion of the Ubersuggest customer base into agency clients but as we continually move upstream and work with bigger brands, the conversion rate from an Ubersuggest visitor to a paying consulting customer has been low.

As that didn’t work out the way I wanted, which I learned around 11 months ago, it became harder and harder for me to eat the costs as they continually grew and I didn’t have a way to pay for them other than to dip into my own savings.

So, I started searching for solutions, such as turning
Ubersuggest into a non-profit and raise money from foundations to help support
the cost. I tried that for 5 months and I didn’t gain much traction.

I also tried to see if I could get sponsors for the tool who would help cover the costs, but that didn’t work out well either. Instead, many of them offered to buy the company for millions of dollars (some in the 8 figures) but I didn’t want to sell it as I knew their goal would be to turn it into another $100-a-month tool, which didn’t sit well with me.

After running out of options, I had no choice but to make some changes to Ubersuggest (don’t worry it is not closing down). But you can guess what the changes are.

But don’t worry

First and foremost, my goal is still to give as much away for free as I can. Within Ubersuggest, you will still be able to do a lot for free…

Creating projects

You will always be able to create projects and track your rankings. And just like before you always have been limited on the number of keywords you can track and that, of course, is due to costs.

Keyword research

Within the app, you will still be able to see keyword research data.

You’ll see a chart with the latest few months’ traffic volume, data on mobile versus desktop search volume, demographic data, and even keyword recommendations.

And you can, of course, continually find new keywords to target.

Sure, some of the data is blocked, but did you know that
only 14.3% of people used to register for a free account to unlock that data.

In other words, most of you never even registered because the application shows you enough for free without needing to log in.

Content ideas

Similar to before, you can also see popular blog post suggestions for any given keyword.

You’ll also be able to see the top keywords a blog post
ranks for and the backlinks pointing to that URL.

Again, keep in mind the majority of you only looked at the
top 10 results as 14.3% of you registered for a free account to unlock more
data.

Traffic Analyzer

You will still be able to look up any domain and get stats
on it.

Historical data is blocked, but you can see the last few
months which is enough for most of you.

You’ll also be able to see the top pages for any domain and the keywords that page ranks for as well as backlinks.

The same goes for the keywords any domain ranks for.

Some of the data is blocked, but just like before only 14.3%
of you registered to view that data. Which means 85.7% of you are happy with
the free data.

SEO Analyzer

Not much has changed here, you can still analyze over 100 pages on your site and figure out which errors you have.

Here’s an interesting fact: Did you know the average site that goes through Ubersuggest only has 48 pages?

The median number of pages a site has in our system was similar at 43 pages.

And of course, there is the backlinks report, which now
shows new and lost links as well as historical link growth.

Similar to what I mentioned above, very few people really cared to see the blocked off information as only 14.3% of you registered.

My dream

My goal in life is to help people generate more traffic. And I believe Ubersuggest can get better results and give you a fighting chance.

I also want to continually make the tool better. For example, why can’t SEO be automated? If you can have self-driving cars, there is no reason why you can’t automate SEO through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But with the rising expenses, I was left with 2 options… either shut the tool down (which isn’t an option for me) or figure out a way to cover my expenses.

In the long run, I can’t keep sustaining the loss of $247,218 a month forever, especially when that number is climbing (that’s roughly 3 million dollars a year).

My team and I came up with an interesting concept that we think is fair and hopefully, you won’t be upset about it.

Remember how I said only 14.3% of people register to view more data but 85.7% never register as they were happy with the free data?

Well, nothing will change for 85.7% of you.

As for the 14.3% who register to create projects and track keywords, you can still do that for free. But if you want to add more projects or track a lot more keywords, you can upgrade to a paid plan.

The same goes for keyword research. If you want to view even more data, you can pay for the blocked data. Or if you want to analyze thousands of pages on your site through the site audit, you can also upgrade.

Don’t worry though, I am still following my original
mission.

I promise to always keep Ubersuggest affordable (and mainly free). I decided to take the Netflix/Amazon approach and try to make the cost super affordable (as my goal is to only break-even).

On top of that, I made it a 7-day free trial.

You’ll also find that the pricing varies per country as my costs vary per country. In regions like India and Brazil when someone registers, creates a project and tracks keywords, my expenses are substantially lower than if someone from the United States registers and creates projects and tracks keywords.

The same goes for labor. My support team in India and other regions costs substantially less than the team in the United States or the United Kingdom.

