16 Things That Can Hurt Your Site Rankings (SEO Checklist)

My Post - 2019-08-29T185344.993.pngThe worst nightmare for a webmaster happens when they find a sudden drop in their site rankings and all their hard work is gone!

Are you one of those? Well, take a deep breath! You are not the only one.

Every website has faced or will face a drop in rankings in the future. You can’t avoid it, but you can certainly minimize the impacts of it.

A drop in rankings can happen for a variety of reasons. Both the obvious ones and not so obvious ones are explained in this article. Here are 16 things that can hurt your site rankings:

1. You Are Busy Creating Lots of Low Quality Links to Your Site

Any link that is created or purchased with the intention of manipulating the PageRank that directly impacts a site’s ranking in the search results is referred to as a low-quality link.

Examples of low-quality links are links from low-quality web directories, low-quality article directories, low-quality guest posts, or spam comments. A complete list of link schemes that are counted as unnatural by Google can be found here.

How To Identify Low-Quality Links?

Look for site messages under Search Console. If you have lots of unnatural links pointing to your site, the chances are high that Google will directly send you a message asking you to fix those links. An example of an unnatural linking message is provided below:

Read more

How to Do Technical SEO for Ecommerce Websites

My Post - 2019-08-09T170524.451.pngEcommerce is one of the fastest growing sectors and is often perceived to be dominated by the likes of Amazon and Walmart.

However, with appropriate marketing strategies, small ecommerce websites can also get their fair share of customers.

That’s where technical SEO comes in. It is crucial for improving your online store’s searchability.

Here are 12 technical SEO tips that will help increase your web traffic and generate more sales.

1. Don’t Miss Out on Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords may not attract more traffic, but they do have higher conversion rates as they allow you to understand the consumer intent correctly.

For example, a keyword such as “maternity yoga pants” rather than simply “pants” clearly shows what a consumer wants.

You have plenty of opportunities to use long-tail keywords in titles, meta descriptions, and product description.

Think about the various search phrases people may use to find a specific product. They will help identify the best suitable long-tail keywords.

You can use tools such as Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Trends for this.

2. Use Unique Title & Meta Descriptions

Create unique titles and meta descriptions for each product page. Try to include the relevant long-tail keyword in both the title and the meta description.

Make your meta descriptions as attractive as possible to encourage users to check out the product page.

For example, “Maternity Yoga Pants – best deals, big discounts, and free shipping on all orders. Order Now!” would be a fitting meta description for a maternity yoga pants page.

Ask your developer to insert such unique titles and meta descriptions dynamically into every page. – Read More

Will Swapping Fresh Content Help Your SEO?

My Post - 2019-07-24T105031.432.pngWelcome to another edition of Ask an SEO! A reader asks:

Would it help my SEO, if instead of creating 1 piece of content, I create 3 pieces of content, which swap out every 30 days for a page. This way the freshness index of my page stays up. Or is writing so much content too much effort for a minimal SEO increase in value?

Simply, does “freshness” affect rankings?

This is not a simple yes or no answer, as in most things SEO, it depends.

In this particular situation, I would not write three pieces of content and then change the single page on a monthly basis. This does not meet the freshness requirement, anyway.

Google is trying to understand what your webpage is about topically. If you’re changing that regularly, then it would more likely do more harm than good.

So what does freshness mean?

Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)

In 2011, on the heels of the Caffeine Update that allowed Google to crawl and index the web more quickly, Google released a change to the search results that would favor, in some use cases, fresh content over more traditional “evergreen” pages. – Read more

The Truth About Domain Authority: What Every SEO Needs to Understand

My Post - 2019-07-18T171030.075.pngI want to preface this article by stating that it could have been written about any SEO tool’s metrics. All the major tools have ways of measuring things that are important to the link builders and SEO professionals of the world.

Domain Authority just happens to be the one that seems to most often be erroneously viewed as being an actual Google metric, at least from my experience.

Domain Authority (DA) is Moz’s way of telling us how well a website should rank, using a 0 to 100 scale. The higher the DA, the better chance it has to rank, theoretically.

We do use various metrics, and we used Moz’s metrics for years. The majority of our clients used Moz so we did, too.

Now most of them don’t, for reasons that I’m not privy to, so neither do we.

We use what makes the most sense for us after all. That’s nothing to do with anything else.

Third-Party Metrics Are Not the Only Indicators of a Site

If you’re going to use a metric, pick one and stick to it, whichever one you prefer.

Just don’t use it as the only indicator of a site.

And please please please don’t confuse it as being an actual Google metric.

In any given month, I’d estimate that 75% of the requests for information that I receive in my Inbox mention Domain Authority.