If you also pay annually, you’ll get 2 months free so you can save even more money.

And as I mentioned above, I want to stick to the original mission, which is to help people generate more traffic without having to spend a lot of money.

There will always be a very generous free plan and I am hoping that I can break even by charging for a portion of the application.

What’s next?

Ubersuggest is going to continually get better.

To make things up to you, over the next month or two I am going to release a Chrome extension that will give you tons of insights for free. And of course, if you want a little bit more you can pay.

Here’s what the free extension will look like…

Whenever you perform a Google search you will be able to see
the volume for any search term in any major country. And if you click the “view
all” link you will see more data on that keyword.

You’ll also see the average domain score for any given
ranking page and the number of links you need to rank in the top 10.

As you scroll down and go through each of the ranking
results, you’ll see the domain score for each URL, social shares, and the
backlinks pointing to that search result.

You can even drill down and see the top links pointing to
each URL.

Now if you head over to the sidebar, you’ll see a list of
related keywords as well as data on the top 10 keyword recommendations.

If you scroll a bit more, you’ll see a graph that shows how many backlinks each result has so that way you can see how many backlinks again you roughly need to rank in the top 10.

At the very bottom of the search results, you’ll see data on related keywords.

As time goes on not only will you have the extension, but I
will continually add more and more features for free.

Conclusion

I’m sorry that I have to start covering my costs, but I hope
you understand at the same time.

From my projections, it will take me roughly 6 months to break even, so I am going to be out a decent amount of money over the next 6 months… but that’s life.

I am not looking to recuperate my original investment and I don’t mind that being a loss, but once I break even on a monthly basis I will continue to either open up more stuff for free or consider lowering the monthly pricing if possible.

Again, I am really sorry, but I hope you understand that it isn’t sustainable for me to spend $247,218 a month indefinitely.

I am open to hearing your thoughts or ideas. I also want to let you know I appreciate everything you have done to support Ubersuggest and my site.

The post The Future of Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

What a Peanut Can Teach You About Search Marketing

search marketing lesson

By Brooke B. Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Mr. Peanut — or should I now say Baby Nut — can teach us all a lesson in search marketing.

I know, I know. You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about which Super Bowl ads were good or bad. Or how the halftime show was “awful” (um … please let me look like JLo or Shakira when I’m their age!).

But I promise, thanks to some wicked smaht (a Super Bowl pun!) SEO friends of mine this will be a very insightful post on how to run (and not run) your campaigns. Even if they don’t cost you $6M.

(I apologize for all of the peanut puns in advance … I can’t help myself)

It Started With The Peanut Gallery

Before the Super Bowl even started, marketers went OFF about the death of Mr. Peanut.

This was Planters build-up to a Super Bowl commercial. Followers of the hashtag #RIPeanut were encouraged to use this to pay respect and tune in to Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the big game.

I would have to assume that Planters would put some heavy thought into all aspects of this campaign, including search marketing since they paid Super Bowl dollars for it to air. I would assume wrong, but more on that later.

Is it risky to kill off an over 100-year-old mascot? Sure.

However, a few days after the campaign launched the idea behind it was explained. Mike Pierantozzi, the Group Creative Director at Planters’ agency (VaynerMedia, btw) said they were influenced by Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame.

“We started talking about how the internet treats when someone dies — specifically, we were thinking about fictional characters, [like when] Iron Man died. When Iron Man died, we saw an incredible reaction on Twitter and on social media. It’s such a strange phenomenon.”

For the record, I LOVED that movie. I’m a total comic book nerd. I also once owned the comic where Superman died. So I get their angle.

Then, after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and others, Planters decided to pull this campaign’s paid media efforts to be sensitive.

In a Word? Nutty.

Before I get into what went down Super Bowl Sunday, there are some other things that I think we marketers need to address. A brand strategy is not something to be taken lightly. Especially one thay involves an iconic brand representative that’s been around since 1916.

1) Was it a good idea to kill off a beloved mascot?

I mean, I probably wouldn’t do it but who knows. If no PR is bad PR then I suppose this campaign is going well [insert big grimace here].

2) Shouldn’t $6M Super Bowl ads be original?

We’ve seen the reinvention of a character as a baby before, both with Groot and more recently Baby Yoda. This is one area that really marred the campaign in the court of public opinion.

3) The interactive part of the campaign was roasted by viewers.

What kind of campaign would dare try to take watchers of the Super Bowl away from the game to interact with Baby Nut? This campaign, apparently. [insert eye roll and a really, really heavy sigh]

Then Came The Super Bowl (Sans Search Marketing)

Finally, Game Day arrived and many marketers were live-tweeting about #BrandBowl or #AdsBowl (hashtags to follow if you’re into IRL conversations about Super Bowl ads).

The RIP Mr. Peanut commercial came out and it was … as expected. Mr. Peanut did, in fact, die and Baby Nut was born. Some people enjoyed this. More, however, were not on board.

I outlined a few reasons above, but the biggest lesson to learn is really about all the ways in which this campaign missed out on search marketing. I was alerted to this fact on Twitter and then saw this super-smart post on LinkedIn from my friend Dan Shure.

Apparently, none of the six-million dollar budget went to search marketing.

  • There was no (apparent) organic search
  • There was no (apparent) paid search (including on social channels, like Facebook)
  • Just a few days ago, this website and campaign weren’t even ranking for phrases like, “Planters Super Bowl” “Planters commercial” “Planters ad” etc.

Gary V apparently replied to Dan on Twitter and said that his team didn’t create the website. But, I mean, COME ON.

mr-peanut-search-marketing-fail

Another tweet said that they “didn’t have time” to focus on search marketing because of the death of Kobe. Um, no? I’m sure the website and interactive parts of this weren’t planned in just a couple of days.

This failure feels like it goes beyond search marketing and SEO. Where was the communication between partners? Why wasn’t search marketing — from an organic or paid perspective — ever discussed by someone?

It’s one thing to get booed by ordinary people on social media. It’s a totally different flop when a key strategic component was entirely missed.

Can We Leave Search Marketing & SEO Alone Now?

“Is SEO dead?” Stop that! No! Search engine optimization is extremely important.

In fact, another friend of mine (hey, Amanda!) at Fractl found that search marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience.

fractl-search-marketing

[Image Source: MOZ]

As the MOZ article that highlights this research from Fractl says …

Don’t let anyone tell you a channel is dead (except for maybe MySpace and other sites that are abandoned.)

What did you think about the Baby Nut campaign? And a bigger question: who you do think is responsible for leaving out search marketing? Everyone? No one? Let me know in the comments section below!

Brooke-b-Sellas-businesses-grow

Brooke B. Sellas is the Founder  & CEO of B Squared Media, an award-winning done-for-you social media management, advertising, and customer care agency. She’s also Mark Schaefer’s Co-host on the top-rated Marketing Companion Podcast. Brooke’s marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter!

The post What a Peanut Can Teach You About Search Marketing appeared first on Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

How to Check if Google Manually Reviewed Your Site

Do you know how Google decides what website should be ranked number 1, 2, 3 and so on for any given keyword?

Well, they have an algorithm for that.

But as you know, algorithms aren’t perfect. That’s why Google continually tries to improve it.

One way that they try to improve their algorithm is through Search Quality Raters.

What’s a Search Quality Rater?

Google knows that they can always make their search results
better. And one way is to have humans review their listings for any given
keyword.

So, all around the world, Google has
people who manually review websites
. And they review each website based on these
guidelines
.

It’s kind of long and extensive, but it is important that the Quality Raters don’t directly impact rankings.

Instead, they give feedback to the engineers who code up the algorithm so they can make it more relevant to searchers.

Now, the real question is, how do you know your site is
being reviewed?

First, I want you to log into your Google Analytics account and go to the audience overview report.

Then click on “Add Segment.”

Your screen should look something like this:

Then click on “+ New Segment.”

Your screen should look like the image above.

I want you to click “Conditions,” which is under the “Advanced” navigation label. Once you do that, fill out everything to match the screenshot below and click “save”.

Just make sure that when you are filling out the table you are clicking the “or” button and not the “and” button. And make sure you select “Source” for the first column.

Now that you’ve created the new segment, it’s time to see if
any Quality Raters have viewed your site.

How to spot Quality Raters

When you are in Google Analytics, you’ll want to make sure
you select the segment you just created.

If you copied my screenshot, you would have labeled it “Search Engine Evaluators.” And when you select it, you’ll probably see a graph that looks something like the image below.

You’ll notice that no Quality Raters have been to my site
during the selected date period, which is common as they don’t visit your site
daily and, in many cases, they don’t come often at all.

The other thing you’ll notice is that next to the “Audience Overview” heading, there is a yellow shield symbol. If your symbol is green, then that’s good.

Yellow means your data is being sampled.