It varies from “we require DA 50+ links” to “can you guarantee me that all the links will be DA 60 and higher?” – Read more

Why & How to Tackle Technical SEO Before Link Building

My Post - 2019-07-18T162401.876.pngWhen you consider a link building campaign, you may not be completely reaping the benefits of your SEO efforts if you ignore technical SEO.

The best results happen when you consider all the points of your website’s SEO:

  • Technical SEO.
  • Content.
  • Links.

In fact, there are situations when you must tackle technical SEO before ever thinking about getting links.

If your website is weak in technical SEO areas, or extremely confusing for search engines, it won’t perform as well regardless of the quality and quantity of backlinks you have.

Your top goals with technical SEO is to make sure that your site is:

  • Easily crawled by search engines.
  • Has top cross-platform compatibility.
  • Loads quickly on both desktop and mobile.
  • Employs efficient implementation of WordPress plugins.
  • Does not have any issues with misconfigured Google Analytics code.

These five points illustrate why it’s important to tackle technical SEO before link building.

If your site is unable to be crawled or is otherwise deficient in technical SEO best practices, you may suffer from poor site performance.

The following chapter discusses why and how you should be tackling technical SEO before starting a link building campaign. – Read more

How to Achieve Long-Term SEO Success for Your Business

My Post - 2019-07-16T170314.352.pngIn the past, SEO was considered optional, or at the very least, more important for newer businesses without substantial referral business. Over the past five years that has changed; small business owners know they need SEO. The thought of not being on page one of Google’s search results keeps most small business owners up at night as they need a steady stream of new customers to keep the lights on.

The biggest challenge facing most small business owners is understanding which strategies to implement as the internet is replete with how-to articles showcasing the latest SEO trends and fads. We recommend that you ignore the vast majority of articles positioning individual tactics as a solution to all your search presence challenges. Small business owners who typically refrain from following a disjointed strategy in other areas of their business will make an exception when it comes to SEO because of the dynamic nature of Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

We ask that you maintain your discipline and not lurch wildly when it comes to optimizing your company’s website. We will review three tips that will work for you over the long haul and produce the kind of results you’ve always wanted.

Tip 1: User intent

Google’s primary mission is to understand the search intent of each search engine user and translate their intent into relevant search results. If Google failed to deliver relevant search results for their users, searchers would quickly turn to other search engines like Yahoo or Bing as well as Amazon and Facebook. If you implement any of the tips in this article, make sure you implement this tip.

The most important thing that you can do is create content that Google views as a valuable resource to show users on their search engine. For example, if you are a dry cleaner you may want to create a blog or video demonstrating how to remove a troublesome cherry pie stain. Equally important is to show up for what we call category searches.

Category searches are typically keywords that include the service you offer and the city in which your business is located. In our dry cleaner example, a typical category search could be “dry cleaner Clearwater” or “dry cleaner in Clearwater.” To understand the kinds of keywords people type in to reach websites in your business category, we recommend that you check your AdWords account if you are running one, use tools such as SEMRush.com and ahrefs.com, and lastly, check Search Console to view keyword phrases searchers used to find your website.

Now that you have completed keyword research, understand which keywords carry searcher intent, we recommend that you create keyword-rich content to help attract users to your website. – Read more

SEO that Google tries to correct for you

My Post - 2019-07-12T170202.531.pngPatrick Stox explains the processes to pay attention to and the ones to leave to Google.

Search engines have seen the same SEO mistakes countless times, and as Patrick Stox, SEO specialist at IBM, said during his Insights session at SMX Advanced, “Are you going to throw millions of dollars at a PR campaign to try to get us [SEOs] to convince developers to fix all this stuff? Or are you just going to fix it on your end? And the answer is they fix a ton of stuff on their end.”

During his session, Stox outlined a number of common SEO responsibilities that Google is already correcting for us. You can listen to his entire discussion above, with the full transcript available below.

Meta descriptions? There are best practices for that. Title tags? There are best practices for that. Redirects? There are — you guessed it — best practices for that. Welcome to the Search Engine Land podcast, I’m your host George Nguyen. As you’re probably already aware, the internet can be a messy place, SEOs only have so many hours a day and — as IBM SEO specialist Patrick Stox explains — Google may have already accounted for some of the more common lapses in best practices. Knowing which of these items a search engine can figure out on its own can save you time and allow you to focus on the best practices that will make the most impact. Here’s Patrick’s Insights session from SMX Advanced, in which he discusses a few of the things Google tries to correct for you. – Read more

SEO vs. PPC: A Few Forgotten Truths

My Post - 2019-07-11T151519.302.pngFor years, people in this industry debated the merits of paid search advertising versus organic search marketing.