If you see the yellow symbol, reduce your date range and you’ll eventually see a green shield next to “Audience Overview” like the image below.

In general, it is rare that Quality Raters view your site each month. But as you expand your time window, you’ll be able to spot them.

And once you spot them, you can shorten the date range so the data isn’t sampled and then drill down to what they were looking at on your website.

The key to analyzing what Quality Raters are doing on your site is to look at the “Site Content” report in Google Analytics and that will help you produce results that look like the screenshot above.

To get to that report, click on “Behavior,” then “Site Content,” and then “All Pages.”

What do I do with this information?

The goal of a Quality Rater is to help improve Google’s
algorithm
. And whether they have visited your site or not, your goal should
be to make your site the best site in the industry.

You can do so by doing the following 3 things:

  1. Follow the quality guidelines that Google has released. It’s 168 pages long but, by skimming it, you can get a good understanding of what they are looking for.
  2. Always put the user first. Yes, you want higher rankings, but don’t focus on Google, focus on the user. In the long run, this should help you rank higher as Google’s goal is to make their algorithm optimized for user preferences over things like on-page SEO or link building.
  3. Check out Google’s advice for beating algorithm changes. In that article, you’ll find a breakdown of what Google is really looking for.

Conclusion

If you have Quality Raters browsing your site from time to time,
don’t freak out. It doesn’t mean your rankings are going to go down or up.

And if you can’t find any Quality Raters visiting your site,
don’t freak out either. Because that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever rank well
in Google.

As your site gets more popular, you’ll notice a higher chance of Quality Raters visiting your site over time. This just means that you need to focus more on delighting your website visitors. Create the best experience for them and you’ll win in the long run.

So, have you spotted any Quality Raters in your Google Analytics?

PS: Special shoutout to Matthew Woodward who originally brought the Google Quality Raters segmentation to light.

The post How to Check if Google Manually Reviewed Your Site appeared first on Neil Patel.

Is SEO Dead? (A Data-Driven Answer)

seo dead

SEO has been changing drastically over the years.

In 2010, Google made 516 algorithm changes. That number increased to 1,653 in 2016 and to 3,234 in 2018. We don’t have data for the last couple of years, but still, you can bet that the number is continually going up.

With over 9 algorithm changes a day, it’s safe to say that it is no longer easy to manipulate or game Google.

So, is SEO dead?

Well, let’s look at the data and from there I’ll show you
what you should do.

Is SEO dead?

Do you know how many searches take place on Google each day?

Roughly
5.6 billion searches per day
.

That’s roughly 2 trillion searches each year.

Although that’s a lot of searches, there is also a lot of
content being created.

There are roughly a billion blogs on the web.

There are so many blogs that you can find an excessive amount of content on most topics out there.

For example, if you look at the long-tail phrase, “what is digital marketing”, there are only 11,300 global searches a month but a whopping 665,000 pieces of content trying to answer that question.

In other words, the supply is much greater than the demand.

You’ll see even more of this for head terms. Just look at
the phrase “banana”:

640,300 global searches seem like a high number but there are 880,000,000 million results. Sure, some of those results may not be on the food, banana, but still, that’s a lot of content compared to the search volume.

You can still find search phrases where there is more search volume than content but the trend is continually increasing in which content production is exceeding search demand.

On top of that, Google is turning into an answer engine in which they are answering people’s questions without them having to go to a website.

According to Dejan SEO,
they saw CTRs drastically decrease once Google started answering questions.
Just look at this weather search query:

Their clicks from weather-related queries went from 46% all the way down to 7%.

This trend has become so common that the percentage of traffic that Google drives to organic listings (SEO results) has been decreasing over time.

So, does this mean SEO is dead?

It’s actually the opposite.

SEO is not dead

With all of the data, how can that be the case?

First off, all marketing channels become statured over time. It’s just a question of when.

You can say the same thing about Facebook, Instagram,
Twitter, and even email marketing.

Heck, just look at the image below. It was the first banner ad on the Internet.

Can you guess what company created that banner ad? It was
ATT.

Of the people who saw it, 44% of them clicked on it. Now banner ads generate an average click-through rate of 0.5%.

That’s an enormous drop.

And, as I mentioned above, it’s with all channels. Just look at Instagram engagement rates:

It doesn’t matter if it is a sponsored post or an organic post, the trend on Instagram is that engagement is going down.

That’s why you are seeing people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Grant Cardone promoting their phone numbers all over Instagram.

That way they can communicate with their fans directly
without having to deal with algorithms or platforms decreasing their engagement.

But even with those decreasing numbers, you are seeing sponsored posts on Instagram surging by 150%.

In other words, people are still spending money because they
are seeing an ROI or generating enough value in their eyes.

And the same is happening with digital
ad spending
.

The numbers are on the rise because companies are generating
an ROI.

So, how is SEO still not dead?

As I explained above, just because the metrics aren’t going in your favor doesn’t mean that a channel is dead.

Just look at my search traffic on NeilPatel.com.

Not only do I have to deal with Google’s algorithm like you, but my competition includes other marketers who know what I know… yet I am still able to grow my search traffic even with Google’s decreasing CTRs.

When you look at search as a whole (and I am not only talking about on Bing and Google as people also search on other sites and platforms as well) Google still dominates market share with a whopping 94%.

People still use Google and prefer them as their method of search. But what’s changed is how Google is being used.

It used to be where you would use platforms like Instagram
for discovery and Google for commerce (purchasing).

The trend has switched over the years in which Instagram is
being heavily used for commerce and Google is mainly used as a discovery engine.

Just look at this case study by Olay.

Olay sells products related to skincare. One of their products happens to reduce darkness under your eyes.

So, they used to push heavily on ads that sold their
products directly.

But the moment they changed their ads to focus on education by teaching people how to reduce dark circles under their eyes instead of forcing people to buy their products, their ROI went through the roof.

By sending people to educational-based content first (and then selling through the content), they were able to increase click-throughs by 87%, decrease their cost per click by 30%, and increase conversions by 100%.

This is a prime example of how more people are using Google as a discovery engine first instead of a commerce engine.

SEO isn’t dying it is just changing

Now that you know that Google is shifting to a discovery
engine (for both paid and organic listings), there are a few other things you
need to know if you want to dominate the organic listings.

1: Google wants to rank sites you want to see

Their algorithm core focus isn’t backlinks or keyword density, or a specific SEO metric… the focus is on the user experience.

If a site has millions of backlinks but users hate it, the site won’t rank well in the long run.

Look at this case study of the “best grilled steaks.”

Rand Fishkin had all of his social followers do the
following:

Within 70 minutes, the listing jumped to the top spot.

This is what I mean by user signals. You, the end-user, control how Google adjusts rankings.

2. People don’t just use Google. Google gathers data from everywhere.

Google knows you spend hours a day on your mobile device and hours on other sites and applications that aren’t controlled or owned by Google.

So, when they are figuring out what to rank and where to
rank it, they aren’t just looking at their own dataset.

They crawl things like social media and use social signals
to help them better improve their results.

For example, here is a case study on how Google is using social media for search discovery.

Even if you hate the social web, you need to use it more. Not only can it help with your site’s indexing but it can also help with brand building, which indirectly will help boost your rankings as well.

Here are some articles to follow to help boost your social
media presence:

3. Google loves brands

If you don’t believe me, just look at these quotes from Google’s ex-CEO and ex-head of webspam.

They both believe
in brands
.

As your brand grows, you’ll find that your rankings will climb as well.

You saw my search traffic stats earlier in the post, but
here’s a breakdown of how many people found my site by searching for my name in
the last 7 days.

And that number doesn’t even include the misspellings. You would be shocked at how many people spell my name as “niel” instead of “neil.”

Google loves brands. Heck, when you type in “men’s running shoes,” they even have Nike, Adidas, and Asics there.

Branded search volume is more correlated with rankings than links or domain authority.

If you want to build a brand, focus on the social media
articles I linked to above and follow the brand building articles below:

If you are still struggling to build a brand, talk to one of my team members about our Digital PR.

4. Focus on a niche

Do you remember the old-school site About.com?

Over time, About.com tanked in terms of their Google rankings and the business was dying. There were a few reasons why:

  • The site didn’t focus on a single niche… it was about everything
  • The content was mediocre. They didn’t go in-depth but instead just kept things surface level.
  • They had too much content that no one cared to read.

They decided to rebrand as Dotdash and start niching down. So they took the content on About.com and split it into six specific vertical sites.

When doing this they found that a lot of the content didn’t fit into those 6 verticals or wasn’t up to their new quality standard. This caused them them delete roughly 900,000 articles.

From the data, you can see that they got much more traffic by splitting up their content into niched-down sites.

It was so successful that they took one of their new vertical sites and broke it down further into three niche sites. Here were the results:

This helped them grow their revenue by 140%.