Which was better?

Which one should you put your resources into?

Honestly, I thought we’d settled this argument a long time ago:

You need both!

But recently, the topic came up again amongst some of my clients.

I can see why. If you weren’t part of the original discussion, this conclusion might not seem so obvious.

Therefore, allow me to use this article to express a few forgotten truths in the SEO versus PPC debate.

1. Paid Search Can’t Replace Organic (& Vice Versa)

Paid search and search engine marketing are different beasts.

One is not a substitute for the other.

Each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Paid search, for example, is really good at driving non-branded traffic to your website.

Here’s a classic PPC scenario: The user knows nothing about your brand. They search for a product they want to buy.

Your ad displays at the top of the search results page. The user clicks on your ad to see what you have to offer.

In so doing, they get more familiar with your brand and move further along the conversion path.

Can organic search do this? Perhaps.

But even the highest ranked organic search result won’t display at the top of the page.

At best, your organic listing will display in the middle of the page.

At worst, your listing will be many pages deep.

Similarly, organic search is really good at driving branded traffic to your website.

A classic SEO scenario: The user knows your brand. They search for your brand name.

Your site shows up at the top of the organic search results. The user clicks on your listing and goes to your website.

Can PPC do this? Yes, which is why you should also bid on brand in PPC.

But what if your ad is the only thing that displays – with no organic listing? That could cause the user to question the legitimacy of your brand. So ideally, you’d have both.

Both of these tools bring strengths to the table. Why wouldn’t you want both of them working for you?

2. Neither SEO nor PPC Is Free

A common argument against PPC is that it’s expensive. You have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad. And if your accounts are professionally managed, you have to pay for that too.

But as any SEO expert will tell you, SEO also takes time, money and expertise.

If you want it done well, you’re going to have to pay for it – whether you’re paying an in house SEO manager or an outside consulting firm. – Read more

Holy Grail SEO: High Volume, Low Competition Keywords

My Post - 2019-07-11T145154.461.pngIf there is one thing about SEO that most people do wrong it has got to be keyword research and implementation.

Even those who consider themselves experienced SEO pros are still doing keyword research using tools that don’t help to formulate complete content marketing strategies.

For example, I still see the primary keyword research being done in the Google Keyword Planner where your reference points for competition are “high, medium, or low. ”

These criteria are just not good enough to help you plan your content marketing strategy around, especially when you consider how relevant link building is to ranking.

Keyword research should identify opportunities for ranking with a strategy that is aligned with your website’s ability to rank for them.

Instead of targeting keywords or topics that have high volume, we need to target keywords and topics that we actually have a chance to rank for, making the best use of our time and SEO efforts.

So what if there were a way to guarantee that the content you write would actually rank with little or no link building efforts?

A way that purely relied on very systematic keyword research to find topics, sub-topics, and long-tail keywords that could be used to create resounding content marketing strategies and drive loads of traffic to the content you produced?

There is a way and I have aptly named it “Holy Grail SEO.”

We know the Holy Grail in Arthurian literature as a cup that has magical powers to provide happiness and infinite abundance. You, too, can do SEO that uses Holy Grail SEO tactics: target high volume, low competition keywords.

Keep reading to learn more about Holy Grail SEO and:

  • The importance of low competition keywords and who should be going after them.
  • Where to find high volume, low competition keywords.
  • How to use keyword competition data together to create complete topics.
  • How to generate happiness and abundance through your SEO and content.

79% of Digital Advertisers are Also Using SEO in Their Marketing Strategies

My Post - 2019-07-04T170840.469.pngNew data reveals that 79% of digital advertisers are also using SEO as part of their marketing strategy in 2019.

That’s one of many statistics included in WordStream’s report on the online advertising landscape in 2019.

It’s important to highlight that particular point as it goes to show how valuable SEO is even to those who prioritize paid marketing channels.

When asked what other marketing channels are being used to grow their business in 2019, other than digital advertising, SEO was the top choice amongst respondents.

Content marketing, email marketing, and word of mouth marketing were also among the channels most used by digital advertisers.

Here is a complete list of responses.

Outside of digital advertising, what other marketing channels are you using to grow your business in 2019?

  • SEO – 79%
  • Email marketing – 66%
  • Content marketing – 60%
  • Word of mouth marketing – 47%
  • Direct mail – 32%
  • Event marketing – 26%
  • Guerrilla marketing – 9%
  • Affinity marketing – 6%
  • Telemarketing – 4%
  • Other – 1%

Advertisers tend to prioritize paid search over organic search because of the potential for immediate profit.

However, it’s clear that advertisers also realize the long-term benefits of investing in SEO. – Read more