If you want to do well in today’s world of SEO, focus on one niche. Google prefers topic-specific sites because that’s what you and everyone else loves.

Just think of it this way… would you rather read medical advice from About.com or WebMD?

WebMD of course.

5. Future is personalization

Have you noticed that when you search on Google the results you see are different than the results of your friends?

It’s because Google is trying to personalize the results to
you.

Not just on Google search but anywhere you use a Google device… from a smartphone to Google Home to even their autonomous cars.

With all of the data they are gathering, they are better
suited to understand your preferences and then modify the results to that.

Just think of it this way: Every time you visit a place and you are carrying your mobile phone (especially if it is an Android device), Google may be able to potentially use that information to tailor results to you.

With your website, don’t try and show everyone the same message. If you personalize your experience to each and every user, you will be able to rank better in the long run as it will improve your user metrics.

A good example of this is on my blog.

Right when you land there, I let you pick the type of content you want to see and then the page adapts to your interest.

It’s actually the most clicked area on the blog, believe it
or not.

Conclusion

SEO is not dead, it’s just changing.

Sure, click-through rates are going down and Google keeps adjusting its algorithm but that’s to be expected.

Google has made it so you can easily target your ideal customer through SEO or paid ads.

It used to be much more difficult before they came along. That’s why they are able to generate over 100 billion dollars a year in advertising revenue.

Don’t worry about things that aren’t in your control. Instead, start adapting or your traffic and business will be dead.

What do you think about the changing SEO landscape?

The post Is SEO Dead? (A Data-Driven Answer) appeared first on Neil Patel.

Do High DA Backlinks From Blog Comments Help Rankings?

If you have ever left a comment on NeilPatel.com, you’ll notice that there is no URL field.

Why?

Well, a few years ago, blog commenting exploded. I was literally getting thousands of spam comments a day from people just leaving a comment for the purpose of link building instead of providing value to the community.

Sure, there are spam plugins like Akismet, but it doesn’t catch everything.

Now, most blog comments contain the nofollow attribute in which they tell Google not to follow the link or drive any “SEO value” to that URL.

But still, people still leave blog comments for the purpose of link building.

So, over the past 7 months, I’ve been running an interesting experiment to answer the age-old question…

Do backlinks from blog comments actually help rankings?

Experiment rules

First off, for this experiment, we used “domain score,” which is similar to domain authority.

If you want to know your domain score, the backlinks report in Ubersuggest will tell you what it is.

With this experiment, I sent out an email to a part of my list looking for participants and had 794 websites apply.

From there, I set the following criteria:

  1. English-only sites – It’s easier to rank on many of Google’s international search engines even without building links. I removed non-English speaking sites as I didn’t want to skew the results.
  2. Low-authority sites – I removed any website with a domain score greater than 20 and any site with more than 20 backlinks. The reason being is when a site has a lot of authority, they tend to rank easily for new keywords, even if they don’t build any new links.
  3. No subdomains – I didn’t want a WordPress.com site, a Blogspot site, or even a Tumblr site. Again, this would skew the results so I removed them.

After eliminating the sites that didn’t meet the above criteria, I was left with 314 sites.

Of those 314 sites, many dropped off because they didn’t complete the required work on their part (which was to write a blog post), so I was left with 183 sites at the end that participated.

How the experiment worked

Similar to my previous link building experiment and my on-page SEO experiment,  I had these websites write a 1,800 to 2,000-word blog post on whatever subject that was relevant to their site.

The websites had 2 weeks to publish their content and then after 30 days, I looked up their URL in Ubersuggest to see how many keywords each URL ranked for in the top 100 spots, top 50, spots, and top 10 spots.

As I have mentioned in the past, Ubersuggest has a big database of keywords. We are currently tracking 1,459,103,429 keywords.

Now, most of these keywords are barely searched but a decent amount of them get hundreds, if not thousands, of searches per month. A much smaller percentage of keywords generate hundreds of thousands or even millions of searches per month.

In other words, the majority of the keywords people are searching for are long-tail phrases.

We then spent a month building links and then waited another 3 months to see what happened to each site’s rankings.

But here’s the thing: We didn’t build the same type of links to all sites. Instead, we broke the 183 sites into 4 groups (roughly 46 sites per group).

Here were the groups:

  1. Control – we didn’t build any links to these sites, we just wanted to see what happened to their rankings over time with no focus on link building.
  2. Nofollow high domain score blog comment links – with this group, we built 10 links through blog comments. The links pointed to the newly written post and they were from blogs that had a domain score of 50 or higher and they all contained a nofollow attribute.
  3. Dofollow high domain score blog comment links – with this group, we built 5 links through blog comments. The links pointed to the new post and were dofollow from blogs with a domain score of 40 or higher. (I reduced the domain score criteria for this category and the link quantity as we struggled to find a large number of high authority blogs that pass link juice in the comment section.)
  4. Dofollow low domain score blog comment links – with this group, we built 10 links through blog comments. Each link pointed back to the article and it was from a blog that contains a domain score of at least 20 but no higher than 39. (I was able to build more links here as there are many more low domain score blogs than high domain score ones.)

Keep in mind with the link building for groups 2, 3 and 4,
there was no specific anchor text agenda. Because the links were built through
blog comments, it was too hard to control the anchor text as we didn’t want to
be spammy.

And each comment left on the blog contained at least 75
words as we wanted to ensure that each comment provided value and the core
purpose wasn’t just link building.

Alright, so let’s dive into the results.

Control group

Do you really need links to rank on Google? Well, the chart below says a lot…

As you can see over time, you will naturally grow your search rankings even if you don’t build any links.

Of course, if your content is amazing and you do on-page SEO, you’ll rank higher, but still not growing your link count doesn’t mean you will rank for anything out there… instead, you will still rank for long-tail terms that aren’t too competitive.

Nofollow high domain score blog comment links

Now the results from this group were interesting…

As you can see, the sites in this group had better results than the control group even though the links were nofollowed.

Keep in mind, though, that it could be many variables that caused this, such as the content quality may have been better.

Overall, the sites did perform better than the control group but not by a substantial amount.

Dofollow high domain score blog comment links

Google is sophisticated, they are able to know if a link is from user-generated content (such as blog comments), so I assumed even though the links where dofollow they still wouldn’t have much (if any) impact.

But, shockingly, sites in this group had the largest gains.

As you can see from the chart above, links from high authority sites, even if it is through user-generated content, help with rankings. They just have to be dofollow.

Dofollow low domain score blog comment links

With this last group, we were able to build more dofollow links because we focused on sites with lower authority.

And as you can see from the chart above, it did help with rankings more than building nofollow links but it didn’t help nearly as much as getting links from blogs with higher domain scores.

We built 10 links instead of 5, but the quantity didn’t help
as much as having high domain score links. This group increased their rankings
by 337% versus 828% that group 3 experienced even though they had half the
links.

Again, we still saw gains, just not as large as the previous group.

Conclusion

Who would have thought that building links through blog
comments still helps?

Now, if you are going to use this tactic, you’ll want to focus on blogs that have dofollow comments.

If you aren’t sure how to find them, you can perform a Google search for the following:

  • “title=”CommentLuv Enabled”” KEYPHRASE – this will showcase blogs that have CommentLuv enabled which means they pass link juice.
  • “dofollow blogs” – you find a lot of blog articles listing out blogs that have dofollow links. Some of them look like this but you will have to double-check each site as many are nofollow even though bloggers claim they are dofollow.
  • Followlist – this is a directory of blogs that have dofollow links.

When building links, focus on higher domain scores as it has a bigger impact on rankings.

In addition to that, you’ll only want to leave a comment if you can provide value. Don’t stress the anchor text, focus on the quality of your comment as you don’t want to be a spammer.

Posting spammy links will just cause your comment to be
removed.

Lastly, don’t just leave a valuable comment for the sake of generating a link. Make sure it is on relevant blogs as well. And if that means the blog doesn’t have as high of a domain score that’s fine because the data above shows that even low domain score links still help (just not as much).

So, have you thought about leaving more comments on other blogs? It’s a great way to get your brand out there, generate referral traffic, and boost your rankings.

The post Do High DA Backlinks From Blog Comments Help Rankings? appeared first on Neil Patel.

Ubersuggest 7.0: The Ultimate Keyword Research Tool

Believe it or not, I’ve been working on Ubersuggest for
almost 3 years now.

I bought it on February 13, 2017, for $120,000 dollars as a test to see if I could get more traffic from a tool than traditional content marketing or SEO.

Since then the tool has come a long way, in which I’ve added tons of features that competitors charge $100 a month or even more for.

But I’ve finally got Ubersuggest to a point where I can start releasing features that my competition don’t even have.

So before, you head on over to Ubersuggest to work on your SEO,
make sure you read everything below because I’ve just changed up how you are
going do keyword research (in a good way).

On top of that, I’ve also released a few other features as well related to link data and traffic estimations.

Here’s what’s new:

More keyword data

The biggest problem I had with keyword research was how to find the right keyword.

Sure, there are metrics like CPC data, SEO difficulty, or even search volume, but assuming you find keywords with a high CPC, low SEO difficulty, and high search volume, it still doesn’t mean it is a good keyword to go after.

And there are a few reasons why…

  • Mobile searches aren’t worth as much – first off, if the keyword mainly gets searched from on mobile devices the conversion rate will be lower. It doesn’t mean mobile traffic is useless, it just typically means the keyword won’t be as valuable.
  • High search volume doesn’t guarantee lots of organic clicks – what happens if the keyword gets a ton of searches but no clicks? This sounds crazy, but it actually happens a lot. For example, when people search for “weather” in the United States, roughly 60% of the people don’t click any results.
  • Not all searchers are worth the same – some keywords get searched heavily by teenagers. Some keywords get searched heavily by people who are in their 30s or 40s. If the majority of the searches for a given keyword happen by a really young audience, chances are they won’t have a credit card and they won’t convert into a customer.

Because of all of this, I decided to change how the industry
does keyword research.

Now when you type in a keyword like “marketing” into
Ubersuggest, you’ll see this:

If you have been using Ubersuggest for the last year or so you may notice some differences… but if you haven’t let me break down what’s new.

First off, for any given keyword you will see what percentage of the searches are taking place from mobile devices or desktop devices.

For example, with the term “marketing” you can see that the majority of the searches are coming from desktop devices.

On the flip side, if you use Ubersuggest to look at the term “weather” you’ll notice that the majority of the searches happen on mobile devices.

And with any given keyword you can also see what percentage of the people even click on the SEO or paid results.

I love this bar chart because it tells me if I should even go after a specific keyword. Just because a term has tons of searches doesn’t mean you are going to get tons of clicks, even if you rank at the number 1 spot.

If you leverage paid ads, this bar chart is also helpful because it will give you a sense of how many people click on the paid ads as well.

Another chart that I’ve added is one that breaks down the age range of each searcher.

As you can see from the above image, Ubersuggest now shows what percentage of the searches take place between each age range.

This is really important if you know the persona of your ideal customer, as you only want to target keywords that your ideal buyer is searching for.

What’s also cool is this data is available for all countries
within Ubersuggest and for almost all of the keywords within our database.

Now before you head off to Ubersuggest and test it out, there are a few more features that I’ve just released.

More backlink data

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten feedback that our link database isn’t as big as you would like, so we have been working on fixing this.

First off, whenever you do a backlink search in Ubersuggest, you’ll start seeing stats on historical backlink data.

This chart will quickly show you if a site is growing in
backlink and referring domain count over time or if they are declining.

On top of that, we are even showing the daily new and lost link count for a given site.

I know the new and lost link count chart looks a bit off,
but keep in mind we started having Ubersuggest crawl more pages around the web
faster and more frequently. Hence you are seeing a big spike in new and lost
links.

But over the next 4 weeks, it should normalize, and you’ll see an accurate representation of new and lost links.

This will help you identify new link opportunities more
easily. Especially because you can now clearly see where your competitors are
focusing their link building efforts.

Better traffic estimations

Lastly in Ubersuggest, you can also enter in a URL and get data on any given domain.

From its estimated monthly search traffic to the number of keywords a domain ranks for to even its top pages based on link and traffic count.

We haven’t fully finished creating our new algorithm when it comes to traffic estimations, but the chart you’ll see now is much more accurate than the older one.

Even though this is a big improvement from our older charts, give it another 3 months and it should be extremely accurate.

When you are using the traffic analyzer report in Ubersuggest, keep in mind that this will give you a directional guide on how you are doing versus your competition.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoy the new changes to Ubersuggest.

I’ve made them in order to give you a leg up on your competition as the data in the tool is now something that most of you have never seen before.

And over the next two months, you’ll see some big launches in Ubersuggest. From a chrome extension to even more accurate traffic estimations to even an Alert system that will notify you when things are wrong with your site.

So, go to Ubersuggest and try out the new keyword features as well as traffic estimation and backlink features.

What do you think about the
new features?

The post Ubersuggest 7.0: The Ultimate Keyword Research Tool appeared first on Neil Patel.